An Apology to the Women of America

 

Rush Limbaugh booking photo from his arrest in...

Hey, ladies. This guy thinks you're too stupid to think for yourselves. What an asshole.

America is at war. This is nothing new. What is new is the enemy. Having tired of fighting so-called terrorists overseas, this country has found a new target. Led by the Republican Party, and specifically the Religious Right, a war is being fought against the women of America. Like most American wars, however, this one is being fought for all the wrong reasons. The stupid white men that make up the government have decided that women and their freedom are the greatest threat currently facing this nation. And, on behalf of all those stupid white men, I would like to say one thing: I’m sorry.

In the past few weeks, there has been a parade of ridiculousness by men waving the flag of religious morality as they attempt to restrict women’s access to health care services including abortion and contraception. The Supreme Court has ruled that both of these are legal, so the Republican Party has tried to find clever ways around this fact. Sadly for them, being clever is not their strong suit.

Several states have tried to change the concept of personhood, arguing that human life begins at the moment of conception. This is contrary to scientific consensus, but the GOP has overcome this obstacle by simply ignoring the science. This is the same strategy they have used on issues from climate change to evolution. And, just like in those cases, it has left them looking foolish.

Their idea is that by calling an embryo a person, abortion would no longer be a medical procedure. Women who received abortions would now be murderers, as would the doctors who performed them. But, this theory ignores the fact that many pregnancies end naturally, without the intervention of a doctor. Miscarriages are an unfortunately common occurrence, but would now be cause for a criminal investigation to make sure no foul play was involved. This personhood initiative would also outlaw most forms of hormonal contraception, as anything that prevented an egg from becoming a fully-formed human being would now be against the law.

There has also been a more direct attack against contraception. According to the Catholic Church, contraception is not permitted. Religious groups have attempted to use this doctrine to claim that religious institutions should not be required to provide contraception to their employees as part of their health benefits. President Obama dodged this ploy by requiring the insurance companies to cover these costs instead of the religious institutions. This was not a satisfactory solution for the religious fanatics, even though it was embraced by insurance providers.

According to estimates from the insurance companies themselves, it would cost about $4 billion per year to provide contraception for every woman in the country. These same insurers are now spending close to $11 billion each year on unplanned pregnancies, including pre-natal care, delivery, and other related expenses. As would be expected, insurance companies are in favor of any idea that involves paying out less money.

Religious zealots in the Republican Party, however, cling to the idea that contraception and abortion are against the will of the Catholic Church, and should therefore be outlawed, despite the fact that they rarely follow church doctrine when making policies. Some other things opposed by the Catholic Church, for example, according to the Conference of Catholic Bishops: the death penalty, war, anti-immigration laws, and the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Some things the Church favors: universal health care, workers’ unions, and an increase in the minimum wage. The GOP has ignored the wishes of the church on all of these major issues. To claim that this is a battle over religious freedom and has nothing to do with oppressing women is beyond ridiculous. It is condescending and offensive.

The stupid white men that run this country are uncomfortable with the thought that women are breaking out of the mold that they were stuck in for centuries. They think women are supposed to be silent and submissive, ignorant and obedient, passive and pregnant. They think sex is something for men to enjoy and for women to endure. And, they think that if women won’t willingly revert back to this idealized male notion of what they are supposed to be, they can simply change the laws so that women have no choice.

That’s what this whole debate boils down to. Stupid white men are scared that women have choices. Women can choose how they want to live their lives, when and with whom they want to have sex, and when and if they want to become pregnant. And, this reality is terrifying to men whose opinions on women are based on a book written more than 2,000 years ago.

So, as a stupid white man, I want to say again: I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for Darrell Issa, the congressman who held a hearing on contraception, but refused to allow any women to testify.

I’m sorry for Rush Limbaugh, who spent most of the last week saying horrible, disgusting things about a woman with the audacity to think that she had a right to have her voice heard at that hearing, while at the same time insisting that insurers should not provide contraception for women but should continue to pay for his Viagra.

I’m sorry for Roy Blunt and Marco Rubio, who sponsored a bill that would allow employers to refuse to cover any health care service they opposed for “moral reasons,” including contraception and abortion, as if there is any moral reason that would justify denying care to anyone who needed it.

I’m sorry for Rick Santorum, the presidential candidate who says contraception is against God’s will, opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest, and dares to call children born to rape victims “a gift from God.”

I’m also sorry that no one in the Republican Party knows how contraception or abortion actually work. They think that anyone using contraception is a “slut” or a “prostitute,” to use the words of the ever-eloquent Mr. Limbaugh, despite the fact that 58 percent of women on contraception use it at least in part for reasons other than preventing pregnancy. In fact, there are women using contraception that aren’t having sex at all. Many women are prescribed contraception for ailments ranging from severe menstrual pain to skin conditions to fibroid tumors to endometriosis to polycystic ovarian syndrome, and some of these women use contraception in order to keep their reproductive systems healthy enough to have children in the future. But, the irony of that is too much for simple-minded Republicans to grasp. They are just as clueless on abortion, as shown in their numerous attempts to pass laws forcing women to undergo ultrasounds before they are able to have an abortion. They think that women don’t know that when they are pregnant it means that they are going to have a baby, and that if they only knew, they would never want to terminate their pregnancy.

There is a small reason for hope, however. Women outnumber men in this country. And, along with the men smart enough to be on their side, they have the power to vote all the stupid white men out of office. But, until they do, these stupid white men will continue to do stupid things, and people like me will be forced to keep apologizing for them.

So, this apology is directed to all the women who have fought for countless years to prove that they are not second-class citizens, that they are fully capable of making their own decisions on what is best for them, and that it is possible to have both a uterus and a brain. I may be a stupid white man, but I know the right side of this battle to be on.

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