I’m hearing Democrats making a lot of hay about the Republicans’ “war on women.” As outraged as I am at Rush Limbaugh, the Catholic Bishops, and pretty much any right-winger who tells me I have no right to look in his gun cabinet while he has every right to stick his nose between my legs, I can’t help but think that the fact that we are arguing over birth control has as much to do with alleged liberals and progressives as it does with those who would like to take us back 100 years.
Hillary Clinton had it right when she spoke to the U.N. 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995:
It is time for us to say here in Beijing, and for the world to hear, that it is no longer acceptable to discuss women’s rights as separate from human rights.
These abuses have continued because, for too long, the history of women has been a history of silence. Even today, there are those who are trying to silence our words. But the voices of this conference and of the women at Huairou must be heard loudly and clearly:
It is a violation of human rights when babies are denied food, or drowned, or suffocated, or their spines broken, simply because they are born girls.
It is a violation of human rights when women and girls are sold into the slavery of prostitution for human greed — and the kinds of reasons that are used to justify this practice should no longer be tolerated.
It is a violation of human rights when women are doused with gasoline, set on fire, and burned to death because their marriage dowries are deemed too small.
It is a violation of human rights when individual women are raped in their own communities and when thousands of women are subjected to rape as a tactic or prize of war.
It is a violation of human rights when a leading cause of death worldwide among women ages 14 to 44 is the violence they are subjected to in their own homes by their own relatives.
It is a violation of human rights when young girls are brutalized by the painful and degrading practice of genital mutilation.
It is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have abortions or being sterilized against their will.
If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights once and for all. Let us not forget that among those rights are the right to speak freely — and the right to be heard.
“Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights . . . ”
Then why are our rights always used as bargaining chips? Why are our private health care decisions “carved out” as something outside of normal health care? You think they haven’t been? Explain the Hyde Amendment to me. Explain President Obama’s Executive Order that enshrined the Hyde Amendment and now will never again have to come up for an annual vote in Congress. Explain all the “conscience clauses” for doctors, nurses and other “health” practitioners that allows them to deny women legal medical procedures that provider finds personally “immoral.” Explain why pharmacists have been given permission to refuse to fill a woman’s legal prescription from a licensed M.D. because he objects on “religious” grounds.
All of this has been done on the Democrats’ watch or with their acquiescence.
You might not realize it but a lot of us of the female persuasion have been warning about this for years. We were told to not rock the boat. Can’t you see we’ve got really, really important stuff to do FIRST? Your turn will come, we were told. In the meantime, can you come help out with the phone bank or walk a precinct? Yes, we LOVE women! We VALUE women! Really, really, really! But, you know . . . the Republicans!!!
In order to pass President Obama’s “signature” Health Care bill, women’s rights regarding their right to choose was sold down the river. Abortion was singled out for special treatment. No other medical procedure was given this carve out. This was done by Democrats who, instead of drawing a line in the sand, caved.
Another example: The Lily Ledbetter Act passed both houses of Congress early in 2009, but the more important Paycheck Fairness Act, the bill that would actually put some teeth into Lily Ledbetter, and after having passed the House in 2009 by a greater margin than Lily Ledbetter, languished for two years in a Democrat-controlled Senate until just before the 2010 election when it was becoming clear that Democrats were probably going to get their asses handed to them, so they’d better throw the wimmenz a bone. The vote didn’t happen until after the “shellacking” and failed pretty much on a straight party vote. Hmmm. Do you think that this bill might have stood a better chance if it had been voted on at the same time as its sister legislation? Why wasn’t it? Because, women’s priorities always take a back seat. Always. Until it is an election year and the Dems need to get us stirred up again so we’ll walk those precincts and staff those phone banks.
There may be a huge backlash now because of the overreach of the conservatives, but what is happening now is not an event in isolation. All along the way Democrats and “progressives” gave them the green light to take an inch, and then another inch and then a yard, then half mile until, well, here we are. As Dr. Violet Socks writes:
Women’s contraception is the only medication associated with normal human activity that is described as some kind of weird off-the-wall thing that shouldn’t be covered by insurance. The only one.
We told you they wouldn’t be happy until they put all women under their thumbs. Those of us who embrace a secular government and the separation of church and state also warned you about the dangers of letting other people’s religions interfere in our government.
You didn’t listen.
Maybe now you will.
(By the way, I was quite pleased to hear that the Democratic women walked out of Darryl Issa’s hearing the other day. Let me know when the all Democratic men do the same. Seriously, when are all of you going to have our backs?)