By Robert Schlesinger |
There is a caterpillar native to the Americas from the Silkworm moth genus Lonomia. The caterpillar doesn't look dangerous, but if you attempt to harm it, it secretes a venomous anticoagulant that causes renal failure, hemorrhaging, and death. Perhaps this is what Reince Priebus meant by the GOP "War on Women" being like a "War on Caterpillars." Although any given incremental erosion of women's reproductive rights from a GOP sponsored bill at the state level seems harmless enough to the future of the GOP, taken in the aggregate they are likely to cause the party severe electoral distress.
Caterpillars aside, the GOP "War on Women" is real and it has real-world consequences for the millions of women whose lives can and will be impacted by legislation that erodes more than a century's worth of progress on women's reproductive rights. There were over 1100 antichoice provisions introduced in 2011 and 900 antichoice provisions introduced so far in 2012. Legislators in 13 states have introduced 22 bills seeking to mandate that a woman obtain an ultrasound procedure before having an abortion. Of these, seven states are pursuing the state-rape vaginal probe variety. In addition, legislators in 13 states have sponsored right-wing "Personhood" type bills, too extreme even for the electorate of Mississippi, that could make both abortion and reproductive choices highly restricted.
Lest we think that the rhetoric around these bills might contain the damage to the GOP's standing amongst women, please note how Georgia state legislator Rep. Terry England compares women to cows and pigs on his farm in support of bill forcing women to carry even inviable fetuses to term and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett justifies forced ultrasound bill by telling women to "just close your eyes."
Like the Lonomia caterpillar, poor women seeking healthcare and women seeking abortions and birth control may seem powerless, but they are not. I can assure you that women all over the country are paying close attention to the GOP "War on Women." Women know that the GOP victory in 2010, especially on the state level, was supposed to be about jobs, the economy, and containing government overreach. Instead, that GOP victory has translated into the worst assault on women's rights in a generation. Expect these women, who have already caused hemorrhaging in Mitt Romney's support amongst swing-state voters, to induce electoral catastrophe for the GOP in November.
About Krystal Ball MSNBC Contributor and Former Democratic nominee for Congress in the First District of Virginia
Sharon Day Co-chair of the Republican National Committee
Zerlina Maxwell Political Analyst and Contributing Writer for EBONY.com, theGrio.com, and Feministing.com
Stephanie Slade Project Director at the Winston Group
Jehmu Greene Owner of JSG Strategies