War on Women: Liberal Conspiracy? by Thomas Martin Sobottke

So is the War on Women a liberal conspiracy of Obama Democrats designed to harass Republicans? Hardly. Let’s go back to how this whole thing started. Darryll Issa’s House Committee was hearing testimony on the religious liberty concerns of clerics where President Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act, would force religious institutions to pay for contraception. Obama had already compromised and removed religious institutions from having to cover it and pay for it. That care would be offered to women only if they wanted it, and they would be told where to get it from other private insurers.

Now enter Sandra Fluke. She wanted to tell her representatives that women use contraception for a variety of legitimate health reasons other than preventing pregnancy. No tales of frustrated Georgetown sex orgies from her. She wanted to relate that Georgetown University employees had this covered in their plans and this Jesuit Catholic institution denied coverage on University student health plans to students. She had encountered young women who needed to see doctors on a regular basis and part of the care would be contraception and so Georgetown said no due to its Catholic teaching and belief. Sandra Fluke was going to tell them about some women who needed to pay more than nine dollars for a month’s supply of pills: that the basic health needs of women were also tied up in this deeply religious freedom question.

If Darryl Issa knew anything about running a Congressional Committee, what you do when you are in the majority is you let the other side have a witness or two, listen politely to their testimony and then totally disregard it and vote the way you wanted to all along. Sandra Fluke would have nothing to complain about nor would other Democratic minority members of the Issa committee. The Fluke testimony would have been a mere footnote in the day’s news cycle. But she was denied the opportunity, and the minority members of the committee were being treated contrary to long-established procedure for committee work in the Congress. So they blew their tops as well they should.

Now even if Sandra Fluke was already working behind the scenes with President Obama, the Democratic National Committee and a former staffer at an area law firm to hatch this scheme, getting Issa to make a decision that was entirely his, is something they had no ability to control. None.

Enter Rush Limbaugh, patron saint of the Republican Ideological hate machine. I’d have told Rush not to even mention Sandra Fluke and her situation. It doesn’t matter at all. How did the Democrats get Rush or force Rush to rant on for three straight days on his nationally syndicated radio program? How did they get Rush to call Ms. Fluke a slut and a prostitute? And to suggest she was sexually promiscuous and that she had to provide video of her sexual activity to the nation? Was this necessary? Of course not. Fox’s Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh’s cries of conspiracy not only ring hollow but they are absolutely ridiculous!

Testifying before Congress at the invitation of some of its minority Democratic members is nothing unusual. Sandra Fluke committed no crime. She is the head of a national group that is committed to expanding women’s access to reproductive health care. Though only a third year law student her work was noticed. She has acquired some expertise on the issue. Georgetown is conveniently no more than a half hour drive from Capitol Hill.

The controversy over Ms. Fluke, and Rush Limbaugh focused much more attention on the issue of not only contraception, but women’s reproductive health care generally. This year already, over 800 bills have been introduced in Congress or State legislatures that address access to abortion, women’s health care and their relationships with their children. Rush Limbaugh’s harsh words—disgusting and unacceptable rhetoric to any decent human being, widened the focus to women’s issues generally.

Take my home State of Wisconsin. Just in the past week Senator Glen Grothman and Assemblyman Donald Pridemore, two ultra-conservative members of the Wisconsin legislature, introduced a bill that would consider single women parents to be placing their children in an abusive relationship automatically simply due to their single parenthood. While some children in single-parent situations are abused by mom’s new boyfriend, that is not something that can be applied to all women who are single parents, and the abuse quite naturally rarely comes from the mother, and it is most often a male abusive relationship with a female child—when it does occur. Why not focus on boyfriends of single moms as they are the potential abusers. Grothman and Pridemore have explained that women need to be discouraged from divorce.

But single parenting can be the result of widowhood. It can be from a very well educated, loving person having a child and having both the economic ability to raise that child and a family support network that is an integral part of that single parenthood. Damning all single mothers strikes this old Drone of a male as quite insulting.

Other bills are being introduced this week to limit abortion procedures in Wisconsin and to require that sex education be eliminated in Wisconsin schools and abstinence only programs be taught. This too is a women’s set of issues.

Last winter, Governor Scott Walker defunded State support for Planned Parenthood’s money that had been used to give health screenings to poor or vulnerable women in the State—not abortion. Breast cancer exams and screenings is not abortion.

Nationally, dozens of states are taking up Virginia’s ultrasound idea, with both invasive transvaginal ultrasounds required for women or wasteful and expensive procedures for regular abdominal ultrasounds. In all these cases these are Republican dominated legislative bodies with strong Republican majorities and Republican Governors. None of the bills advanced are being suggested by Democrats at all.

And in Washington, D.C. the Blunt Amendment to the transportation bill would bar women from access to contraception and literally any coverage for men or children where the employer or insurance company has a moral objection. This too is a Republican initiative.

That well informed citizens and Democrats who disagree with most of these initiatives can hardly be faulted for having an opinion on the issues presented by these hundreds of bills around the nation, simultaneously working their way through legislatures in all fifty states. Such a well-coordinated and massive rush of legislation on women’s reproductive rights and health care is bound to get noticed eventually.

If Republicans want the focus to stay on the economy, jobs, gas prices, and education then they ought to stop introducing all these hundreds of pieces of legislation that so vitally affect women.

At the heart of all this is a fundamental disrespect for the autonomy and personhood of women in America.

Let’s have a personhood bill in every legislature in the land that declares that women: females of all ages are full human beings. That they have the ability to think, to act, and to fully participate in active citizenship autonomously: under their own steam. Let us reaffirm all the Civil Rights legislation that protects women’s rights all the way back to the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote and run for office enacted in 1920.

It is the ultimate in the bizarre that the GOP, the party that continually hammers away day and night about the dangers and evils of big government and its intrusions into our lives, is the sponsor of so much legislation that is such an intrusion into the rights and privacy of women. At the least Republicans are the worst kind of hypocrites. For when it is convenient for them, conservatives want to dictate to women what they are to do with their very bodies, and personal liberties under the Constitution.

The War on Women is very real. And the conspiracy to whatever extent it exists lies with Republican motives and actions. The strong Republican majorities elected in 2010 over fears of economic decline and a demand for jobs have done nothing but play games—and to advance a completely different agenda from the one they promised to address. Scott Walker promised to create jobs. He has not done so. Wisconsin ranks 50th out of the 50 states in job creation. We are losing jobs here. And the response? Let’s legislative the abortion and contraception and women’s parenthood issues. What a shame these people are. What sad excuses for leaders in a representative democracy. Shame on them.

Dr. Thomas Martin Sobottke
forStruggles for Justice

4 thoughts on “War on Women: Liberal Conspiracy? by Thomas Martin Sobottke

  1. Tom my friend I don’t think that Rush would ever do something so mean and cruel, those liberals held a gun to his head and withdrew his cigars to force him to say it and then blamed him LOL I am amazed by the capacity of the bully to blame victim type of BS like the conservatives are doing to women, it is good to see women like Ms. Fluke fighting back

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