Deservedly, these are trying times for the male species. To name but a few, consider Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein, poster boys for “Me Too” and “Time’s Up.” (And unlikely guest speakers at the National Organization For Women conference in July.)
Cosby can’t attend because he’s serving 3 to 10 for rape. Weinstein can’t because he’s facing two sexual assault criminal charges. And billionaire financier, Epstein, can’t because he’s a convicted pedophile. But instead of a life sentence in 2008, he got 13 months with “work release,” and only spent 8 hours a day in jail. How? Ask Alex Acosta then U.S. Attorney, now Trump’s Labor Secretary.
Right about now I can imagine readers muttering, “Gee, Jack, I don’t see the humor here.” My answer: Me, too. (Pun intended.)
Fast forward to February, 2012 and the GOP House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on birth control access…without a single female witness! The Democrats were allowed Georgetown student, Sandra Fluke, but Chair Darrell Issa, rejected her as “not qualified.”
Issa had made a $¼ billion fortune from his anti-auto theft devices business. It’s ironic because, as much as I hate the sound of car alarms, is how much I hate the sound of his voice. (Thankfully, Issa, Putin’s pal, was resoundingly defeated in 2018 and hopefully his car got stolen!)
Eventually, Ms. Flake was “allowed”to speak and raised the question why were Viagra and other erectile dysfunction medications covered by health insurance but birth control pills weren’t. The next day on his radio show, former Oxycontin junkie, Rush Limbaugh, said of Fluke, “Why should we pay for her being a slut?” (Ms. Fluke has since become an attorney and women’s rights activist while Rush is still a bloated blowhard.)
This bring me to today’s subject, women close to losing their reproductive rights. Yes gang, with recent state bills in Ohio, Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama, the overturning of Roe v. Wade is right on the horizon. Or, or as a rapper might say, “The sh*t just got real.”
Even though Roe has been “settled” law for 45 years, suddenly it’s extremely unsettled. This the latest chapter in “Pro Choice” v. “Pro Life.” (Which, if it weren’t so serious, almost sounds like an MMA pay for view.)
Ever notice how many “pro lifers” are adamant supporters of the death penalty? And ever notice how once the baby is born, for pro lifers, it’s now on its own? In any event, with this current Supreme Court, Roe may soon be gone and, with, it 45 years of “stare decisis,” (precedent).
The draconian Alabama law, signed by a female Governor, is even too extreme for Pat Robertson! Not only does it ban all abortions, there’s not even an exemption for rape or incest. That means if, for example, a 13-year-old girl were raped by her father and gotten pregnant she would have to carry that baby to term.
Even if the father went to prison, she would likely have to fight him in court to prevent visitation rights of his “grandchild.” (Did I mention Alabama is 50th in the country in education?)
While this law is so harmful to women, and society on so many levels, this seemingly “incest waiver” might reinvigorate the scene from “Chinatown,” where Faye Dunaway says, “She’s my sister; my daughter; my sister, my daughter.” (Sorry, but the thought of actually overturning Roe is so bleak even my humor is dark.)
In the Alabama Senate, the vote was 25-7. Surprise, surprise, all 25 were old, white Republicans. One of the female Senators tried unsuccessfully to get vasectomies classified as felonies. (You go girl!)
By the way, my title above is an abbreviated quote from Gloria Steinem who popularized the full quote in 1971, two years before Roe. “If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.” The statement is profound, but in her memoir, Steinem said she first heard it from an elderly female Boston cab driver. (Already, I like that cabbie’s attitude.)
With many polls showing 70% to 79% of America want Roe to stand as is, why is this fight being waged so fiercely? Also, since recent federal elections reveal that 54% of the voters were female, why aren’t they rioting in the streets? (Yes, I know many women favor overturning Roe but they are by far the minority of their gender.)
So if 54% of the electorate are females, why in the House and Senate, are only 20% of the legislators female and that is a record because the blue wave in 2018. 20%? Why not 50%? If women need any more incentive to vote against this war on their reproductive rights I pray this will do it. Actually, I’m hoping in 2020 it turns out 2018 was just a warm up.
Jack is at: facebook.com/jackneworth, twitter.com/jackneworth and email@example.com