It’s really tempting to say “Please Proceed” every time a Republican politician speaks “to women.” The latest wrinkle seems to be an effort to convince women that the GOP is just All For ‘Em, except when they have normal sexual drives and want to enjoy the intimacy of marriage without the possibility of having more children than the family finances can afford. Unfortunately, the latest Republican adventure into the distaff side comes with a side of over-baked insinuation that masculinity is defined by the number of progeny a man can create. The days ought to be long gone when the boys in the backroom would marvel at the virility of a man who announced he fathered ___ number of children.
We had one of those characters in the hamlet once upon a time. His prideful pronouncements were greeted politely, but in his absence there was more conversation about how the store-owner had to extend him credit every month, his employer had to provide more advances than with any other employee, and his neighbors were often called upon to literally put clothing on his children’s backs. If the GOP would truly like to address issues of interest to women, then they’d be better served by speaking to the issues of importance to women and not to those burdened by irrational definitions of masculinity. For example:
Paycheck Fairness Act – Filibustered by Senate Republicans in 2010 and 2012. [Roll call 115] The House version (H.R. 377) was introduced on January 23, 2013 and sent to the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, no action has been taken on the bill since. The Senate version (S.84) was also introduced on January 23, 2013. It was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
Violence Against Women Act – Renewal died in the House in 2012, eventually renewed in 2013 in spite of 138 “no” votes by Republicans in the House of Representatives and 22 “no” votes cast by Republicans in the U.S. Senate.
Legislation to mandate pre-abortion ultrasound examinations – (2011) legislators in 13 states have introduced 22 bills seeking to mandate that a woman obtain an ultrasound procedure before having an abortion. Bills in seven states (AL, IN, KY, MT, OH, RI and TX) are very similar to a law enacted last year in Oklahoma that requires a woman to undergo an ultrasound procedure, view the image and receive a verbal description of the fetus
Revision of sex education laws to require school districts provide abstinence-only sex education, while allowing a discussion of contraception only with prior approval from state authorities – MS
Limit abortion coverage in all private health care insurance plans – (2011) Legislators in 11 states (AL, IN, KS, MI, NE, OK, OR, SC, TX, UT and WV) have introduced 18 measures that would restrict abortion coverage under all private health insurance plans. So far this year, one measure has been adopted by a legislative chamber in South Carolina and one has been enacted in Utah.
Require state health departments to develop new and restrictive regulations of women’s clinics – UT, VA
Place gestational limits on legal abortions – NE, KS, introduced in AL, AR, FL, GA, ID, IN, IA, KY, MD, MS, NJ, NM, OK, OR, SC. The “20 week limit” was a popular idea in 35 measures patterned after the restrictive Nebraska bill.
Re-introduce child labor into the American workforce – Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah said that Congressional laws banning child labor are forbidden by the US Constitution despite the fact that the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 was unanimously upheld by the Supreme Court in 1941 (United States v. Darby Lumber). (A similar movement is underway in Missouri where State Sen. Jane Cunningham (R) has introduced a bill [S.B. 222] to minimize child labor laws) The governor of Maine has recently expressed his interest in rolling back that state’s child labor laws.
Cuts to SNAP (food stamp) benefits. Without the Recovery Act’s boost, SNAP benefits will average less than $1.40 per person per meal in 2014.
Cuts to Headstart funding – “about 57,000 children will be denied a place in Head Start and Early Head Start as fallout from sequestration. [link]
Cuts to funding for Meals on Wheels for the elderly – Federal funding for Meals on Wheels and related nutrition services accounted for 0.02% of the U.S. budget last year. This year, the programs will have to do with roughly $38.7 million less because of the so-called sequester, which requires uniform cuts across programs regardless of cost-effectiveness. (Sequester) New estimates about the automatic budget cuts were released Monday by the federal government. The cuts have slashed over $400 million from the federal program’s $8 billion budget.” (Sequester) [CNN]