You didn’t think the war was over, did you?
Way back in 2012, the Republican Party offered its vision for America: a presidential nominee who vowed to get rid of Planned Parenthood; a vice presidential nominee who authored a budget drastically cutting government assistance programs, to force poor people and their children to learn how to fend for themselves; a Senate candidate in Missouri who said women’s magic lady parts were capable of detecting and deflecting “legitimate rape” sperm; a Senate candidate in Indiana who said rape babies are a “gift” that “God intended to happen“; party leadership, including the head of the Republican National Committee, that insisted the war on women was “a fiction” and that Obama and the Democrats were the real sexists; and a platform that opposed equal pay, equal rights, family leave, the basic functions of government — and had a soft spot for domestic violence committed against immigrants and lesbians.
The nation’s answer to the Republican Party could not have been any clearer: No. Hell no.
So the party studied itself. It would try harder to reach out to women and minorities and the rest of the despised 47 percent of dependent, useless, leeching Americans its 2012 nominee had said weren’t worth worrying about.
In the years since, the GOP has shown just how it has learned:
- After relentlessly opposing the Violence Against Women Act, congressional Republicans finally buckled — then shamelessly took credit for its eventual passage even though they’d voted against it, pathologically boasting they DO TOO care about women.
- Some of the reddest, and poorest, states still refuse to accept federal dollars to expand Medicaid under Obamacare. Some have even jeopardized the dollars they do receive by unlawfully banning low-income women from seeking care at Planned Parenthood.
- Republican-controlled states have sought new and improved ways to punish poor families, with cuts to welfare benefits and greater restrictions on government assistance like food stamps.
- A conservative-dominated Supreme Court decision gave employers the right to deny contraceptive healthcare coverage to their female employees.
- In Florida and Ohio, Republican governors signed Republican bills into law to defund women’s healthcare providers, directing women instead to food banks and mobile dental units. No, your local food bank will not write you a prescription for birth control. Sorry.
- Indiana got tough on discrimination — by prohibiting abortions based solely on race, sex, “national origin,” and fatal genetic abnormalities. Thus, in a state where abortion is already severely restricted, women are barred from aborting fetuses that cannot survive outside the womb. Nothing says “life” like forcing a woman to carry a dying baby inside her.
- Utah’s legislature recently deemed itself fit to prescribe anesthesia during second-trimester abortions, just in case the fetus can feel pain. (It can’t.) However, the bill is medical nonsense — giving a patient Tylenol to “alleviate” the nonexistent pain of the fetus count could count as “anesthesia” — because its authors did not go to medical school. Actual doctors are now required by the state to drug their patients, even if they don’t consider it medically necessary and even if their patients don’t want it, because “pro-life” legislators and the state’s “pro-life” Republican governor thought it would be fun to play doctor.
- North Carolina enacted the right to discriminate against gays and lesbians and ban transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice — in the name of “protecting” women and girls from those horrible, perverted men out there seeking to violate women’s privacy. You know, the other ones who aren’t in the legislature.
- The “pro-life” self-described “warrior for the babies” Robert L. Dear, who is charged with shooting up a Colorado Planned Parenthood, killing three and wounding nine others, is a big fan of “pro-life” Paul Hill, who an murdered abortion provider and his bodyguard in 2003. Big surprise, right?
- Domestic violence offenders keep owning and purchasing guns because judges, legislatures, and law enforcement do not consider domestic violence a “real” crime and are unaware of, or unwilling to enforce, federal law prohibiting abusers from ownership.
- The pay gap is still real. Still big. Still bad. Still everywhere — even in soccer. And it’s still screwing women at every stage of their careers and even into retirement.
- Kansas is still Kansas.
This year, the Grand Old Party offers pretty much the same vision for America, only worse. And worse means even worse than that for women, as it always does. Its leading presidential candidate has managed to repulse even Fox News with his blatant and unapologetic misogyny, though party leaders remain remarkably silent, perhaps because they all agree with what he says, even if they get a bit squeamish about how he says it.
The party promises to repeal the entire Obama presidency: no more Affordable Care Act, which has particularly benefited women, with its expanded coverage and preventive care mandates; no more executive orders to provide paid family leave and sick leave; no more protections for LGBT workers. If it’s good for Americans, it’s got to go.
Meanwhile, women remain embarrassingly underrepresented in local, state, and federal government. Even with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, women are a minority on the Supreme Court — a Court that is now considering two cases about just how much burden women should have to undergo to obtain basic healthcare.
The war is not over. And that’s why we’re back, to document the atrocities and gird for battle. Are you ready for the fight ahead? Then come join us, this week and every week.
[Original artwork by Lian Amaris]