2012: Redefining Women’s Role In America – OpEd (VIDEO)

It was only in 1912 that Woodrow Wilson had taken on the fight to get women the right to vote. After a two term fight against the GOP, the Democratic President signed the law into effect. A century removed from that right, women’s rights in America have hit a new low.

Republicans in Wisconsin have introduced bills to criminalize single mothers (Bill 507 | Analyses). The GOP in Wisconsin is also fighting new battles to redefine a woman’s role in America. In Ryan’s home state, Republican Representative Don Pridemore said that instead of leaving an abusive situation, women should try to remember the things they love about their husbands. “If they can re-find those reasons and get back to why they got married in the first place it might help,” he told a local news station.

Pridemore — coincidentally, is a co-sponsor of Republican state Senator Glenn Grothman’s “being single causes child abuse” bill.

In addition to those two bills in Wisconsin and telling abused women to stay with an abusive spouse, Republicans have taken this effort to redefine women’s rights across state borders. In Arizona, a proposed law would give Arizona employers the green light to fire a woman upon finding out that she took birth control for the purpose of preventing pregnancy. (Bill 2625 | News)

Texas, for example, has taken on a battle to defund Planned Parenthood. This affects women requiring preventative care, cancer screenings, etc. The bill signed by Governor Rick Perry affects low income women the most. 

This is only the tip of the iceburg. The most radical of all GOP attempts to redefine the entire existence of  women in America comes from the  party attempts to define rape.  Republican Senator Todd Akin-MO came under fire for saying “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Many women find defining rape as illegitimate as a demeaning act. Some say that it can go as far as to imply that the victim enjoyed rape, therefore, it was not legitimate. Others have shown concern saying that such language places blame on the raped rather than the rapist for instances causing pregnancies. (News)

Interestingly, Paul Ryan, Romney’s running mate had partnered with Todd Akin to define rape. As a matter of fact, as a U.S. House member from Wisconsin, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan has co-sponsored 38 anti-abortion measures, including some that make no allowance for rape, which are very consistent with Akin’s believes. (News)

The Republican efforts are not just limited to reshaping the role of mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters in America forever through defining rape, citing biblical inspiration for the abused, and committing to firing women on birth control. It has even transcended into a war with liberals. The GOP opposes the Affordable Care Act which has now made it impossible to charge women twice as much for insurance and requires all insurance companies to offer women free preventative care such as mammograms.

The GOP has also taken a harsh stand against Obama’s “Equal Work Equal Pay” act. Currently women earn 77 cents for the same exact work that men get paid a $1 to complete. (Sources).

The Violence Against Women Act, also called the VAWA was created in 1994. Since then, it has been approved by bipartisan support of both GOP and Democrats. This year, the GOP even took a stand against the VAWA. The fight to pass this critical bill that supports abused and battered women continued for months before the Senate passed it 68-31. Only 17 Republicans voted for it and twice as many (31) voted against it. A bill that was, for two decades, bi-partisan has transformed into an ideological battle. Some claim that it ties with the GOP efforts in Wisconsin to remind abused and battered women to stay with abusive spouses through remembering positive moments of their relationships.

This coming election, for women, the choice is clear. The GOP nominee, Romney, has been focusing on the economy when making a case with women. But considering the fact that the Obama administration has already added 4.6 million new jobs to the economy (four times as many as the Bush administration did in 8 years), the argument is starting to look bleak.

This coming election, women perhaps have the most on the line. Whether its defining of rape or being fired for using birth control or paying twice as much for health care, women are at the center of this debate. This timeline provides a detailed view of all the GOP led actions charged at redefining female rights in America. 

Fortunately for women, it is 2012, not 1912. Democrats have already earned them a right to vote. Now it is up to the women of United States to exercise that right to have input in how they define their role in society and what price tag they eventually place on their rights.

This video says it all: