If my uterus, resplendent with it’s dried up eggs could talk, it would tell the current crop of GOP candidates to shut the fuck up and stop saying they’re speaking for me. My uterus has listened ad nauseam to a bunch of rich white men, standing behind a podium portending to speak “for the American people” on the topic of abortion, and more recently, birth control. So, they’re speaking for the American people? Which American people, exactly? They are most certainly NOT speaking for women. Want to know how I know this? I know it because at one point or another, within the reproductive period of their lives, 99% of American women have used some form of birth control. But who is publicly speaking for women on the airwaves on this topic? It sure as hell isn’t women. On the cable waves, the website Mediaite reports that in a ratio of more than two to one, men are being asked over women to provide a perspective on the topic. Well, my old uterus has had enough. I’ve tried to incorporate my uterus as a means of getting the Right to leave it alone (since they clearly have no interest in regulating business). I’ve tried to point out that all of the things they’re screaming about have been legal for the last 40 years, improved mortality rates, quality of life and women’s general health. Reality has little to do with the current national conversation, and I use the term “conversation” lightly, because in a conversation, there are generally two sides, but no one is interested in the side of women. What has become painfully obvious, is a sick attempt from the Right, particularly the religious Right, to send women back to the Dark Ages, out of business, politics, civil rights and back to butcher’s back alleys. Let’s take a look at some statements that have come out of the mouths of the men who wish to lead this country:
Ron Paul – Recently, CNN host Piers Morgan and Dr. Paul shared the following exchange: Piers Morgan: You have two daughters, you have many granddaughters. If one of them was raped — and I accept it’s a very unlikely thing to happen, but if they were — would you honestly look at them in the eye and say they had to have that child if they were impregnated. Ron Paul: If it’s an honest rape, that individual should go immediately to the emergency room, and I would give them a shot of estrogen. “Honest” rape? Really? Well, Dr. Paul, it’s nice to know under your caring leadership, a woman is entitled to a shot of estrogen if her rape was committed with absolute integrity.
Rick Santorum – Same network, same host. Rick Santorum was asked what he would do if his own daughter approached him, begging for an abortion after having been raped, Santorum explained that he would counsel her to “accept this horribly created” baby, because it was still a gift from God, even if given in a “broken” way. Hmmm. So, a single mother, living in poverty with 3 other children should accept her rape, presumably carried out with “Ron Paul-eseqe” integrity, as a “gift from God”?
Willard “Mitt” Romney (the most well-funded, and therefor the most likely GOP nominee)– Trying to figure out Willard Romney’s shifting Social Conservatism is like nailing Jell-O to a wall. In 2002, as a candidate for governor, Mr. Romney filled out a questionnaire for Planned Parenthood declaring that he supported “the substance” of the Supreme Court’s 1973 landmark abortion rights decision, Roe v. Wade. Today, offering a stance more in line with that of his fellow Republican brethren, his current position is that he opposes abortion in all cases except rape, incest, or to preserve the health of the mother. But did you know that he once physically blocked a woman who needed a life-saving abortion and told her not to go through with the procedure? From Jezebel: “An anonymous 41 year old woman experienced a life-threatening blood clot while she was pregnant for the sixth time. Told by doctors that treatment of the clot would threaten the pregnancy, and so an abortion was necessary, she and her husband chose to go ahead. The Mormon faith officially opposes abortion except in extreme cases, and women who are members of the church and seek an abortion are required to petition church elders for permission. She and her husband petitioned the Church to authorize them to receive the procedure, and a church elder told her and her husband that the procedure looked like unfortunate but unavoidable. On the day of the abortion, the couple showed up at the hospital only to be greeted by their bishop, who had shown up, unannounced, to try to prevent her from going through with it, regardless of the fact that a church official with a higher rank than his had already given the okay. The bishop was determined to make his case against the life-saving surgery, and he was a total dick about it. According to a 2007 interview with the woman, the following exchange occurred,
He said – What do you think you’re doing?
She said – Well, we have to abort the baby because I have these blood clots.
And he said something to the effect of – Well, why do you get off easy when other women have their babies?
And she said – What are you talking about? This is a life-threatening situation.
And he said – Well what about the life of the baby?
And she said – I have four other children and I think it would be really irresponsible to continue the pregnancy.
The bishop who tried to block that selfish, selfish clotted up woman from saving her own life with a legal medical procedure was one Mitt Romney. The woman he attempted to block did go through with her abortion and lived to see her four teenage children grow up. Her family later left the church.”
Newt Gingrich – As for Newt Gingrich, the religious zealots aren’t happy with him these days. Newt, in all his infinite wisdom and with all his extensive medical knowledge, can’t decide if life begins at conception or with the successful implantation of the egg within the uterus. That’s not quite good enough for the Morality Police, who feel that “potential life” must be protected at all cost. That potential for life only applies when referring to women though. Men can masturbate to their hearts’ content and no one says a word. Given that the average ejaculate contains somewhere between 50 and 500 million sperm, each capable of creating one of those “potential” lives, I challenge you to show me a man who should not be charged with mass genocide. But back to our moral compass, Newt. Screw the already living. This, coming from a guy who has admittedly gotten more ass than a toilet seat, all while still married. This is the man telling women the ‘moral’ road to take. I need lessons in morality from Newt Gingrich like I need fine dining tips from Jeffery Dahmer. Um, pass.
What do the above 4 individuals have in common? They’re all white. They’re all wealthy and they’re all men – who will never EVER face the dilemma of rape, incest, poverty or the ability to raise a child with any quality of life. They don’t seem to understand that women, as the caretakers, the guardians and the keeper of the American family, have never taken these things lightly and demand choice when it comes to bringing a child into a world where they’ll have opportunity and a chance for a decent life. Which brings me to the topic of the Catholic Bishops…
President Obama has mandated that all employers who offer health insurance must include coverage that offers free contraception to employees. The Catholic Bishops were enraged at the thought that the President would mandate something diametrically opposed to church dogma. I’m the last child of a large Catholic family and I have watched the physical and mental toll having so many children took on my own mother. My parents couldn’t afford to have so many children and we were all born into abject poverty. There were times we wouldn’t have eaten, were it not for the wild game my brothers would go out and hunt. When those hunting trips were less than successful, I remember meals of bread and gravy made from saved bacon drippings. This mandate means something to me. Conservatives across the board have called this mandate the President’s “continuing war on Christianity” (code for he’s a secret Kenyan Muslim). I do not believe that the President’s sane, lone voice is an attack on anything – it’s saying he respects women and their right to choose if or when to become a mother in modern America. In an effort to truly demonstrate to the Catholic Church that he does respect their religious philosophy, he has mandated that the onus is on the insurance companies themselves to provide the free coverage, regardless if that’s included in the employer’s plan. Well, that’s not good enough for the Catholic Bishops, because they don’t want any woman, Catholic or not, accessing birth control. It matters not that 98% of Catholic women HAVE TAKEN OR ARE CURRENTLY ON BIRTH CONTROL, regardless of the mandate of the ‘celibate’ men who run that institution. Catholic women no longer care what the church mandates because they live in the real world. I should think the Catholic Bishops should concern themselves more with the priests under their jurisdiction sexually abusing the children with whose souls they have been entrusted. If they want Catholic women, all woman to pay any attention to them, perhaps they should clean up their own moral house before attempting to impose those morals on anyone else.
I suppose if my uterus could talk, and it does through me, it would ask those small business conservatives who rail against big government to shut up. They can’t pretend to want small government and then attempt to restrict the rights of women to choose or gays to marry or anything else. They can’t pretend to care about women when what they’re doing will result in more poverty, more death and a poorer quality of life for women and children. They can’t pretend to care about minorities when the very policies they support disenfranchise minorities and are intended to keep them in poverty. They can’t pretend that men have as much at stake in the battle for reproductive rights as women do because it’s a decision they have the luxury of never having to make. My uterus wants to tell them if they can’t tell the difference between microscopic cells with no central nervous system and no brain, thus no ability to feel pain or think or have a conscience and a live, full-term, living, breathing, viable baby, to stop pretending they know better for women than women themselves. My uterus has the right to decide who or what will occupy it and right now, it’s occupied with rational thought and a desire to be free, not to have men, with everything to gain and nothing to lose, dictate her fate. My American uterus demands to remain a sovereign entity. If you want to enter, you have to enter through the ears. Take my head softly in your hands, look into my eyes, tell me you’ll respect my right to choose and I’ll wave you in.
Here’s the deal boys… if you can’t tell the difference between this:
… then get off the political stage, because you’re not fit to lead.
UPDATE: Jon Stewart came back from vacation just in time to thoughtfully and reverently put my thoughts into a single, concise report last night. Click here to watch his message entitled, “The Vagina Ideologues” It’s pretty hilarious. Thanks, Jon!
Carol Baker is a political writer, satirist, and co-host with Vicki Childs of our Here Women Talk weekly internet talk radio show called BROADSIDED. You can hear their show every Thursday at 11 am Eastern/10 Central/8 Pacific.