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This Party Has a Big Problem with Women

What makes a lawmaker believe he is qualified to make this determination about a woman’s health over that of her doctor and her family?

By Maggie Doherty

From state legislatures to our nation’s highest courts, this country has a problem with women. As in, conservative politicians want to control and punish women and our bodies. Make us subservient, compliant, docile. Less than. Equality means nothing. “Family values” means nothing. The Republican party, the one that loves to offer “thoughts and prayers” in the wake of preventable tragedies, supports a wannabe dictator who unabashedly loathes women (and, also democracy. Exhibit A: inciting the Jan, 6 insurrection and labeling the 2020 election a hoax) and jury found liable for sexual abuse. Former President Donald Trump and the party’s leading nominee for this year’s presidential ticket has demonstrated little respect for women, including their medical privacy, which includes reproductive rights.

In June 2022 with the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, the constitutionally protected right to abortion and reproductive care was restricted and since that determination, women and girls across the country are facing a crisis of freedom and health care. Since Dobbs, we’ve read about numerous women suffering from these politically charged decisions, like Kate Cox of Texas. A mom of two, she learned last year she was pregnant with her third child, but it was a nonviable pregnancy – a lethal fetal diagnosis. A medical abortion was needed but her home state had passed one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the wake of Dobbs and, despite the nonviability of the pregnancy and the risks the pregnancy posed to her and her future fertility, it was illegal for her to obtain a medically necessary procedure to terminate the pregnancy. Decisions like what Cox and her family had to make should not be headline news, and not because it’s a topic that shouldn’t be discussed because they aren’t the fodder for polite conversation. What Cox and her family went through shouldn’t be news because it should have been a decision left outside of the halls of any legal or legislature. These are unbelievably painful and traumatic experiences, not simple clips or headlines that can boost poll ratings.

What makes a lawmaker believe he is qualified to make this determination about a woman’s health over that of her doctor and her family? Why is there a group of men so focused on women’s sexuality but so eager to support a man who’s been married and divorced multiple times and was caught on camera bragging about his prowess to grab women by their genitalia? Why is there such vehemence toward women? Especially during some of the most vulnerable and painful moments like that of what Kate Cox experienced and will continue to experience? And why are we not hostile or shaming Kate’s husband? Surely, as the second person who created the nonviable pregnancy he should also share part of the blame, isn’t that correct?

If the effort to overturn Roe v. Wade is to return to “family values” then let’s see some support offered to those women and girls (yes girls, because now in many states young girls are forced to carry to term pregnancies after rape or incest) by enacting pro-maternal health coverage laws. How about health insurance for any pregnant woman? Or even paid maternity leave? Here’s the funny thing about all these new laws about defining personhood, these embryos and fetuses can potentially develop into babies and children and they will need healthcare, food, and education. So in the name of protecting them, how about sweeping laws that protect them too?

Until I see otherwise, I see a party that has a big problem with women.