Guest post by Renee of Womanist Musings, who is all that and four bags of ketchup flavored potato chips.
One of the reasons that the GOP believed that Barack Obama was elected four years ago, is that they weren’t conservative enough. This election cycle, several GOP candidates increased their misogynist rhetoric and engaged in what can only be described as a war against women. Considering that women make up fifty percent of the electorate, this was hardly a smart decision, as the election results proved last night.
Todd Akin who referred to doctors who provide abortions (which by the way is a perfectly legal medical procedure), as “terrorists,” didn’t fare well last night. Apparently these doctors who have undergone years of medical training perform abortions on women who aren’t actually pregnant and scare women into making the decision to abort. By his reasoning, women aren’t capable of making up their own minds about what to do with their bodies. Todd Akin also at some point must have failed basic biology because he also believes that women cannot get pregnant from rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down, Akin said.” Don’t feel sorry for Akin because he lost the election last night to the incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill because he now has time to go back to school and actually learn some basic biology. Education should after all be a lifelong effort.
Tom Smith who tried to create distance between himself and Todd Akin compared pregnancy conceived through rape to being a single mother. Someone should have advised him that you cannot run away from misogyny while sticking your foot in your mouth. Tom Smith lost his election bid to democrat Bob Casey.
Richard Mourdock came under fire for saying, "I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen." I suppose this is a polite way of saying that when life gives lemons, make lemonade. Well, Mourodock better get his lemonade stand ready because he lost his election bid to Democrat Joe Donnelly in Indiana.
Joe Walsh wanted the world to know that he is pro birth no matter what the situation is. Apparently, modern medicine means that the life of the mother is never at risk. He stated, “There is no such exception as life of the mother, and as far as health of the mother, same thing.” I wonder if he believes all of the science aired on Star Trek as well? Joe Walsh lost his re-election bid last night to Democratic challenger Tammy Duckworth in Illinois' 8th congressional district.
Last night’s election results was more than a win for President Barack Obama, it was a win for women; it was a win for reproductive freedom. All of these straight cisgender white men will never be in a position to have to choose between carrying a pregnancy to term and having an abortion, yet for some reason, they believe that they have the right to legislate our wombs. There can be no other word to describe this than misogyny.
Uniformly, they based their convictions on religious beliefs and by so doing, have forgotten that the U.S. has a separation between church and state for a reason. Christianity is far from the only religion in America and its place is most certainly not in government. Measures like sex education, access to free or low cost birth control, as well as lessening the income gap between men and women would go a long way to reducing the number of abortions but that is not something any of these men advocated for. Instead their agenda was to control women and sympathise with rapists.
As a woman, these decisions buoy my belief in the system. Due to free speech laws, these men certainly had the right to say what they did but that does not mean that they should be free of consequences. The people have spoken and advocating for a lessening of reproductive freedom is not a something the country is interested in. Hopefully this will be a lesson to legislators that a woman’s womb belongs only to her and should not be subject to government intervention.
Though the U.S. is still clearly very much a sexist society because women have yet to reach parity with men and this is especially true when it comes to marginalized women, these election results prove that we are willing to use the power we do have to our benefit. Hopefully, it will serve to remind young women that the rights which our foremothers fought so valiantly for will always be under threat until we achieve true equality in all spheres of life with men. This is why there will never be an election that we can afford to sit home and pretend that what happens does not affect our lives. Even if you personally believe that abortion is not something you would choose, women should have the right to decide individually. Every vote matters when it comes to ensuring that women retain our right to choose.