Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Another Skrmish In The War Against Women

(Editorial cartoon by Joel Pett / Lexington Herald-Leader (October 22, 2012) and featured at McClatchy DC.  Click on image to enlarge and then be good enough to return.)

As the campaign season draws to a close and many races still remain too close to call, things have gotten downright wacky.  Nowhere is that more evident than in the attempt to woo women voters, usually with hilarious results.  Romney managed to give Democrats a viral meme with his "binder" comments at the last debate. 

At the same time, however, Republican candidates continue their war against women.  Todd Akin has moved on from his misbegotten comments on "actual" rape to chide his opponent for not being ladylike and likening her to a dog (and you know where that is going).  The latest entry comes from Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois who has some rather peculiar views on abortion.

“There’s no such exception as life of the mother,” Walsh said, according to this report from Bloomberg News. “And as far as health of the mother, same thing, with advances in science and technology. Health of the mother has become a tool for abortions any time, under any reason.”

Within hours, women’s heath advocates — and physicians — attacked his remarks. ...

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) fired its own salvo, calling the congressman’s comments “inaccurate” in a widely distributed response.

“Abortions are necessary in a number of circumstances to save the life of a woman or to preserve her health,” the doctors’ organization said. The group reported that more than 600 women die every year from pregnancy and childbirth-related causes and that “many more would die each year if they did not have access to abortion.” ...

Dr. David Grimes, a clinical professor in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill who has provided abortions for four decades and formerly led a department that studied abortion safety at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, described some potentially life-threatening circumstances.

In his practice, he said, he’s often cared for women who are newly diagnosed with breast cancer or leukemia whose oncologists refuse to administer treatment until the pregnancy is over. Type 1 diabetes can be severely aggravated by pregnancy, and an abortion may be necessary to save a patient’s eyes or kidney function. And in some severe cases of pre-eclampsia, the liver can begin to die — and the only treatment is ending the pregnancy.   [Emphasis added]
The general consensus of physicians who actually treat women during pregnancy is that legislators like Walsh should just shut-the-fuck-up when it comes to telling doctors how to treat their patients and stick to issues they have at least rudimentary knowledge of.

But it's not just the abortion issue.  The war continues on several fronts:  the right to contraception, and the right to have that contraception covered by health insurance the way Viagra is covered; the right to equal pay without restriction; the right to maternity leave with continuing health coverage; the right to assistance for child care and child feeding for single mothers and poor families.

Here we are in the 21st Century and women are still not considered as important as corporations and the Pentagon.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but I reserve the right to be appalled and, yes, depressed.  We are still a long way from the scenario envisioned by Joel Pett and his cartoon.

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