Republicans have seriously got to at least start pretending that they aren’t appalled and disgusted at the frank discussion of human sexuality if they’re going to keep insisting on trying so hard to regulate it. Over and over again in the debate over reproductive rights, you have Republicans losing it over the mere mention of the word “vagina” or anyone talking about the details of the sort of bodies and behavior they’re trying to punish by restricting access to abortion and contraception. The latest example is a woman thrown out of the Texas legislature for supposedly being disrespectful. What seems to set off Sen. Donna Campbell is the direct mention of the names of certain STIs, though obviously what really bothered her is that this woman testifying has anti-choicers’ number:
There was no explanation. Senator Jane Nelson tried to say I was being disrespectful but how would she know? I barely got to give the complete performance review of every member on the committee. Pointing out that Sen. Donna Campbell is an ophthalmologist is not disrespectful when she asserts in a state hearing that she should be THE expert on reproductive health. What was disrespectful was the parade of anti-choice zealots and misogynists who got up for 13 hours and called women murderers, killers, promiscuous, thoughtless, and selfish. Not a peep from committee chair Nelson on those.
Obviously, it’s laughable to call pro-choicers “disrespectful”, when, as this woman notes, they don’t even respect a woman’s basic right to bodily autonomy and the right to control her own sex life. But that’s the game they’re playing, hiding behind a veneer of euphemism and banishing direct talk about sexuality in order to push through an agenda that is about more than talk, but about taking away women’s rights as punishment for having sex. The ugly assumptions conservatives have about class, race, gender, and age are pouring out during this debate in Texas—some of us, it seems are too respectable to be talked back to, but some of us are so undeserving of respect that we get to have our human rights taken from us.
The sex ed thing that the testifier spoke about, by the way, is becoming an issue. The Texas Freedom Network is petitioning the governor to instate actual sex ed if he’s so hellbent on reducing the abortion rate in Texas. After all, unlike abortion bans, sex education actually addresses the underlying cause of most abortions, unwanted pregnancies, by teaching people how to prevent them. But because Rick Perry is a forced birther and not “pro-life” at all, rest assured, he wants to make sure it’s hard for you to prevent those pregnancies just as surely as he wants to make it hard for you to terminate them.