A 21st Century War on Women – Really?

Women Work Women Vote

What next, our right to vote? War on Women is Absurd!

Why? Colleagues, friends and family of both genders and all political persuasions continue to shake our heads in disbelief. The dialogue today is stunning.  Shocking. Are we really going to have a “new” discussion about women’s role in society, reproductive rights and ability to think for ourselves?

It is 2012 and the national conversation has centered on several issues that disrespect, disregard and dismiss women.  It started long before a group of men wanted to discuss the government’s role in paying for birth control.  We have been waging this war for over a century.  Recently, it started surfacing again when several state legislators across the country proposed new rules and regulations that would prevent women from getting access to healthcare. Some have succeeded already (Texas, Virginia) and others are still sadly working to limit access and care. (Arizona).

We’ve seen the debate cycle through various forms, all with a strong movement to limit women’s access to affordable, necessary and reliable healthcare. The subtext of it all that seems to be the most shocking is the derogatory tone of the dialogue.  As a women, it says to me “shut up and sit down”.  Really?  Um, no!

I have the ability and can afford to stand up.  What happens with the poor?  Those that don’t have access to women’s healthcare and family planning?  The new discussions go far beyond just limiting birth control and forcing women to have unnecessary ultrasounds to prevent abortions.  No to mammograms, no to ovarian cancer tests.  Access to preventative care that can SAVE lives.  Where is the logic?  If we limit reproductive healthcare, aren’t we going to force more demand for abortions?  Unwanted pregnancies seem to be the impetus for abortion, so wouldn’t access to affordable family planning help prevent abortions?  Virtually all women (more than 99%) aged 15–44 who have ever had sexual intercourse have used at least one contraceptive method. Vital and Health Statistics, 2010, Series 23, No. 29.

Aside from the discussion of a women’s right to choose, the bigger and broader debate today is how we got back to this discussion 40 years later?  90 years later for equal rights?  What has changed in the country that puts women’s rights at risk – again?

Some may argue that women took for granted that we achieved equality without the need to make it a protected right.  We assumed we are in control of our own health and well-being.  Women’s health should not be up for discussion.  It’s not political.  Saving lives is not political.  If women did “assume” we were in control, was this an assumption of grand illusion?  It appears so.

Women have fought for rights that men have been granted solely by their gender.  Look at the suffrage movement and fight for the right to vote nearly a century ago.  It appears that our rights should not be taken for granted and the fight is not over.  We must press on.  Future generations of women depend on us.  Women need affordable healthcare.  Women need to be in control of their own bodies.  Women need equal pay for equal work.  Women need the same rights as men. It’s not political.

So, in case it needs to be said, we pay taxes.  And, we vote!  The “War on Women” will continue, there is no doubt.  I am reminded of one of my favorite lines from Dirty Dancing, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”  "Nobody puts Baby in a corner"We won’t put aspirin between our knees.  We won’t accept zealot misogynists and bigots telling us to shut up and be happy with our diamonds and dinners.  We won’t go back to being submissive house help.  Our nation can’t afford it economically and women want more and have proven our place in society!

We are women in the board room, women in political office, women CEO’s, working moms, we are women in every profession.  We are scientists, technologists, chefs and journalists.  We are single moms, we are married women, independent women and women with a voice.  We are rich.  We are poor.  We are fighters.  We protect and we give birth.  Every one came from a mother!  We all exist because of a woman.  So, why the war?

Most importantly, we are the women that vote.  We won’t fight this war for long.  You see, we just assumed it was over.  Women are equal.  Maybe it is time to pass the Equal Rights Amendment that was first proposed in 1923.  Maybe then, the war would be over!  Maybe.

7 thoughts on “A 21st Century War on Women – Really?

  1. I am just speechless. The right-wingers have to come up with some stupid social issue to detract from the fact that the economy is improving, unemployment is decreasing, and the stock market is booming. They already lost on gay marriage, so pick something else.

    Interesting that religious institutions want a choice in offering birth control, but conservatives want to take away the same choice for women. If any woman votes for one of these ridiculous fools, shame on them.

  2. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the landmark 1972 federal legislation banning sex discrimination in education, including in athletics. The Legislature could honor this sports milestone for women by finally lifting the outdated ban on mixed-martial arts — for women and men. We must champion women’s rights in every aspects of daily living. A couple of women warriors should visit these congressional and state legislators and teach them a thing or two about gender equality.

    To understand my position on women in combat and combat sports such as mixed martial arts, read my post at http://michaelbenjamin2012.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/let-women-join-the-fight-lift-the-mma-ban-in-ny/

    I liked your post. I hope to re-visit regularly.

  3. Well said.

    Women need to hound these right-wing fools as loudly and relentlessly as they are hounding us by trying to legislate away the right to control our bodies and sexuality.

    Imagine, seriously, what the reaction would be if women were in charge and behaving this way? Is it even imaginable at all?

    Is it possible/plausible that in a recession that is ongoing (even with a small drop in unemployment) that trying to deflect attention away from the millions who cannot get a job to…our uteruses and their uses is going to work? Are voters really that stupid?

  4. Really? Yes, the war on women continues. The fact is women are losing access to preventative health care. Sadly, this is confirmed in Arizona with the latest passage of HB 2800.

    Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law HB 2800, a bill that strips funding from women’s health care provider Planned Parenthood.

    Despite the fact that the use of public funds for abortions is already restricted, this latest funding ban prohibits money from going to any health care providers that provide abortions at all, thereby insuring money doesn’t “indirectly” go toward supporting abortion services.

    The funding cuts will impact approximately 20,000 women and will endanger other health services like preventative cancer screens and family planning services. Planned Parenthood is considering challenging the law after recently winning a temporary reprieve from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in an identical case in Texas.

    Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/arizona-de-funds-planned-parenthood.html#ixzz1u7lwzazC

  5. Thank you, Jamie!
    You’re a role model and a damn cool lady. Unfortunately, this blog wasn’t meant for me, nor your readers… I hope it gets through to those that need to see it.
    If we started forcing men to justify their purchase of Viagra, would things change? How about condoms needing a prescription & forced measurement?
    How about for one month we pay men 70% of what women CURRENTLY make?
    I’m a progressive and a big believer that the vast majority of men want us all to have our base rights. Unfortunately, those men aren’t elected by the far right.
    Mitt used to be there, then caved and switched sides once he knew it would buy him more fringe votes.
    Keep up the good fight!

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