The “War on Women.” The Republicans say that there is no such thing, that it’s just a slanderous catchphrase. House Speaker John Boehner, for instance, is outraged. Just listen to him last April, talking about an impending fight over women’s health: ”This is the latest plank in the so-called War on Women. Entirely created — entirely created — by my colleagues across the aisle for political gain.”
You can’t blame the man. No one likes to be told they’re waging hostilities against half the population — some might even say the better half.
But if Republicans don’t want us to think there’s a war, why, oh, why do they keep attacking?
The latest front in this conflict is in Mississippi, where the state’s only remaining abortion clinic was just barely allowed to stay open today. A federal judge this afternoon extended a temporary order that keeps open the Jackson Women’s Health Organization in the state capital.
Mississippi passed a law saying abortion providers must meet certain standards that lawmakers know are virtually impossible. The doctors have to have privileges at local hospitals — and all the doctors in the clinic come from out of state. Most of them just don’t do enough work in Jackson to qualify.
This isn’t just an effort to reduce the incidence of abortion. That can be done and is being done quite successfully, with education and contraception. No, this is an effort to make abortions impossible, the health of the woman be damned.
Just listen to Mississippi Rep. Lester Carpenter as he bragged about the law to a GOP meeting in Alcorn County. This was his attitude about the damage it might do to women: ”And, of course, there you have the other side. They’re like, ‘Well, the poor pitiful women that can’t afford to go out of state are just gonna start doing them at home with a coat hanger.’ That’s what we’ve heard over and over and over. But hey, you have to have moral values. You have to start somewhere, and that’s what we’ve decided to do.”
That’s his answer: “You have to start somewhere.” And he’s decided to start — not with education, not with better prenatal care, not with improved job opportunities that could make having children more affordable — he’s starting by endangering the health and maybe life of a woman.
That’s the story not just in Mississippi, but in four other states that also have only one abortion clinic. And like Mississippi, three of those states are dominated by GOP governors and legislatures.
When you look at this record, it sure seems like “a war on women” is the right way to describe it.
That’s “My View.”