Image from Austin Cline.

These are very serious times.  Our military is engaged in wars in multiple nations.  Our economy is in the tank.  Our unemployment rates are staggering.  Global warming continues to get worse without much action being taken to slow it down.  But one national crisis rises above all others as the number one threat our nation faces.

Young women are having sex with men who aren't elderly GOP legislators. And they aren't getting punished for it.  Clearly, you can understand their point of view.  Who can worry about issues like the state of the environment or chronic unemployment when there are women who are probably out there right now with sleepy smiles on their faces, having had unauthorized orgasms?  Many of them are probably getting up and going to work, rubbing shoulders with other people as if they had a right, spreading their slatternly cooties all over our once-great nation that knew how to keep bitches in their place.

If you think I'm exaggerating, consider the sheer amount of attention and legislation Republicans are giving towards this task of making sure women pay for having sex. Nearly 1,000 anti-choice bills in state legislatures, a state-by-state attempt to defund Planned Parenthood after nearly shutting the federal government down to do it, and of course the radical expansion of federal powers in an attempt to keep women from spending private money on abortions that passed the House yesterday.  This is clearly issue #1, neatly disproving the skepticism I often meet from liberal men that conservatives really care that much about rolling back women's rights.

In a way, it's sort of amazing how quickly the anti-choice movement took complete ownership of the Republican party.  There used to be a distinction between the two, believe it or not.  For one thing, the movement is not just anti-abortion but anti-contraception and generally opposed to any measures that might allow sexually active people to be healthier and happier.  They've promoted abstinence-only, held rallies protesting contraception, fought against the HPV vaccine with fallacious claims that threatening young women with cervical cancer is an effective strategy to keep them virgins, and well, let me repeat that: The anti-choice movement has openly promoted the argument that you need to kill women off in order to scare other women into virginity.  Conservative groups opposed the HPV vaccine on the grounds that fewer women dying from the results of a common STD was a bad outcome because they like pointing to the corpses in order to scare girls into virginity.  They're operating under the assumption that women who have sex forsake their right to live. But not very long ago, these anti-choicers were kept in check by the Republican party, who just kept on about abortion but by and large ignored demands to restrict access to STD prevention and contraception.

Not anymore.  These fringe characters now own the Republicans.  HR3 had bundled in it the assumption that women who have sex forsake their right to life, because of the amendment that allows anti-choice hospitals to refuse to save a pregnant woman's life if doing so would kill the fetus.  The only possible reason they can imagine for keeping a pregnant woman alive is to make sure she has the baby---if you're not going to have a baby, you might as well die, too.  When you had sex, any value you had as a human being in your own right evaporated, and your only role now is a baby carrier.  That some women back this view of women is kind of amazing, and should be the subject of research into the efficiency with which human beings can compartmentalize.

Not a single Republican voted against HR3, and sadly, sixteen misogynist Democrats joined the chorus of people who are willing to sign off on the idea that a woman who is pregnant has lost her right to life except as a life support system for her fetus.  And, of course, the bulk of the GOP is getting behind this idea that we should cut off family planning funds, which is a wet dream for anti-choicers, who've long dreamt of the day that STDs run rampant and unplanned pregnancy is a given, because they feel that then and only then will they be able to scare young women into not fucking.  What keeps coming back to me is this post at Think Progress chronicling the Republican party's wholesale embrace of the idea that we should invite this health crisis into our country.  A single Indiana state senator---unsurprisingly, a woman---balked at the agenda to increase unplanned pregnancies and STD transmissions by cutting off family planning funding, and she had this to say about the situation:

In an interview with ThinkProgress this afternoon, Becker said that a lot of people share her view but are too intimidated by the political climate to voice their opposition.

My question is how.  How did anti-choicers manage to get an entire party's leadership to adopt their worldview, even though I struggle to imagine that even ordinary Republican voters really believe, deep down inside, that contraception is a menace to society and that pregnant women who can't go to term might as well die?  What does this intimidation look like?  How have anti-choicers gained so much power over Republican politicians that said politicians will do pretty much whatever they ask?  And if anti-choicers have this much power, what's next on the chopping block?  Right now, legal contraception still isn't being challenged directly, though folks like Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee drop their hints.  That seems like it's still beyond the pale, but then again, cutting off family planning subsidies was considered beyond the pale not so long ago.  At what point does the radical anti-choice agenda start to run against Republicans who are more intimidated by losing their seats than by whatever the fuck it is that anti-choicers have over them?