Mitt Romney And the Republican Agenda against Women

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[Speaking Truth To Power]

As the New York Tri-State area cleans up the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy, another, potential, storm seems surely poised to cause chaos in the lives of women all across America: the prospect of a Mitt Romney White House.

Given the latest emergence of yet another Republican with Neanderthal views about women, will American women really support Governor Romney and the Republican agenda by voting against their interests? Last week Republican Richard Mourdock, a state treasurer from Indiana and current nominee for the U.S. Senate, caused considerable controversy when during a debate for the U.S. Senate he said this about abortion: "I know there are some who disagree and I respect their point of view but I believe that life begins at conception. The only exception I have to have an abortion is in that case of the life of the mother. I just struggled with it myself for a long time but I came to realize: Life is that gift from God that I think even if life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

Mr. Mourdock made this declaration one day after an advertisement was released where he was fully endorsed by Governor Romney—the only such endorsement Mr. Romney has done, to date.

When asked to clarify his comments, Mr. Mourdock released a statement: "God creates life, and that was my point. God does not want rape, and by no means was I suggesting that he does. Rape is a horrible thing, and for anyone to twist my words otherwise is absurd and sick.”

Later, the Indiana Republican was also quoted as saying, "I believe God controls the universe. I don't believe biology works in an uncontrolled fashion.” Mr. Mourdock has refused to apologize for his comments—even when he was prompted to do so by prominent Republicans like Senator John McCain.

Why should Mr. Mourdock’s refusal to apologize surprise us? The fact is Mr. Mourdock is only frankly stating the true position of many in the Republican Party on abortion and women’s issues. The real surprise here is: why are so many women still supporting these Republicans? More on this peculiarity later.

Some tell us Mr. Mourdock "misspoke." Where have we heard this before? But the truth is Mr. Mourdock said what many Republicans feel and believe—but are, usually, too scared to express bluntly. His position is the Republican Party position on abortion and it gives us an outline of what will happen if Republicans are given too much power in Washington: the death of Roe v Wade, Planned Parenthood, contraceptives, fair pay bills like the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, etc. And, imagine, what will happen if Mitt Romney gets to appoint a few Supreme Court justices?

Let’s be clear Mr. Mourdock isn’t an anomaly. Other Republicans have said similar things. Let’s examine a few of them:

First, there is Tea Party Congressman Joe Walsh, from Illinois, who recently said he’s “pro-life without exceptions.” He also noted "The common exceptions that people who are pro-life without exception are in cases of rape and incest -- horrific, evil, terrible events. In cases like that, I am still pro-life. There is still a life there."  Congressman Walsh also made the dubious claim modern advances in science renders abortions obsolete. How does this legislator arrive at such an absurd conclusion?

Then there’s Iowa Congressman Steve King. Mr. King told a television audience in Iowa he never heard of a rape—or incest—induced pregnancy. He said, “Well I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way.” What planet is this congressman living on?

And, by now, many have heard the odious observations of Missouri Republican Todd Akin on abortion—within the context of rape. He said abortions for rape are unnecessary, since, “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that thing down.” Does Congress Akin knows something about female biology that the rest of us weren’t taught?

During the uproar over Congressman Akin’s comments, Governor Romney and Congressman Paul Ryan both feigned disapproval of Mr. Aiken views. However, Congressman Ryan co-sponsored a bill, H.R. 3 the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, with Congressman Akin—and Congressman King—a law that only allows abortions in cases the co-sponsors called “forcible rape.” Republicans, obviously, brazenly believe they have the right to tell women what they can and can’t do with their bodies. It’s just that simple.

Hypocritically, though, these are the same people who pretend to believe in “small government.” If they believe government has the right to legislate what people can do with their persons and penalize them—especially, under the threat of a felony—then, why should we allow these phonies to lecture us about “small government?”

The truth is: if Republicans really believed in small government they would be championing the right of women to make decisions regarding their bodies—even if they disagreed with a particular decision, like having an abortion. Moreover, if they really believed in “small government” wouldn’t they be fighting against the legions of people—especially, African-Americans and Latinos—who are prosecuted and incarcerated yearly allegedly for ingesting drugs into their body?

Now, in recent weeks, according to the polls, there has been talk that Mr. Romney has closed the gap in relation to the women’s vote. This is really perplexing. What are these women thinking? Are some really buying the argument Governor Romney is a job creator, when his “success” at Bain Capital was contingent on outsourcing jobs at the expense of American workers? Don’t they know Massachusetts was 47—in the nation—in job creation when Governor Romney left office?  Don’t they know Governor Romney is losing to President Obama in Massachusetts, where he was governor and in Michigan where he was born?  Is it possible something else is going on here—like the continuing discomfort many have with President Obama’s color?

When all is said and done, the women vote will, likely, decide this election. Do women really want to see a Romney presidency, especially, since he would get to appoint more than one Supreme Court justice, which would then open the door for a reversal of the 5-4 Roe v Wade Decision? Do women really want to play Russian roulette with their lives by giving Governor Romney the keys to the next White House?

In the next column, I will address the reasons President Obama deserves another term—and will tackle the topic that has most obstructed his presidency, the topic few want to honestly talk about: racism.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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