Over the last month, conservative men such as Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Reince Preibus, and several others have called the Republican war on women a mere fiction invented by Democrats to attack them with in the media. Instead Republicans have spun their war on women as a fight for religious freedom, which just happens to attack the reproductive rights of women. Well, that may convince male Republicans, but female Republicans are not buying it. In fact, Republican women are undermining the claims made by their male counterparts.
Earlier this week, Republican Senator Olympia Snowe stated that the contraception debate is “a retro-debate that took place in the 1950s. It’s sort of back to the future, isn’t it? And it is surprising in the 21st century we would be revisiting this issue.” She also criticized the right-wing attacks against Sandra Fluke. A couple of weeks earlier, Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison defended Planned Parenthood against conservative attacks, telling MSNBC that low-income women need the services it provides.
“We cannot afford to lose the Medicaid funding for low-income women to have health care services,” Hutchison said. “We cannot. We keep turning back federal funds that every state gets and then try to find money in our budget, which is already being cut in key areas like education. I do think that the governor needs to sit down with the federal government and work it out so we can have our share — our fair share not more — of money for Medicaid to help low-income women have their health care services…I think Planned Parenthood does mammograms, they do so much of the health care — the preventive health care and they’re doing that, we need to provide those services, absolutely.”
On Thursday, during a Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski became the third female Senate Republican to contradict her male colleagues, calling Republican efforts against contraception an “attack on women” despite Republican males claiming that there is no war on women.
????“It makes no sense to make this attack on women,” Murkowski stated. “If you don’t feel this is an attack, you need to go home and talk to your wife and your daughters.”
Clearly, there is a split among Republicans by gender. Republican men say there isn’t a war on women, it’s all about religious freedom. While Republican women see this as a war on women’s reproductive rights. By having the courage to speak out against their male colleagues, female Republicans are confirming that their own party is in fact waging a war against women and that religious freedom is just an excuse being used as a crutch to falsely justify it. These women are putting the exclamation point on why women across the country are running to support Democrats this election year. If high-profile Republican women are angry at their party for attacking women, it stands to reason that conservative women across the nation are also angry. And that is really bad news for all Republicans running for office this year. As President Obama said on Friday, women are not a special interest group. Women are half of the American population, and any party that attacks them risks political extinction. Republican men are willing to take that risk, and it could cost them dearly this November.