Nel's New Day

July 9, 2013

The GOP Looks for a Few Good Vaginas

Distress with the majority of women voting for Democrats during the 2012 general election, the GOP is trying to bring the fairer sex back to the fold. A practical way would be to change some of its policies such as denying women our reproductive rights, equal pay, immigration laws, etc. Maybe even stop being patronizing and controlling. But that isn’t their approach. After an expensive report revealed that a majority of women are not happy with the GOP platform, leaders set out to tell women that Republicans like women.

For example, Rep. Renee Ellmers and 18 other Republican women put together the Republican Women’s Policy Committee with a really nice website and Facebook page to show women that the GOP party likes women. http://rwpc.ellmers.house.gov/  It’s got really nice photographs of women legislators unlike the real ones when all the male lawmakers get together to make life harder for women. And it’s got promises like telling people that the GOP will protect women from being forced to have health insurance.

The latest GOP endeavor is Project Grow which stands for “Growing Republican Opportunities for Women.” (It’s also an acronym for “Gerrymandering Republicans Oppose Women.”) “We need to be a party that allows talented women to rise to the top,” according to the RNC publicity. The GOP still hasn’t figured out that women can be annoyed by the control thing of being “allowed” to do something which is actually their right. Needing a woman to lead the grow project, the GOP selected as a leader Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), who opposes pay-equity measures for women and voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act.

The GOP has a ways to go to “allow” women into their camp. The House Democratic Caucus is one-third women compared to the 8 percent of women in the House GOP majority. Last year almost twice as many Democratic women filed paperwork to run for the House as Republicans, and over three times as many Democratic women were elected.

In the new legislative session this year, state lawmakers have introduced over 300 bills to eradicate women’s reproductive rights. The House passed an anti-abortion bill, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is working on one in his chamber.

Project Grow was launched just before the week of the Fourth of July when both Ohio and Wisconsin passed unconstitutional anti-choice bills. Texas would also have succeeded if the media hadn’t pointed out that the GOP leadership cheated by changing the time clock. Now Texas, accompanied by North Carolina, is charging along toward a more successful outcome for the conservatives, despite the vast majority of voters opposing their bill.

Sarah Slamen, 28, tried to explain the facts of life to the legislators while testifying. Three men had to haul her out of the court because she was giving very uncomfortable information to them. This is one women that the GOP will not get to “grow.” [The video is well-worth watching!]  In an interview with Daily Kos, state Sen. Jane Nelson said that Slamen was being disrespectful but never stopped the 13 hours of testimony that “called women murderers, killers, promiscuous, thoughtless, and selfish.”

Part of Slamen’s statement was to be the way that Gov. Rick Perry’s sister, Milla Perry Jones, would benefits from the closures of clinics because she is head lobbyist for allied surgical centers and doctor-owned hospitals that has given $4 million to get Perry’s bill passed. The Texas Observer had pointed out that these facilities overcharge for tests, procedures, and services.

The Texas House committee passed the bill, that will close all except five clinics, onto the House which also approved the bill. They will take a formal vote on it tomorrow morning. Democrats pointed out that GOP committee leaders “limited testimony at a public hearing, declined to hear from hundreds more waiting to testify and refused to consider Democratic amendments–and at times even failed recognize Democrats to speak at all to raise questions.”

walkerMost of the GOP action last week surrounding anti-abortion bills took place in the dark of night, Wisconsin included. Gov. Scott Walker’s signature was barely dry when the new law was taken to federal court where a judge blocked part of the law for ten days. A hearing is scheduled for July 17. [Left: Scott Walker]

In his 19-page ruling, U.S. District Judge William Conley noted that the admitting-privileges provision of the new GOP law serves “no medical purpose” and was rushed into law for no apparent reason. It is up to state officials to prove that it safeguarded women’s health, he wrote, which he said “does not bear even superficial scrutiny on the current record.” He also agreed that the law had been rushed onto the books, noting that it was proposed, passed, signed and enacted in just 34 days, a timeline he called “precipitous.” 

“[T]he State,” Conley wrote, “must demonstrate that the regulation is reasonably related to ‘the preservation and protection of maternal health’ but it failed to do so.” In addition, he pointed out that “the majority of patients are at or below the federal poverty line.”

Last night 64 members of North Carolina’s “Moral Monday” protesters, now in their tenth week, were arrested for objecting to a bill that limits abortion access. The weekly rallies have grown from a few dozen in the early weeks to over 2,000 people. State GOP legislators claim that their protests make no difference, but the activities are beginning to affect tourism in the state.  The state Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker said, “The current environment makes it very challenging to market North Carolina.”

Last week’s bill mandating clinics performing abortions to conform to the standards of ambulatory surgery centers was pushed through the Senate without a public hearing. The state House has scheduled public hearings on the bill today.

Cecil Bothwell, a city councilman from Asheville (NC), summed up this attack on women: “It amazes me that they claim they don’t want government intervening in health care issues [about Obamacare], yet they want to tell women what to do with their bodies.”

Tanya Glover, 34, came to the protest because the legislature’s lean education budget slashes services for her special needs child. “This state has gone to hell and it’s hurting my family,” Glover said.

Her description fits the 30 states controlled by the GOP.

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