Green Room

Yes, There Is a War on Women

posted at 3:32 pm on March 19, 2012 by

by Libby Sternberg, Center Right Side blog

Even though it’s been weeks since conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh called a reproductive rights activist a “slut” and then apologized, the “war on women” has not subsided.

Good. It’s high time that women on the right side of the political aisle joined the battle. And because conservative women’s long-simmering outrage was ignited by the left’s double standard in the Rush kerfuffle, liberals have been in the uncomfortable position of playing defense.

Sure, they’ve turned to an even more aggressive offensive stance (more on that in a bit), but at the outset, they were whipsawed by the reaction of conservative women who, after suffering through years of grotesque, highly misogynistic comments from liberal celebrity pundits, finally had the opportunity to present a litany of these offensive louts’ language for all to see, saying, “Yeah, these filth-spewing commentators deserve the world’s opprobrium–we’re so glad you agree with us at last.” Ahem.

(A quick aside: Politics ain’t beanbag, and when I, and other women I know, speak of “offensive language,” we’re not talking about strong metaphors. We’re talking about language that diminishes women to their sexual natures alone, language that is a variation on either “forget her ideas, she’s one hot fox,” or, “she’s no more than a c***, so why take her seriously?”)

The reaction to conservative women’s pushback during L’Affaire Limbaugh has been amusing, to say the least. The standard liberal meme has been resurrected: liberal commentators, regardless of their offenses, aren’t equal to Rush because of his huge audience and, oh, yeah, he is the titular head of the Republican Party anyway, you know. (Tell that to the various GOP presidential candidates who won the party’s nomination despite harsh criticism from Rush.)

The audience measurement argument puts liberals in the embarrassing position of showcasing “their guys’” low audience numbers, though. Beyond what Nielsen statistics say about the appeal of liberal ideas on the airwaves, however, the question then becomes: exactly where is the cutoff that gives a commentator a pass in the use of offensive language? Is it 900,001 (Keith Olbermann could draw close to 900,000, after all.) How about 1,000,001? (Bill Maher can draw a million.) Even if liberal fellows don’t understand the absurdity of that argument, most women, who’ve ever walked past a construction site to catcalls and whistles, do.

So, now that the hypocrisy has been exposed in the Rush brouhaha, the left has loaded other missiles in their Outrage Artillery to keep the “War on Women” battle alive to their benefit. They’ve been firing off shots about how conservative men want to control women’s bodies (abortion, contraception, etc.). They are dragging out a list of state bills sponsored by conservatives that seek to either limit access to contraception or force women to undergo “invasive” testing before having abortions.

As to the contraception bills, from my knowledge these are a reaction to the HHS mandate dictating that all health plans must cover contraception and abortifacients, regardless whether the coverage violates the religious beliefs of the employers. So they are attempts, perhaps clumsy and (pardon the pun) ill-conceived, to protect First Amendment rights of free conscience. If the White House made a real accommodation with religious entities concerning these mandates, the reactionary bills would probably disappear in a snap. (And, no, the WH has made no accommodation–the same mandate language HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius advanced prior to announcing accommodations is still in the law.)

On to the ultrasound bills–there’s been one in Virginia, but they’re popping up elsewhere–proposed laws to force women seeking abortions to have ultrasounds first. I’m not keen on legislating medical practice, but I am sympathetic to the pro-life point of view, even if I don’t entirely share it.

Pro-life advocates believe that abortion is murder. And just as activists such as George Clooney can’t stand idly by while watching people be massacred in Africa, pro-life champions believe they, too, must do everything in their power to stop what they see as the slaughter of innocents.

I admire George Clooney, even without agreeing with him on all his stances, and would never disparage his well-intentioned efforts. Similarly, I admire pro-life activists, even if I don’t agree with all their approaches. Can most liberals say the same?

In fact, the left’s barrage of attacks on ultrasound bills has incensed at least one pro-choice supporter, who argues, quite persuasively, that using inflammatory language (such as “rape”) to describe pre-abortion ultrasounds is harmful to women. Since the vast majority of abortion providers do these ultrasounds anyway prior to abortions, liberals are unnecessarily alarming women about their invasiveness and diminishing their value.

But that’s the real problem with this whole “war on women” the left is using to try to score points against the right. It ignores the reality of women’s opinions and lives just to trounce political opponents. It hides behind the skirts of women, in other words, to fire shots at adversaries, seeking to damage them in women’s eyes.
The reality is that women are not of one mind on reproductive issues. Gallup polls show women fairly evenly divided on abortion, in fact, with 48 percent identifying themselves as “pro-life” and large majorities supporting some restrictions on abortions that liberals traditionally fight tooth and nail– things like parental consent laws for abortions for minor girls, for example. Ironically, I’m sure mothers who hold these beliefs would look at liberal opposition as something of a “war” on them.

But you rarely hear of these divided opinions when the High Dudgeon Industry has fired its first shots. In my cynical view, that’s because those fueling the battle aren’t really all that interested in listening to what women have to say after all…unless it can be used to defeat political opponents.

So, David Axelrod can blithely criticize Rush Limbaugh in one breath, while stammering sophistry about why Bill Maher’s one-million-dollar donation to the president’s SuperPac is okay because….well, because it’s just too darn silly to even repeat here.

Don’t be fooled, sisters. There might be a “war on women” out there, but it’s coming as much from the left who want to silence the half of American women who don’t agree with liberals on abortion policy. According to their “rules of engagement,” these women–pro-lifers or their admirers– deserve to be called any name in the misogynist’s lexicon.
______

Libby Sternberg is a novelist living in Pennsylvania. She is a past member of the Vermont Commission on Women. She runs a blog titled Center Right Side. This post originally appeared there.

 

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Comments

First, it’s not a war on women if the war is against republican or conservative women. Always remember that the demokrat party is all about diversity and tolerance as long everyone thinks the same.

jukin3 on March 19, 2012 at 3:41 PM

I am woman
Hear me whine!
Only womwn have the right to kill

Bevan on March 19, 2012 at 3:53 PM

According to their “rules of engagement,” these women–pro-lifers or their admirers– deserve to be called any name in the misogynist’s lexicon.

Exactly. Abortion not women is what organizations like NOW and “feminists” love most. Its disgusting. I used to believe it had something to do with women and thinking we were valuable parts of society and deserved a certain amount of respect. But I found out in 2008 it has nothing to do with standing up with women. Its all abortion. Whoever is willing to give them the most wins thier favor no matter how they may demean or hurt actual women.

magicbeans on March 19, 2012 at 4:08 PM

…they’re popping up elsewhere–proposed laws to force women seeking abortions to have ultrasounds first.

It is my understanding the the STANDARD OF CARE requires at least one ultra-sound for any abortion.

The ONLY new thing these laws do is require the mothers have access to the images. This is called ‘information’, and it leads to ‘informed consent’.

The mothers CAN…like good Collectivits…shut their eyes to to reality.

Ragspierre on March 19, 2012 at 4:20 PM

Ragspierre, I agree. Pre-abortion ultrasounds do seem to be the standard of care, as is noted by the link I included to the pro-choice woman who is upset with the left’s alarmist rhetoric on this standard.

Libby Sternberg on March 19, 2012 at 4:24 PM

I find the facile lies being told by the Collectivist to be more outrageous than normal.

For instance, there is a meme saying that several states are passing or considering laws that encourage a doctor to lie to his/her pregnant patient.

As an attorney, I know this is ridiculous, but you will see the meme bouncing vigorously around the moonbat echo-chamber, and LOTS of commentators with their hair on fire over it.

The reality is that these laws are intended to limit liability…and, hence, expanded defensive medical costs…for “wrongful birth”, which is a dubious form of med-mal. They will make women MORE prone to find good choices for prenatal care, and at lower costs.

Ragspierre on March 19, 2012 at 4:32 PM

It’s pretty much standard practice for a woman having an abortion to have an ultrasound first. The ultrasound is necessary to determine that the woman is in fact pregnant, as opposed a false positive test due to a hormone excreting tumor, and that the baby is alive, and the location of the placenta in the womb – for vacuuming or D&C.

What is different is the women are now offered the chance to see what they are about to do – what is that “thing” in their uterus they are about to evacuate. This is informed consent, just like a doctor would show you an x-ray or MRI or CT image of the tumor you are about to remove, but in this case it is a live human baby. Moreover some of the legislation requires the abortionist to explain where the baby is in it’s development – another part of informed consent, back to the cancer analogy- similar to staging a tumor.
In every medical procedure except abortion the patient is at least offered the chance to hear and see what is growing in them & the details of the removal.
The medical professions lack of enforcing informed consent with this surgical procedure is shameful, misogynistic and is a War on Women.

batterup on March 19, 2012 at 4:33 PM

Batterup, that’s a great point — that the ultrasound is a form of “informed consent,” and not to require it is to treat women as if they are incapable of evaluating this information. I hadn’t thought of it that way.

Libby Sternberg on March 19, 2012 at 4:43 PM

But OF COURSE! That is why they are doing the headless chicken dance over these very NOT coercive laws!

It shoots the myth of a “non-viable tissue mass” right between the eyes.

Ragspierre on March 19, 2012 at 4:52 PM

All them big words and no dang pictures?

Just kidding, lol.

Great points made, and well said.

Brian1972 on March 19, 2012 at 6:01 PM

It shoots the myth of a “non-viable tissue mass” right between the eyes.

Ragspierre on March 19, 2012 at 4:52 PM

Funny that- we don’t call an unborn calf, kitten or puppy “non-viable tissue mass” nor do we make up other names for them while in utero. They are called by what they are when they are born.

The unborn baby other than a human routinely called by a special name like fetus is a fetal pig and those are for dissection in high school biology. It’s no coincidence.

Words matter.

batterup on March 19, 2012 at 10:01 PM

You can’t play cute with science, though.

Genetically, a human being is a human being. Always, absent an anomaly like Down’s Syndrome, we are the same.

We are a member of the species the minute those chromosomes combine.

Ragspierre on March 19, 2012 at 10:07 PM

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Comments have been closed on this post but the discussion continues here.

Ed Morrissey on March 20, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Libby,
What happened to your Blog?

shick on March 20, 2012 at 10:24 AM