Sunday, March 18, 2012

The War on Women, A Progressive Man’s View

A (self-admitted) conservative male acquaintance recently asked me what the War on Women means. Herein I will attempt to answer him. 

First let me provide a shortened definition of War: War is an organized, armed, and often a prolonged conflict that is carried on between states, nations, or other parties typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality…” For the past 10 or so years there has been a nationwide assault by right-wing Conservatives in this nation on women’s reproductive health (birth control, abortion and access those services, etc.) that could certainly fit the definition of War.  The political, social, and moral assault by all strata of conservatism at the federal, state, and local levels of government across the U.S. has been unrelenting in nature and socially disruptive. 

This Republican/Conservative sponsored War on Women has reached a fulcrum in the last two years as state after state has introduced legislation designed to limit women’s access to abortion and or contraceptives and the health clinics set up to administer them.  The nations’ most visible women’s health organization, Planned Parenthood has come under withering, sustained and unrelenting attack by the denizens of the right for its support of abortion services to mostly low-income women across the nation.

The morality-based attack (most recently dressed up in the guise of religious freedom and thereby a question of Constitutional freedom) on women’s reproductive health issues across the nation certainly seems coordinated and calculated by the right-wing and carried out by the Republican Party and their minions (Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Fox News, etc.) to disrupt and or upset established societal norms that were hard fought for and codified in establish law since the mid-1960’s.

Below are links to some of the actions taking place on the battle-front:

For me War on Women being waged by the Conservatives/Republican Party is not a moral, or ethical issue, but one of the Fundamental, Civil, and Human rights of women.  The moral argument fails if the rights of women as full citizens in this nation are to be respected and upheld and they are to be afforded equal protection under law! This is a War with abortion and religion at its corrupted core.

Like it or not, detest it or not, support it or not, abortion is legal in the United States as settled by Roe vs. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973). A woman has a right to choose if, when, how and where she will carry a child; her womb, her choice!  A woman’s womb does not belong to the state, nor to society, it is her, inside her body, it is a part of her, like a kidney, a bladder, a heart, a lung.  Women’s wombs are not public property, nor do they belong to the Catholic Church, or any religion for that matter; and they should not be the subject of public debate or public laws designed to govern their use and disposition. 

The current onslaught of proposed and enacted laws is stunning in their seeming hatred and disrespect of women at a fundamental level, as they not only seek to make it next to impossible to obtain an abortion (Alabama is seeking to close the lone abortion clinic in the state), but to separate pregnant women from all other citizens there by creating a class of citizens whose every activity is scrutinized by the state and subject to criminal prosecution as in the case of (then 15-year old) Rennie Gibbs who faces life in prison in Mississippi over the death of her unborn child. 

These onerous and despicable laws not only seek State control over what a woman does with her body, her vagina, her womb, but would give that power to almost anyone else who seeks it as well (employers, insurance companies, clergy, husbands, boyfriends, rapist) anyone that is except the woman; she is but a child, a scatterbrained, emotionally driven female who must be guided through life by level-headed White men who know best.  These laws are debasing, demeaning, mean-spirited, misogynistic, and hateful; they are an affront to everything this nation is supposed to stand for and they must not stand

Noted feminist, Satirist and Media Critic, Soraya Chemaly encapsulated the War on Women best in a recent article entitled: 10 Reasons the Rest of the World Thinks the U.S. Is Nuts in the Huffington Post when she wrote: "Mr. England unlike the calves and pigs for which you expressed so much empathy, I am not a beast of burden. I am a woman and I have these human rights:

The right to life.
The right to privacy.
The right to freedom.
The right to bodily integrity.
The right to decide when and how I reproduce."

She went on to state: My human rights outweigh any you or the state corruptly and cynically seek to assign to a mass of dividing cells that will eventually turn into a 'natural' person. Personhood-for-zygote based bills and related legislation, like Georgia's and hundreds of others, bills and laws that criminalize pregnancy and abortion and penalize women for being women, violate my human rights.”  

Both she and I are pissed!! I am tired of having to fight for rights that are already guaranteed under the Federal and all fifty state constitutions.  Are these laws, these stains on the intellect and common decency of any rational human being—the mark of an “Exceptional” nation Mr. Santorum?  I say no, far, far, from it!  I want America to be Exceptional, to live out the lofty principles of her founding, but how can we as a nation of over 300 million diverse people move ahead when Conservative Republicans seek to drag us back to 1900 with their archaic, openly misogynist laws?    

This is not the nation I want to bequeath my (4) daughters, and my (8) nieces; a country wherein they are branded “sluts” and “prostitutes” for daring to have sex outside of marriage like so many men habitually do.  This is not the nation I want to live in now where such hatred towards my wife, my daughters, my nieces, my friends is tolerated and held up as sane when in fact it denigrating and degrading to ALL Americans. 

At the end of her article Soraya Chemaly said this: In a 1851 speech in which she argued for equal rights for women, Sojourner Truth said the following: ‘The poor men seems to be all in confusion, and don't know what to do. Why children, if you have woman's rights, give it to her and you will feel better. You will have your own rights, and they won't be so much trouble.’"

And so, I have joined the battle on the side of the Angels because I truly believe in equal rights for all Americans, not just some. Human rights are universal they are not set aside especially for those who wield a penis and wear fair skin; we all deserve to live our lives with dignity, respect, and a modicum of happiness no matter where we choose to seek it.

Men: women are sexual beings, they want and enjoy sex every bit as much as we do, deal with it! Abortion is legal and contraception is a medical necessity for a modern American woman’s reproductive health; deal with it.  Women are not our playthings, they are not our property; they are human beings who deserve our respect, our understanding, and our support!

And so, I fight, with women on this issue, I stand shoulder-to-shoulder with my beautiful wife, daughters, nieces, friends, and citizens to let them know THIS man has their backs!  Like them, I will see these laws and these men—and in some sad cases women—turned out of office, and struck from the airwave and this hateful, destructive War on Women brought to a swift close with the victory flag waving high on the side of the Progressive, the rational, the sane!  Enough is enough.  

Have you had enough? Join us on April 28, 2012 for the National March Against The War on Women being held in all 50 states simultaneously. 

E-mail me at:      


Melissa said...

Amazing article. Thank you. Shared with the War on Women March - Alabama group.

Anonymous said...

Thank you to a man who truly understands this will affect men as much as women.

Anonymous said...

Thank You.

Andrea Kimmel said...

Awesome article but am wondering.... The march is on April 28, 2012, not two years ago, right?

Kelly Rivas said...

Thank you Vincent - it's heart warming to know your daughters have a good man as their father. It's the voice and folks like you that make me proud to be an American as I keep fighting for those whose voices are shuttered and spoken over.

Kelly Heuser said...

Excellent article! I really enjoyed it and thank you for writing it!

Patt said...

Awesome, sharing everywhere. Thanks so much for this

Lori G said...

It's great to see a man who stands up and speaks out for women's rights! Thank you.

Diana Castilleja said...

Thank you!! From the bottom of my heart for having the guts to speak out to the male population who ignore us for being female to begin with.

Anonymous said...

Eloquently and elegantly put! Thank you for standing up and staying, without debate, that a woman's body is HERS to do with as she sees she needs to and not a State, government, church or any other organization/individual.