When I was in college I was invited to join the youth division of a service organization called the Rotary Club, and I was seriously considering it. I thought it would look great on resumes and applications, and it would be wonderful to have a positive impact on this world.
Then I had a conversation with one of my professors. “Why on earth,” he said, “would you even think about joining an organization that does not allow adult women to join?” (Although the Rotary Club does allow women in its membership now, it didn’t at the time, and hadn’t for the first 75 years or so of its existence.)
That’s really all it took for me to give it a pass. No way was I going to lend my talent, effort and enthusiasm to an organization that, upon my 19th birthday, would deem me unworthy to join their ranks based solely on the fact that I did not have the requisite reproductive organs.
From that day forward I’ve always been rather befuddled by women who endorse any group or philosophy that supports the notion that women are in any way inferior. In particular, I will never understand why a woman would join the Republican Party here in the United States. Let’s look at their policies:
- Republicans don’t mind you having birth control covered by your insurance, as long as you don’t work for an organization that would get upset about it. For example, if you have a job in a Catholic organization, regardless of your own particular religion, they think it’s okay for you to be deprived of your right to affordable contraceptives.
- They also do not see any problem at all with a woman earning less than a man for doing the same job.
- They do not support or condone the equal rights amendment.
- They want to cut the funding for WIC, a federal aid program for pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and children under the age of five.
- If you want to be totally outraged, simply Google “Republican” and “Rape”. Their views, even the less extreme ones, make it quite obvious that they are still of the philosophy that most women bring it on themselves. They aren’t even comfortable with the idea that we should reform policies to crack down on sexual assault in the military.
- Conservatives oppose the support of violence prevention programs and battered women’s shelters, as evidenced by their opposition to the Violence Against Women Act.
- They have practically criminalized the term “Planned Parenthood”. In 2009, this organization, according to Wikipedia, “provided 4,009,549 contraceptive services (35% of total), 3,955,926 sexually transmitted disease services (35% of total), 1,830,811 cancer related services (16% of total), 1,178,369 pregnancy/prenatal/midlife services (10% of total), 332,278 abortion services (3% of total), and 76,977 other services (1% of total), for a total of 11,383,900 services. The organization also said its doctors and nurses annually conduct 1 million screenings for cervical cancer and 830,000 breast exams.” And 75 percent of their clients have incomes 150 percent below the poverty level. Oh, yeah! These folks are EVIL!
And let’s talk about the elephant in the room, shall we? Abortion. Many women that I’ve talked to identify themselves with the Republican Party because it is opposed to abortion.
Here’s what utterly confounds me about this line of thinking. I am opposed to smoking. There is overwhelming proof that it kills you. But never in a million years would I try to introduce legislation that would prevent a consenting adult from making the choice to smoke, as insane as I think that choice may be. That choice means, effectively, that that person is killing a full grown human being and possibly people in their vicinity. And if they’re pregnant, they’re flooding the fetus with carcinogens. These are people who are loved by others, and often depended upon by others. But it is not for me to decide what he or she does with his or her own body.
So in essence, women who join the Republican Party because they oppose abortion are NOT saying, “I disagree with abortions, so I’ll never have one, and I will try and talk my loved ones out of having one.” That I could respect. But no, what they are saying is, “I disagree with abortions, so I want to join a political party that is hell bent on depriving every woman of the right to make their own life choices, because the male-dominated political arena is more capable of doing that for them. I also want to reverse the law of the land and put desperate women who are doing desperate things in jail, and relegate the rest of them to back alleys and coat hangers, so that instead of just the fetus being killed, the woman will be killed too.”
Yup, sorry. If my choice is between saving the life of a full grown, fully developed human being or a fetus, as distasteful as having to make a choice of that kind may be, I’m going to choose the adult every single time. And the irony is that if you oppose family planning and sex education and access to contraceptives as the Republicans do, you give women two choices when the inevitable unwanted pregnancy comes along. Either they become brood mares or they seek the very abortions you oppose.
I don’t get it. Why on earth would any woman want to join the war on women? Do they hate themselves and their daughters and their sisters? It makes absolutely no sense to me.
I am braced for outraged comments, but I hope people have the good sense to realize that I’m expressing my opinion, and I’d love it if someone could make me understand, but I really don’t see that happening.
Even if you personally never take advantage of the programs, benefits, and services that the Republicans so vehemently oppose, if you are a Republican, you are depriving women, not men, of those programs, benefits and services. As a woman, how can you do that?
There’s no reasonable explanation for supporting a group that does not support you.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
[Image credit: opednews.com]