Lately I’ve heard politicians of all stripes state that women are not single issue voters. This statement appears when the subject of contraception emerges and the two parties use the line for different reasons.
The point is… access to affordable contraception encompasses more than a single issue. Rush Limbaugh and the Republicans act like contraception is something that only pertains to a woman looking for a good time on a Friday night – as a way to cut loose without suffering the “consequences.”
For 99% of women who use, or have used, contraception, the decision to prevent pregnancy is based on economics. Can we afford to have a child at this time? Are we at a point in our lives where having a child would be a responsible financial decision? Do we even want to have children? (That last question has Republicans taking to their fainting couches.)
If we were talking about buying a new car and whether we could afford it, or if spending our money on that was responsible when we were struggling to pay other bills, we would be applauded for demonstrating good fiscal sense. In fact, Republicans normally love to wag their fingers at people buying big screen televisions they can’t afford. Pointing out how people are irresponsible with their finances is one of the GOP’s favorite pass times.
So why don’t they admit that household economies are directly tied to family planning?
Because to them finances aren’t the issue until after birth. Once you’re holding the baby the GOP will wag their fingers at you and call you irresponsible. Some will gleefully tell you that you should have kept your legs closed… holding an aspirin between your knees.
Which brings us right back to the Right’s need for the Madonna/whore score sheet. And who ends up on that sheet depends on how they vote. It’s the difference between Jamie Lynn Spears and Bristol Palin. And given the way Conservatives sit as judge and jury over every pregnancy, pronouncing whether the pregnant woman is saint or sinner, it’s easy to conclude that not all pregnancies are created equal in their eyes.
Which brings us back to women’s desire for affordable contraception and the economy. If all politics is local, then all economies can be found in every household’s checkbook ledger. Republicans are ignoring that reality, and they are paying the price.
When a Wall Street Journal-NBC News survey asked in the summer which party should control Congress, 46 percent of women favored Democrats and 42 percent preferred Republican control.
But in a survey released Monday, compiling data since the beginning of the year, that figure had widened considerably to a 15-point advantage for the Democrats, according to polling by the team of Democratic pollster Peter Hart and Republican Bill McInturff. Fifty-one percent favored Democratic control; only 36 percent wanted to see the Republicans in charge.
Republicans can’t win without women. Repeat: Republicans. Can’t. Win. Without. Women.
And I can’t see how they get them back. Would a man forget, or dismiss, a candidate who proposed castration, sterilization or celibacy? Laugh at those examples at your own risk. And once you’re done laughing consider the “choices” Republicans are giving women – transvaginal ultrasounds, Personhood bills, doctors permitted to lie about prenatal testing results, celibacy. What’s considered ridiculous in a man’s world is becoming the norm in a woman’s.
This isn’t a joke. And it won’t be forgotten or dismissed in November because, no matter how hard Republicans try to make this about religious liberties or, if we’re being honest, sex, contraception is also about the economy, stupid.