Friday, April 8, 2011

Irrelevant to the Conversation

As the government shuts down because Republicans have decided it’s more important to destroy Planned Parenthood than to close a deal, it is essential that women on both sides recognize the core woman-hating that enables this argument to happen. I use the term “woman-hating” because “misogyny” sounds too soft to convey their spite.

Republicans know perfectly well that millions of poor and not-poor women rely on Planned Parenthood for most of their healthcare needs. They simply don’t care.

Planned Parenthood provides abortions. The fact that abortion is a perfectly legal and often essential health care procedure necessary to save women’s lives and health is irrelevant. The fact that abortion is a small part of Planned Parenthood’s programming, and NO part of the federal funds involved, is not a problem with the Republican argument, it’s a feature of their tactic. By taking away funds for the overwhelming majority of Planned Parenthood services, and leaving only private funds dedicated to abortion, they effectively destroy the organization. They will have eliminated the primary provider of abortion services in the nation and they know it.

The fact that women will die without access to safe abortion procedures is irrelevant. The religious right has consumed the modern-day Republican party, and in any debate between the relative merit of woman-v-fetus, women lose when Republicans have their way. That is the utter contempt Republicans have for women. That is the contempt that no woman should miss.

Republicans hate abortion. Not theirs, of course, or the abortion of the daughter of a friend. But as a matter of public policy that mostly impacts people who are not them, Republicans do not want women to be able to have abortions. Whether they are sincerely motivated by a set of beliefs they are willing to impose upon the rest of us, or merely by some gut-level aversion to letting uppity women “get away” with being sluts, Republicans as a party are willing to do anything and everything they can to deny women access to abortion.

Individual Republicans who do not support this policy are also, as you have it, irrelevant.

So if millions of women are denied basic health care so that Republicans can finish pounding their government into our uteruses then, so be it.

I have watched our access to healthcare be used as a pawn in political games between Republicans and Democrats for most of my adult life. I watched Democrats trade our bodies like horses in the healthcare reform auction. And never once have I heard any woman – reporter or politician – point out how much contempt it displays for the lives of women that these exchanges can even take place.

From the Republican point of view this is their best chance in forever to drive a stake through the heart of women’s access to abortion, eliminate another Democratic lobby, and – hey! – maybe save a few bucks in the process.

And if a few thousands of people happen to be hurt or die as a result of their efforts, and it turns out that all of those people just happened to be women? Oh well, it just worked out that way.

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