With the internet buzzing with news and campaigning regarding the aftermath of the election from hell, recent legislation in the GOP War on Women seemed to sink to the bottom of the newsfeeds. However, some interesting and extremely chauvinistic bills have earned some scrutiny and some interesting results. The Christian Right, with a long and proud history of brainwashing young adults, has metaphorically shot itself in the foot. Check out this article: Republicans Struggle to contain Mourdock comments
Here at Generation: Handmaid, we have consistently complained that the pro-life political mindset is flawed because the GOP doesn’t seem to care about what happens to babies after they are carried to term. However, this was mostly just conjecture until Pennsylvania proved us right with the dawn of HB 2817, which ultimately reduces Welfare benefits for pregnant rape victims who cannot prove they were raped. The assumption is that women will “cry rape” in order to keep their “government handouts” from being reduced, which an incredibly dangerous attitude to harbor towards women.
“Forcing women to prove the legitimacy of their sexual assault, and warning them about the serious consequences of “crying rape” to cheat the system, puts forth the misguided assumption that victims of sexual violence are not to be believed. Furthermore, countless women choose not to report their rapists to the police because they fear repercussions from their abusers, who could threaten their lives. An estimated 54 percent of sexual assaults are not reported to the authorities.”
Source: Culp-Ressler, Tara. Pennsylvania Bill Would Reduce Welfare Benefits For Women Who Cannot Prove They Were Raped. ThinkProgress Health, Oct. 24, 2012. Web. 11-03-2012. http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/10/24/1083101/proposed-bill-food-stamp-benefits-raped/?mobile=nc.
This makes us think – if the GOP will go to such lengths to ensure that abortion will ultimately become obsolete and rape will not be more than a minor exception to this rule, what will they do to reward women who carry unwanted babies to term? Offer government subsidies for childcare costs? Give more money to fund public schooling? Increase welfare benefits for unwed mothers or pregnant minors? Offer prenatal care at a reduced cost?
Nope, they propose HB 2817. Furthermore, similar legislation is appearing in other parts of the country, a little too close to my front door for comfort: New Mexico Gov. Requires Women Seeking Childcare Assistance To Prove They Were ‘Forcibly Raped’
Like-minded individuals and organizations are asking similar questions. Why is it that the GOP seems to care so little about the babies they are trying to save? This article found on CNN online puts bigoted lawmakers such as Richard Mourdock in the hot seat and asks them this – if God really intended this pregnancy to happen, what will you offer the pregnant woman in question?
And check out this blog that Victoria uncovered here on WordPress: Pro-Life or Anti-Woman?
And now for the changing tides: this article points out that the anti-abortion populace is focusing on the wrong aspects of the debate – they shouldn’t be asking how they can eliminate abortions, but how they can assist pregnant women who chose to carry their baby to term, how they can ease the process so abortion doesn’t seem like such a desirable option. This very attitude of acting more “anti-sex and pro-birth” versus “anti-abortion and pro-elimination of unwanted pregnancies” is losing them support, and fast – here is an amazing article written by a former pro-life advocate regarding how she became pro-choice solely due to the flawed logic on behalf of pro-lifers.
This brave young woman, who originally supported the pro-life movement purely to save unborn babies, realized that the pro-life movement is actively avoiding what has proven to reduce abortions – birth control. Birth control prevents unwanted pregnancies, and a lack of unwanted pregnancies results in a lack of abortion. She then realized that a woman’s body naturally rejects more zygotes than the pill does (contrary to what she was taught), and the GOP is doing next to nothing to assist pregnant women with their medical and childcare expenses. She realized that logically speaking, pro-lifers aren’t actually pro-life, but they are anti-sex and anti-woman. She now considers herself pro-choice and ultimately came to this conclusion:
“The reality is that so-called pro-life movement is not about saving babies. It’s about regulating sex. That’s why they oppose birth control. That’s why they want to ban abortion even though doing so will simply drive women to have dangerous back alley abortions. That’s why they want to penalize women who take public assistance and then dare to have sex, leaving an exemption for those who become pregnant from rape. It’s not about babies. If it were about babies, they would be making access to birth control widespread and free and creating a comprehensive social safety net so that no woman finds herself with a pregnancy she can’t afford. They would be raising money for research on why half of all zygotes fail to implant and working to prevent miscarriages. It’s not about babies. It’s about controlling women. It’s about making sure they have consequences for having unapproved sex.”
Source: Anne, Libby. How I lost Faith in the “Pro-Life” Movement. Love, Joy, Feminism (Patheos.com) Oct. 29, 2012. Web. 11-03-2120. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2012/10/how-i-lost-faith-in-the-pro-life-movement.html
In my personal life, conversations with religious and pro-life acquaintances of mine have proven this hypothesis to be true. The pro-life movement on the GOP level has strayed away from the intent to save babies and into dangerous waters, where they are starting to lose support. The religious populace is starting to smell a rat. Contraceptives are still widely considered anti-Christian, but the truth is, the use of contraceptives is far less horrifying to the religious than an abortion is. The compromise is that any means that will end abortion should be funded and supported, and contraception is the most effective way.
In conclusion, pro-lifers are, one-by-one, starting to see things differently. Abortions will decrease in numbers if welfare and contraceptives remain accessible and without unnecessary regulations to women. The GOP just put their feet in their mouths, and feminists and liberals alike have just been dealt an unexpected wild card.
“Maybe none of this is about control. Maybe it isn’t really about who can own whom, who can do what to whom and get away with it, even as far as death. Maybe it isn’t about who can sit can who has to kneel or stand or lie down, legs spread open. Maybe it’s about who can do what to whom and be forgiven for it. Never tell me it amounts to the same thing.”
-Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale