Reince Priebus: GOP ‘war on women’ is fictional like ‘war on caterpillars’

Thursday, April 5, 2012 15:17 EDT
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Reince Priebus is talking out loud again:

If Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars and every mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that the Republicans have a war on caterpillars then we would have problems with caterpillars,” Priebus explained. “The fact of the matter is that it’s a fiction.”

Ah yes.  The old “you’re just imagining things” trope.  Bullshit.

Let’s review – yet again – the assault on women’s health and women’s rights that the GOP is perpetrating:

  • Republicans want to tax us if we choose to get an abortion.
  • Republicans are forcing doctors to flat-out lie to us about abortions increasing the risk of breast cancer.
  • Republicans are trying to force us to get permission from the man (Father? Rapist? Who cares!) before getting an abortion.
  • Republicans think we’re sluts for wanting insurance coverage for contraception — whether for birth control or otherwise — all the while demonstrating how utterly devoid of brain activity they are by suggesting that the doctor-recommended use for birth control is “a-pill-per-screw,” and that maybe we could pay for our ovarian cyst treatment if we’d just stop drinking so many fucking soy lattes.

Republicans want us to lie back and take it.  They want us to just “close our eyes” while they shame us and guilt us and emotionally traumatize us and out us to the public for making a choice about our bodies that has absolutely fuck-all to do with them.  And they’re doing this under the guise of “education” and “life-affirmation”; attaching quaint and pithy names to horrific bills which violate our rights as humans.  Names like “Ultrasound Opportunity” or “Right to Know and See.”  Don’t worry.  It’s all about knowledge.

Knowledge is power, you see, and frankly ladies, you don’t know what the fuck you’re doing.  You think you’re incubating baby iguanas in your wombs while storks slingshot babies through open windows in the dead of night.  No, no, silly one.  This here probe will give you all the knowledge about the birds and the bees that you need, and conveniently, since you’re pregnant in the first place, you’ve already consented to be vaginally probed by our metal knowledge stick. Hooray!

So no, Mr. Priebus.  The “war on women” is not a fiction, nor is it some narrative that the media is hyping for ratings.  It is our sick twisted reality.

As for Priebus’s claim that “This started as a war against the Vatican that this president pursued,” again, I must call bullshit, and in so doing, I quote Ian Boudreau:

This construction of “religious freedom” is just weird special pleading. But perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that when it comes to contraception, the Church and its allies seem willing to take an “any port in a storm” approach.

The claim is that Catholic employers will be forced – forced! - to pay for medical services they believe are immoral, and will therefore be placing their immortal souls in danger of estrangement from God’s grace.

Here’s why they don’t need to worry: The decision to use or not to use contraception is the individual’s. For employers, it is their duty — not only under the new law, but also inasmuch as they desire to act justly to their employees — to provide health coverage to the people who work for them. Health insurance plans, now, must provide coverage for free-of-cost contraceptives. Employers qua employers are not obligated to make moral decisions for their employees, particularly when it comes to matters of health. Any moral culpability for the use of contraceptives — and here again, I’m only granting this so as to make the Catholic counter-argument — rests with the persons deciding to avail themselves of this coverage, not the group paying into the health insurance plan.

This much should be clear from John Paul II’s 1993 encyclical, Veritatis splendor, which, while repeating the Church’s condemnation of the use of contraceptives as morally wrong under all circumstances, also reaffirms the role of conscience in the moral actor.

Aside from all this though, a choice made under coercion is no choice at all. This has two implications: One, since employers must provide health insurance that covers contraception or face fines, they cannot be held morally culpable; and two, denying employees the opportunity to make their own moral decision when it comes to using contraceptives takes away their ability to make what the Church would consider to be a morally good choice on their own.

Put simply: being a “good Catholic” requires a person to behave in a way that comports with the teachings of the Church. It does not require a person to attempt to make civic law reflect those magisterial prohibitions, or to prevent the free exercise of conscience by people who do not share their religious convictions. Paying into employee health insurance is the right thing for employers to do. It’s up to Catholic employees to make moral decisions about contraception on their own.

And finally, if Reince Priebus thinks he can “combat” the war on women by ignoring it

“How do we combat it? We make the case to women and everyone in this country — no matter what you background — that, number one, this president hasn’t fulfilled his promises. Number two, we can do better in this country in regards to jobs and the economy.”

– he’s in for a big surprise. Women will not forget the utter disdain the GOP has shown for women.

That Reince Preibus would compare the assault on our human rights to some fictitious “war on caterpillars” illustrates how indifferent — if not downright hostile — Republicans are to women.  We’re irrelevant; mere insects to be squished under the hypocrisy-laced Jackboot of Small Government — a government so small that the GOP wants to set one up in your uterus all the while trying to convince you that it’s no big deal and that, really, it’s just that the media and Democrats are fearmongering.

Well, it is a big deal.  It’s a big fucking deal.  And Republicans are not going to be able to distract women from the nationwide barrage of anti-women, anti-choice, and anti-reproductive rights legislation by talking about the economy (which has, by the way, enjoyed 24 straight months of growth), and the price of gas.  In 2010, the Teabilly nutbags swept into Congress on a wave of “creating jobs” and have done virtually nothing but strip women of their rights. A last-minute pivot back to the economy isn’t going to undo the past year-and-a-half.  We will not forget.

Sorry, Reince.  You’re going to have to do better than that.

image via Amanda Underwood, all rights reserved.

ABL aka Angry Black Lady aka Imani Gandy is a recovering attorney with a burning love of fire and perfectly-constructed sentences. The “anger” portion of her moniker stems not from her displeasure at the hellscape that American politics has become, but rather is a symptom of the pituitary tumor which has been indefinitely detained in her brain since 2006. When she’s not pointing out that people are wrong on the Internet – or writing for Balloon Juice, The Grio, The Team Uterati Wiki Project, or RH Reality Check -- she likes long sits on the beach. Also, she thinks gravity is a real downer. You can follow her on Twitter at @AngryBlackLady.
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