In 2012 the spotlight is once again focused on women’s rights. Is all the news out there bad or is there a bright side? You decide.
•Mitt Romney now says he doesn’t want to close Planned Parenthood, just strip it of federal money.
•A proposed new law in Arizona would require women to prove they’re taking birth control for non-sexual reasons before they get reimbursed through their health plan hasn’t passed … yet.
•Virginia and Texas now require women to have ultrasounds before they can obtain an abortion.
Let’s face it the United States has become a scary place for sexually active women. Even Hillary Clinton, has been forced to turn her attention to gender abuses in our backyard. Addressing the Women in the World Summit last week, she marveled that extremists who strive to control women aren’t confined to foreign lands.
“It is hard to believe that even here at home, we have to stand up for women’s rights and reject efforts to marginalize any one of us, because America needs to set an example for the entire world,” she said.
But a crackdown on women’s rights, once mainly confined to the crazy Southern states, is now under way all over the place, with many locales vying for the “State That Can Best Demean Women”. Idaho, for example, has proposed an ultrasound bill that would effectively trick women into visiting those creepy crisis pregnancy centers that try to shock them out of having abortions. Under the proposed law, a woman would have to have an ultrasound before terminating a pregnancy. But she’d be provided with a list of places that provide them for free, and guess where they are? Yup, those deceptive organizations that harass pregnant women.
Elsewhere, Kansas is considering a provision of a bill that would protect a doctor who discovers that a baby will be born with a devastating condition and withholds that information from his patient. So if the bill passes, an anti-abortion doctor could lie about the results of blood tests and ultrasounds. God forbid that a woman be trusted with decisions about her future.
This national Father-Knows-Best flashback is inspired by the Rev. Santorum, and its consequences go beyond proposed legislation and laws. It’s created an atmosphere in which even birth control advocates now frame the matter as a health issue, rather than admit that women like to have sex, just as men do. Otherwise, they’re taking the Slut Pill.
Many women enjoy sex, and they sometimes enjoy sex with different partners, just as men do. Many use some form of birth control. This does not make them sluts. It makes them responsible. Sex without consequences is what women fought for.
That’s why any effort to determine which women “deserve” birth control is dangerous. All women do. And it’s absolutely crazy that this point must be made in 2012, and that the systematic dismantling of women’s rights continues to unfold in broad daylight.
Let’s hope we can soon look back on these dark days with a shudder, and shake our heads at the inanity.
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