Women’s rights recently came under siege again. A woman’s rights to earn a living, control her own body, have access to healthcare, and plan her own future have all publicly come into question during the past month. Established rights that today’s women enjoy are being decried as the reason for the morale decline in America. Women have had to fight long and hard to get these rights, and now it looks as though we will need to fight once again to keep them.
Thankfully, the Senate voted 51-48 to deny passage of the Blunt Amendment. If passed, the bill would have allowed employers to opt out of providing insurance coverage for medical procedures that the company finds objectionable, including contraceptives. At hearings on the bill, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) rejected Sandra Fluke, a congressional witness, and Georgetown University law student, as being "unqualified" to speak on the topic of contraceptives and women’s health.
After the hearing, radio host Rush Limbaugh called Fluke a “slut and a prostitute” for advocating that employers cover birth control pills in their health plans. “So Miss Fluke, and the rest of you Feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch,” he said.
In recent speeches, Rick Santorum has doubled down on statements that reflect a strong need to control and limit women. Regarding women serving in military combat positions, Santorum said, "I do have concerns about women in front line combat. I think that could be a very compromising situation where people naturally, you know, may do things that may not be in the interest of the mission because of other types of emotions that are involved." Does this mean that women are too emotional to stay focused on their job, or does it imply that men would be so distracted by the mere presence of females that they would be unable to do their job?
Days later, he defended the accusations he made in his book It Takes a Family. “Radical feminists undermine families and try to convince women that they can find fulfillment only in the workplace,” Santorum proclaimed.
Poor stupid women are so easily misled!
The grandest insult of all, however, was when he spoke about the negative impact of prenatal care for pregnant woman. "Yes, prenatal testing, amniocentesis, does in fact result more often than not in abortion. That is a fact," Santorum said. That is not a fact, Mr. Santorum, and neither are any of the other slanderous things presently stated by powerful men about women.
Call me paranoid, but these sentiments take me back to an earlier time; a time when respect for a woman’s intelligence was superficial at best, a time when women were widely viewed as weak and silly. Earlier this week a priest refused to serve communion to a woman he believed to be a lesbian. Last week, the Virginia legislature contemplated a law that would require women to have a trans-vaginal ultrasound done prior to abortion. Why? Evidently, just to be as invasive and demeaning as possible. Is it just me, or is there a pattern of oppression, suppression, and repression developing here?
Women currently comprise 47 percent of the U.S. workforce, according to the U. S. Department of Labor. By 2018, woman will become the workplace majority with 51 percent of all jobs. Is it the fear of female dominance that is fueling this backlash initiated by high profile men?
If so, these men can relax. This fear is baseless because even if women are the majority population in the workplace, they will still earn less than men and continue to have only limited economic clout. White women now earn 77 percent of male salaries, African American women earn only 69 cents and Latinas just 59 cents on the male dollar, according to The National Committee on Pay Equity. Women are poorer than men in all racial and ethnic groups.
Yes, the woman’s movement has been revitalized by recent male attempts to turn back the clock to the 1950’s. Women of all ages, races, ethnicities, creeds, and religions are turning their attention toward greater equity, rights, and respect for women. These attacks have crystallized for us the reality that any policy or practice that causes harm to any woman hurts us all.
Thank you, Rush Limbaugh, Rick Santorum, and all the self-righteous men with microphones who have spoken loudly and proudly against women’s rights. Your voices have energized and unified us in a way that nothing has for more than a decade.
Hell hath no fury like women scorned gentlemen, and you have scorned us.