Attempt to Gaslight Women Will Blow Up Republicans

I’ve got a lousy cold and a lot of work – and ideas – backed up but I cannot endure one more column headline opining on why there’s a gender gap between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.

The gap exists because of reality: when women look around and on an every day occasion, see and experience where we aren’t included or even thought about, or, when we are included or thought about, how we’re treated – whether in real life (Ginni Rometty) or fake life (anything on Mad Men) – we don’t like it. And we see the statements and policies of conservatives as, in general (yes, there are exceptions), upholding, supporting and keeping in stasis what we don’t like, while we see the statements and policies of moderates and liberals as, in general, seeking to change, alter, take down and improve that which we don’t like (though of course there are plenty of exceptions there too – start with any sex scandal).

And, as if to underscore how clueless the men are, US Senator Mitch McConnell claimed that his female colleagues certainly would support him in calling out the “war on women” as being manufactured. Thanks, Mitch, for demonstrating how completely you haven’t heard a word your female colleagues have said and how thoroughly you expect them to follow you in lockstep, to wit, from that link:

“Talk about a manufactured issue. There is no issue,” McConnell said. “Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (from Texas) and Kelly Ayotte from New Hampshire and Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe from Maine I think would be the first to say—and Lisa Murkowski from Alaska—’we don’t see any evidence of this.’”

However, three of those female GOP lawmakers whom McConnell cited— Snowe, Hutchison and Murkowski—have specifically spoken out against Republican measures they believe are aimed at women.

Then, there’s the whole gaslighting aspect to what McConnell and others like Republican National Committee Chair, Reince Priebus, are saying – Priebus analogizing his belief that the notion of there being a war on women is as far-fetched as suggesting there’s a war on caterpillars.

We’re not being gaslighted – reality bites. And no amount of optics of Republican female spokespeople on the trail or a strong spouse, daughter-in-law or mother will begin to cut into the reality.

84 Comments

  1. I just read a piece from Susan Brown. As flabbergastingly stupid as the column was, I was stunned into an incapacity to answer it. For those who don’t know who Susan Brown is, go to Darryl Cagle’s site and read some of her articled. She, of course, had insisted that not only did the Republicans NOT have a war on women, but that the Obama administration was actually the one putting women down and hurting them. I think I may go back to the article to rebuff it–by simply linking this article.

  2. Yes, Virginia, there is racial, economic, social status and gender “gaslighting” in America.

  3. Republican political leaders are not only out of touch with women, they are out of touch with worthwhile priorites in general. To all intents and purposes they’ve decided honesty and decency (some of us still remember those good old fashioned character traits) are dispensible as well. It only remains to be seen how the GOP will spend insane amounts of money to skew public perceptions of who and what they really are. It’s no surprise that more women vote for democrats than for republicans, but given the current attitudes and cluelessness about women it’s hard to see why that gap isn’t even more lopsided. Maybe it will be this time around..

  4. Its really a shame that GOP women in Congress are forced to vote for these measures and then get bashed for voting for them at home. If they vote against them, the TP will run a more cooperative and well-financed candidate for their seat in the primary

  5. And not that there is a dearth of examples, but here’s another one from over the weekend, in which a Republican state senator says that Wisconsin’s equal pay law was repealed because money is more important to men – his words, not mine:

    http://www.care2.com/causes/wi.....r-men.html

  6. Typical type of sexism/racism in the GOP. If you were to grill him no doubt he would not say he is a sexist because his views are so ingrained he thinks he’s not. That’s just the way his world works. Very typical of the GOP these days. So sad.

  7. My stepson and his wife, who are in the US Army in Korea, do not like President Obama too much and were planning on voting against him in the next election. However, now that the Republicans have vastly overreached on women’s reproductive rights, they are going to vote for the President. This one issue, which is crucial for both of them in their early 20′s, on which they could no longer support the Republicans.

    I just heard Limbaugh say yesterday that it was in fact the President who is waging war on American women. These people are so out of touch, and may have lost my stepson and his wife’s support for their cause. They are so arrogant that they can’t see the damage they have caused. So be it!

  8. IndyGuy – I really appreciate that as I’m not and never have been an enthusiastic supporter of the President’s. It’s not that I believe I’d vote for the GOP candidate, and I wasn’t a Hillary person much before the 08 primary, but looking at the macro view, the overall effect, the overall impact, the cumulative result of the policy positions held by office holders who hew to a more conservative ideology simply do not help women advance – they just don’t, IMO. They don’t help make life easier for women or their families or those who love women. They just don’t offer much in the short term or long term. The support requested is for what return? For what purpose? To what end, in a mortal life? Frankly, I don’t even think we ask for that much – to be treated with equal respect, to be paid dollar for dollar, to have the same access – there is nothing unreasonable or out of sync with reality in any of that. Honestly, other than to try and go back to a time when women really were mistreated and expected to take a heck of a lot of abuse that men would never tolerate, what are the conservatives offering? Sincerely, I just don’t know.

  9. Jill said:

    “what are the conservatives offering?”

    Ostensibly (and hopefully), conservatism.

  10. Which, in some of its iterations, is harmful to and holds back women, families and equal access to the American Dream.

  11. What specific iterations are those, Jill?

  12. CStanley — really? C’mon. Even if you want to sidestep the entire issue of reproductive rights due the conservative choices you personally say you prefer (too bad for those of us who are different than you, but let’s put that aside), and instead just stick with the whole work equality thing, there’s a pretty easy list of why many popular iterations of conservatism are bad for women.

  13. Anyway, Jill — good article, thanks. The topic of gaslighting in general, and how it’s a tool used against women and people with disabilities so often, and to great effect, is one I find fascinating and scary. I hadn’t been thinking of the overall recent push against women’s rights in terms of gaslighting, but it’s an interesting thought. It is appropriate, though, I think. The idea that all of us who are pissed off are just over-reacting, that we’re hysterical (ahem) over these laws being passed that the GOP is slipping through the cracks, making them out to be totally business-as-usual — it’s pretty infuriating, and it’s designed to make many of us complacent in blithly giving away our rights without making a stink.

  14. What’s sad is that the Republican Party used to fight for things such as Civil Rights and it was the Southern Dems that wanted to keep things status quo. Now the Republicans seem to be mostly out for the rich. Even my “non-rich” Republican friends think the Republicans should insist on tax cuts…. precisely so the rich can earn more money and hire more money (and guarantee others’ the opportunity to work). They view the rich as being the economic engine in this country. Even though most business owners are anything but rich.

  15. I think conservatives have ceased to act conservatively. Their actions are much more radically regressive and reactionary than even Reagan-era conservatives can accept. There are too many laws against women in too many areas of the country to ignore their actions as isolated happenings.

    Conservatism by definition means keeping things the same– or slowing down change. I agree with Roro that conservative women may not balk at their party’s meddling with women’s reproductive choices– they may not even care that women are left out of the process or even worse, shamed for having a normal sex life, but even THEY should feel affronted at losing a third of their paycheck, because “men probably need the money more.”

  16. bluebelle,
    the reason i asked jill for specifics is that when you look at the specific real changes that have occurred, it’s almost always true that the conservative opposition actually was doing exactly what you say they were not doing; that is, they have been opposing the changes by which progressives have tried to move the country to the left on these issues. The recent birth control insurance mandate is the most obvious example of that, because it wasn’t Republicans who wanted to change the status quo. Same for the debate which broke out over changing the Hyde Amendment- a compromise which had kept at least an uneasy truce in the culture wars for a generation.

  17. To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with any of you holding the position that the changes that progressives have made and seek to change on women’s issues are good or needed…that’s your prerogative and I simply respectfully disagree. And if you think it’s important enough to prevent you from considering a vote against Obama strictly on that basis, well, that’s your prerogative too if you choose to be a one issue voter.

  18. Um. stock boy maybe your Republican friends also know that the majority of business owners aren’t rich and that’s why they also know that corporate taxes are influential in whether or not small businesses feel confident to hire?

  19. And bluebelle…yes, most of us who identify as conservative also agree that conservatives have failed to govern conservatively. That is why i initially responded to Jill’s question with the qualification that conservatives will hopefully offer conservatism.

  20. “KUALA LUMPUR — Leading global market intelligence firm Synovate today released results from a new study on women and financial independence, which found that nearly six in ten (58%) women across 12 diverse countries believe themselves to be financially independent.”

    That’s certainly encouraging,

  21. “when you look at the specific real changes that have occurred, it’s almost always true that the conservative opposition actually was doing exactly what you say they were not doing; that is, they have been opposing the changes by which progressives have tried to move the country to the left on these issues”

    CStanley, that’s just not true, unless you count law that’s been settled for long periods of time. It’s very rarely true. On the abortion front, absolutely the GOP has been pushing the laws far to the right — in the form of mandatory waiting periods, medically dubious or outright inaccurate speaches written by lawmakers to be delivered by doctors to women, mandatory ultrasounds, parental notification/permission laws, cutting back medical exceptions, ramping up regulations and restrictions on clinics, allowing false advertising and tax-paid support for “Pregnancy Crisis Centers”, further cutting down the legal period of gestational maturity, etc etc etc. Conservatives have also fought against equal pay laws, domestic violence laws, sexual harassment laws, and privacy laws, all of which were not meant to push the agenda left, but to close loopholes by which employers were taking advantage of female (and LGBT and disabled and racial minorities) workers. Even in the case you site, it’s not hard to see that the law requiring employers who provide health insurance and prescription coverage to their employees to do so in a manner that does not discriminate based on gender had a big loophole, and that loophole was coverage of birth control.

  22. CStanley – let’s start with one of the most recent – a Wisconsin state senator saying that they’ve repealed the equal pay laws because it’s more important to men to make money, which I link to above but here it is again:

    http://www.care2.com/causes/wi.....r-men.html

    The belief by an elected official that such policies reflect reality systemically and, with the governor’s signature, institutionally clawbacks economic gains by women. I don’t know how anyone can view it as having any benefits for women or families – many of which are headed by single women as well as by women (much to the satisfaction of many men) unless the desire is to go back to the 1950s.

  23. Ok – I don’t see the edit button in comments – is that right? So my apologies for typos in that comment – should be as well as by married women.

  24. Jill, I think what that state official said is ridiculous but I wouldn’t hold Romney accountable for it any more than I think we should hold Obama accountable for Marion Barry making obnoxious statements about getting rid of Asian shopowners in black DC neighborhoods. I really don’t see why people get dragged into the weeds over the outrage of the day instead of looking at actual policy.

  25. As in the past, CStanley, I have no issue with us having disagreements in what we see or how see things. I see disparate impact of laws and institutionalized discrimination as problems that deserve solutions via proactive policies and action, particularly in the case of people who lack the benefits of privilege – whether that privilege is in the form of a class, race, religious, gender or economic advantage. These beliefs are in part why it’s unlikely I’d ever support a Republican candidate – but you never know, depending on the policies they support. Never say never. Likewise, Democrats who don’t support such action also wouldn’t get my support.

    I experience and/or witness, on a regular, personal basis, especially in my elected official life, how these prejudices and stereotypes keep the status quo or work to fight back against gains made by women and minorities. I choose to fight for policies and action that stop, prevent and eliminate such behavior.

    Don’t know if it’s conservatism, don’t know if it’s liberalism, or anything else. I just know what I see and who is contributing to it and work to make it be different.

  26. My understanding is that Walker did not repeal the equal pay law as the article states, but rather signed the repeal of the law allowing women to bring equal pay lawsuits to state courts instead of federal. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  27. CStanley– As far as the mandate goes, its my understanding that about 27 states already have this in place– the GOP treated it as some radical new intrusion into religious liberty. It is not.

    There have been over 1100 laws passed in the last year limiting or imposing conditions on the choices of women as far as their reproductive health, as well as a pattern of actions nationwide that would close down Planned Parenthood clinics. If you consider the laws that redefine rape and those that remove protection for equal pay, that constitutes more than one issue for female voters. The Ryan budget would likewise hit females harder as they are more dependent upon entitlements.

    Of course some conservative women will still vote for Romney– but it WILL effect the way Independents vote.

  28. Is there something out of the ordinary in politics to say your opponents are waging a “War”on _________.? Women are getting the shitty end of the stick, it’s true, and has been true in the past. No need to deny it, just say it is the other guy waging war and roll in the voters for your side. OK, with me, I just wish the Reps could have a catchy war phrase for the the Dems.

    Very difficult since the Dems have never, and never are wrong about anything (snark over). But some liberals actually believe that is so, not so much moderates and independents.

    So all is fair in politics. Not so sure about love as the Reps are probably at war over that.

  29. Jill, that’s a list basically of state laws relating to abortion. So as far as I’m concerned the guy you brought up making an asinine statements about pay inequity being OK is still a one off, unless you can show me who else is saying that.

    I honestly don’t know the details of the Wisc law that was repealed. The optics of repealing it right now are probably bad politics, but since I can’t find an unbiased source reporting on it, I don’t know if I think it was wrong on principle to repeal it or not. My general opinion on pay inequity is that it historically has been a real problem but real gains have been made and there are also reasons other than discrimination that can contribute to inequity. I generally think that the ability to sue should be protected so that disputes can be sorted out, but I don’t know what the real effects of this law were so can’t say whether the repeal was a big deal or just election year hype that neatly fits a narrative.

  30. As far as I know equal pay for women has been federal law since 1963 and there is no way a state can reverse it. What Wisconsin did is make it harder for women to sue by taking away the option of suing in a state court and forcing them to use a federal court. You could debate that decision but what I see is a probably deliberate attempt by some to paint this as somehow repealing equal pay for equal work. FWIW the justification given for the reversal was on a pro-business basis, namely since it was made easier to sue a lot of frivolous lawsuits were brought to the state courts.

    CStanley it’s not surprising you don’t know the specifics of the Wisconsin law. I tried over the weekend to find the details but Google was flooded with a ton of opinions and few facts. Even the mainstream sources didn’t say much.

  31. @DaGoat – fair question – not sure of the answer though.

  32. CStanley, if you want to make this trees and not the forest, that’s your prerogative but I’m not hiding how I look at these issues, both at the micro and macro level, when it comes to decision-makers who I perceive as wanting to preserve and/or return to some era that’s long past & didn’t do well by women and those who seek to preserve, promote and progress further on behalf of women having access and accomplishments on the same level as men. Whether the policies involve states’ rights or federal jurisdiction, my stance about my preferences regarding the effect is unlikely to change, though I will respect federalism.

  33. dear JillZ, nice to see you always and hope y ou feel tip top soon…

    the comments system has been acting up lately and sometimes you can edit your own comment and sometmes have to sign out and sign back in then most often, it’s ok again.

    hang in there. we’re working on it.

    archangel/ dr.e

  34. @Cstanley… So what do you think, dude? Do women deserve the right to equal pay and equal healthcare, or not?

  35. Cstanley isn’t a dude and she has already stated her opinions on the issue.

  36. As far as the mandate goes, its my understanding that about 27 states already have this in place– the GOP treated it as some radical new intrusion into religious liberty. It is not.< \i>

    The majority of those states allow for religious exemptions, and previously there was the federal option of self insuring for institutions that weren’t provided an opt out in the state law. So yes, the federal mandate is a radical departure from previous policy.

  37. EE, is correct, but more than that, she is a reasonable person.

  38. Thanks EEllis. Epiphyte, if you have any specific questions about my views I’d be glad to answer.

  39. LOL, thanks for that as well, dduck.

  40. Jill, I get that you aren’t a partisan Democrat but your stated goals, both in the ends and the means, identify you as fairly liberal. That’s fine but just recognize that the reason that you don’t see the GOP offering what you are looking for is that Republicans don’t agree on those ends and means. There’s nothing radical or devious about that, it’s just how things work in our system.

  41. CStanley – You clearly get what I’m saying and I’m glad but I will also say tongue in cheek that I’ll be happy to label ends and means as devious or radical if I perceive them to be that way. Disagreement on what people want out of life or their political party or nationwide or statewide policies is not, as you say, radical or devious in and of itself. But either sides’ means and ends certainly could be characterized that way by anyone, depending upon what they’re talking about. To me, attempts to clawback access to a legal medical procedure that has been such for 40 years such is radical. Using the idea that it’s all to help be sure that the woman is completely and totally well-informed before she agrees to that legal medical proedure, as with the bills that would have required the use of a Transvaginal ultrasound is a devious use of the notion of informed consent.

    And honestly – just using those as examples, I’m sure there are plenty to point to going in the opposite political direction. Just reiterating that the disagreement isn’t radical or devious, but ends and means selected to further either side certainly might be characterized that way.

    Thanks.

  42. CStanley,, that’s just not true, unless you count law that’s been settled for long periods of time. It’s very rarely true. On the abortion front, absolutely the GOP has been pushing the laws far to the right — in the form of mandatory waiting periods, medically dubious or outright inaccurate speaches written by lawmakers to be delivered by doctors to women, mandatory ultrasounds, parental notification/permission laws, cutting back medical exceptions, ramping up regulations and restrictions on clinics, allowing false advertising and tax-paid support for “Pregnancy Crisis Centers”, further cutting down the legal period of gestational maturity, etc etc etc. Conservatives have also fought against equal pay laws, domestic violence laws, sexual harassment laws, and privacy laws, all of which were not meant to push the agenda left, but to close loopholes by which employers were taking advantage of female (and LGBT and disabled and racial minorities) workers. Even in the case you site, it’s not hard to see that the law requiring employers who provide health insurance and prescription coverage to their employees to do so in a manner that does not discriminate based on gender had a big loophole, and that loophole was coverage of birth control.

    OK, Roro, so when liberals push for laws they think are needed, they’re “closing loopholes” rather than “pushing the agenda left” but when conservatives push for their policy preferences it’s to push the agenda rightward.

    Again, as I said to Jill, what’s wrong with seeing all of these cases as the normal push and pull of two factions in a pluralistic society? And on your complaints about the abortion restriction laws, it doesn’t really matter what your specific criticisms of those laws are because in reality you won’t accept anything other than complete access and public funding of abortion- and that is not how the SCOTUS justices ruled in Roe or subsequent cases.

  43. And thank you, Jill, for a very reasonable response.

    And honestly – just using those as examples, I’m sure there are plenty to point to going in the opposite political direction. Just reiterating that the disagreement isn’t radical or devious, but ends and means selected to further either side certainly might be characterized that way.

    Yes, and I could give dozens of examples but I’ll choose one that is recent and relevant tot the topic of the post: the testimony of Sandra Fluke. In response to critics, much was made of the fact that she was mainly testifying on behalf of women who needed treatment for medical, not contraceptive needs. But the status quo is that these needs are already covered, and no one disputes that or has any moral misgivings about such use. The whole issue boiled down to complaints about the process involved in showing a medical need for a covered expense- and yet that same process is what all of us have to go through whenever a doctor’s preferred prescription or treatment differs at all from the insurance company’s standards (I personally have had to go to be for at least a dozen prescription preauthorizations for my son in just the last few months.) so at the very least, it’s disingenuous to insist that this is a battle for parity when what some women are asking for is actually a preferential treatment for insurance companies to cover these drugs without question. And that’s to not even mention that the mandate insists on no copy- is there any other drug for which that’s the case?

  44. Ugh, my kingdom for an edit button….

    That should say that I’ve had to go to “bat” for prescription preauthorizations and that the mandate specifies no “copay”.

  45. Weeeell – I am saying with a smile – the only problem I see with that particular example is the reality that a bill in either AZ or NM, I apologize I can’t recall which, actually did include and I think there’s another one out there now that does include a requirement that women provide proof to employers that they need the script for medical reasons only. But again, I understand what you’re saying and I sincerely have NO doubt whatsoever about how tactics are used by advocates, regardless of what they’re advocating.

    If you want to see some of this in amazing fashion, check out the movie Cape Spin. I moderated a panel about it after it showed at the Cleveland International Film Festival and it’s not just about the MA Cape Wind project but really about how anything can be turned political and what happens to people and a cause when that happens. I think you would really find it gripping.

  46. Also Jill, the fact that abortion opponents are using what you consider devious means to put restrictions on abortion has a lot to do with the fact that Roe was a judicial rather than a legislative decision. By arbitrarily defining a limited right to life for the fetus at certain stages, the justices insured that the will of the people in more conservative states was thwarted and the people who want more protections for fetal life even at early stages are trying to find any legal means possible to do so.

  47. I agree that anything can be politicized and that it often turns quite ugly. Thanks for the film recommendation- I’ll check it out if I get a chance.

  48. BTW Jill- from what I understand about that Arizona bill, it was an issue with being poorly written. It sounded as thought he employer was to review that health information when the intent was for the insurance company to do so (it was simply written as “the corporation” I believe.) so it’s fine that opponents pointed this out, but there too you see this hyperventilation which has blown it all out of proportion. I think the Obama campaign’s capitalization on this dustup, for instance, was ridiculous.

  49. Capitalizing on dustups is though, as I am guessing you’d agree, part of the entire game that’s pursued – for better or worse, and all around.

    Here’s what I always think about and I think it’s a really solid rule, though it can really curtail supporting much of anything: if you (generic you, not you or me) don’t want to see negative ads or the capitalization of dustups and so on, then don’t give money to those entities that use those tactics to gain an advantage. This is easier said than done but these days, it’s not hard to know that certain groups may use certain tactics, others not so much. Giving to a candidate directly or to a local organization that reflects one’s own perspectives and behaviors is the safe bet when using money to support something. Otherwise, people should use their time or their words (i.e., writes letters to the editor, make calls, lick envelopes).

    Making all these observations we’re making shows that we can distinguish – but how many people are this literate when it comes to deciphering campaigns? And the net effect ends up being less participation – which is not what I want, though it certainly may be what some strategists want – and that’s a whole other blog post, right!? :)

    I believe engaging in this way – as we do here – helps on an individual basis. My work in my day life with a group called the Civic Commons is about how to expand that to a public square space, virtual and in real-time. And in my council work, it’s the same thing – I don’t much care for what we decide to do per se, so long as the process is open and transparent (and I’ve got a whole batch of issues going on with that right now under a new administration) – it’s what do the residents & taxpayers want.

    All that said, I won’t sit out voting because I don’t agree with tactics. But I will work hard to find other ways to participate in away that’s consistent with my beliefs.

  50. I think the Obama campaign’s capitalization on this dustup, for instance, was ridiculous.

    Never let a crisis go to waste, if you are a true politician, of either party.

  51. Not everyone will enjoy this but Stephen Colbert did a send up of the Wisconsin legislator who said that money is more important to men in the context of discussing the repeal of the state’s equal pay law – it’s more toward the end of the segment but the whole thing is about 3 mins – for the record, I don’t watch Colbert or Jon Steward, Bill Maher – any of that, but when segments are pointed out as this one was to me on a listserv, I often will take a look –

    http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/146968615.html

  52. “OK, Roro, so when liberals push for laws they think are needed, they’re “closing loopholes” rather than “pushing the agenda left” but when conservatives push for their policy preferences it’s to push the agenda rightward.”

    If the intent of a law is to make is it so employers can’t discriminate against people based on gender or race, and an employer finds a way to skirt that law legally and discriminate anyway, closing the loophole doesn’t move the world left. One might argue that anti-discrimination laws are progressive, and I would agree, but allowing for actual enforcement of the laws that exist is different than moving policy one way or another.

    CStanley, you seem to be trying to say this is all normal, and there’s nothing to see here, folks, but I still have a right and responsibility to say that passing these laws to roll back the rights of women does, in fact, hurt millions of women. Saying that oh, there’s a law against discrimination, but you can’t sue in a financially reasonable way if your boss is discriminating against you, takes the teeth out of the law. It hurts the people the law is meant to protect. Oh sure, you can get an abortion, but whooops there’s nowhere to get one because they closed down all the places near you where the procedure is performed by passing laws that say those places need to have full hospital facilities — laws the lawmakers knew full well would be impossible to comply with. This will hurt all the women who need the procedure in those areas.

    Real things with real consequences to real people, CStanley. Maybe it’s all just so much politics to you, as someone who doesn’t anticipate ever needing to sue due to discrimination, or someone who is fine without birth control, or someone who is perhaps beyond the age when an abortion might be necessary under any circumstances. You’ve got yours, so it’s all politics to you. What about me and the other millions of women who are not you? Why do you and the primarily white male power structure in Washington get to limit the rights of the rest of us? Why do you get to choose the outcomes of our lives?

  53. Very cute clip, thanks, Jill. Of those three comics, Colbert is my guy (oops, person). I would like to watch Jon, but his histrionics turn me away. OK, I eat my broccoli on Friday night and catch the sneermaster BM.
    I think we need the laughs cause politics is so serious that it is harmful to the psyche.
    And, it serves the purpose of pointing out the absurdity of many things that because of too much partisanship are gaslighted (phew, I’ve been dying to use that term).

  54. dduck (said politely and nicely — promise!): you gaslight a person, not an issue or a thing.

  55. Retort, equally politely, this is the new gaslight, according to dduck.

  56. Fair enough.

  57. @dduck – TOTALLY off topic – I watched the Jon Stewart clip pitting Easter against Passover – tears in my eyes esp. at the very end because my kids do these characters that sound just like the voice-over couple in the clip. Too funny – and true! must share –

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/wa.....g-passover

  58. It’s called EastOver.

  59. Roro,
    The same is true in reverse though, in terms of enforceability. The Roe decision gave considerable latitude for states to restrict third trimester abortions and yet any law which attempts to do so is opposed on the grounds that we can’t question whether or not there is a serious health risk to the mother because that’s an invasion of her privacy and/ or an inappropriate insertion of state authority into a doctor patient relationship. If that’s not an unenforceable law, then I don’t know what is.

    And in terms of access, supporters of abortion access are perfectly free to donate their own time and money toward making that happen without taxpayer dollars.

    As for the rest- just once I’d love to have a discussion on this issue without someone making it personal. While I am close to the end of my childbearing age, my views on abortion and contraception have been consistent throughout my 20s, 30s, and 40s so my current age isn’t relevant. Beyond that, your implication of me having an attitude of “I got mine so who cares” is utterly offensive and you have no idea what issues I’ve faced relative to this anyway. As it happens, in May of 2009 I found out I was pregnant the same day we found out that my husband lost his job. I was 44 so in addition to the financial hardship there was the fear of complications for me and our baby. Fortunately she is healthy but I almost died from an infection of my C section incision.

    Is that the worst anyone has had to face? No, I’m sure it’s not….but it’s certainly not the type of charmed life experience that you insinuate I’ve had.

  60. CStanley — You can’t say this is personal for nobody but you. You and your family were able to follow your personal values and make choices according to your own conscience at a very difficult time, and I am truly glad that your child is healthy and that you were able to recover from your infection. But you were able to choose your path according to your circumstances and your values. I don’t understand why you would want to force your choices and your conscience onto other families and women who hold different values, who would make other choices, and whose outcomes might not eventually turn out as yours have.

  61. Roro- I shared my personal experience in response to your implication that I don’t have standing in this situation. In my own view, the personal doesn’t matter. To me, the idea that we should make laws or decide ethical and moral issues based on personal anecdotes, or exclude people from having opinions and votes on matters on that basis, is unacceptable. It would be like saying that no one can support homicide laws unless they’ve personally been in a situation, or expect they might be, to feel justified in killing another person.

  62. CStanley, your situation points out very clearly that this is, indeed, a personal issue. That’s why people make it personal. It’s not just politics. It’s not a hypothetical intellectual excercise for policy wonks. You managed to totally bypass the whole point, which you’ve done many times now, so I’ll ask again. Why do you insist that your personal choices and conscience should be made into law for everybody?

  63. On an issue where another life is at stake, roro, society (and by extension, I) have every right and responsibility to make laws to protect that life. Why is it that you sidestep the fact that Roe v Wade affirmed that principle at least to some degree?

  64. To further address your question, roro, there are all sorts of other situations where I would not expect other people to make choices according to my own values, but those situations are different than abortion because there isn’t another person involved, clearly I understand that not everyone agrees with me about a pregnancy at all stages involving another person- but equally clearly, you should be able to see that those who do believe this can’t possibly accept the killing of the fetus as a valid choice that other women should be allowed to make.

  65. I would like to point out that Bill Maher doesn’t belong in the same sentence with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

  66. CStanley– are you trying to say that if the situation was reversed that a Republican candidate would not seize on the issue?

    Romney may not be responsible for all of the conservative laws that have been passed that are affecting women– but he has endorsed some initiatives that are unpopular with Democratoc and Independent women– the Personhood Movement, the Ryan budget and the Blunt Amendment. I see no real problem in Obama pointing out that the two parties offer different choices to women–The Democrats and Obama have supported the Lily Ledbetter act, the GOP did not. The Democrats and Obama support keeping Planned Parenthood open– the GOP does not. The GOP would like to put as many roadblocks in the way of a woman getting a legal abortion, the Democrats oppose that. Yes, calling it a war uses hyperbole but its to be expected in an election year and it is certainly no more ridiculous than the Republicans claiming a war on Christians, war on religion, war on Christmas, etc.

  67. BB: “no more ridiculous than the Republicans claiming a war on Christians, war on religion, war on Christmas, etc.”
    Did I miss that, I just took a little nap.

  68. Bluebelle- no I’m not at all trying to claim that a GOP candidate wouldn’t use this tactic.

    I think It’s kind of a given that the GOP candidate has some positions that are unpopular with Democrats and left leaning independents, and vice versa for the Dem candidate with Republicans and right of center independents. Wouldn’t you agree?

  69. CS
    Sure– but this is more of an agenda– against women.
    I actually think Romney doesn’t really care one way or the other and is being dragged to the right by the GOP base on this issue. It just seems to be pretty foolish in an election year to hand this to the Democrats, especially since many close elections come down to close women voters.
    My last point is — that I don’t understand why conservatives, who want to cut back on the safety net and cut back on the number of abortions, wouldn’t want to give women every opportunity to get birth control. Closing Planned Parenthood leaves poor women in the lurch– if they can’t get birth control they may have to go on welfare with an unwanted birth.

  70. My respect for your moral stand on any issue depends on the means you use to force me to abide by it. If you use deception to reach your goal (gaslighting), you are being immoral no matter how morally you belive you are behaving.

    The Supreme Court has made the decision that a fetus is not considered a person until separated from the mother at birth. Until that point, the mother’s health and safety, in law, is the primary consideration.

    If you don’t agree with the laws in place, you may try to change them. If you can’t change them, you must abide by them. If you can’t abide by them or try to circumvent them with other laws, my respect for your morals no longer exists.

    If we none of us had to pay taxes for something we feel is immoral, that would be a good thing. It doesn’t work that way; most of us have moral qualms about some things our taxes go for. Your moral certainty is no more valuable or informed than mine.

  71. TO- by that logic, Dred Scott would have never have been reversed.

  72. Though the Dredd Scott decision was never completely overruled, a civil war was fought and a new amendment to the Constitution was passed which overruled a portion of that decision. Some would have the 14th amendment reinterpreted or amended as a solution to what they see as an immigration problem, but it hasn’t happened yet.

    Another civil war or another amendment might do the trick. The laws passed which try to curtail the effects of Roe v Wade are what the author, I think, is calling gaslighting.

    Many laws have been passed including manslaughter charges for the accidental death of a fetus. I believe most of these have been overturned, but I’m not sure since the same efforts keep coming up (gaslighting) and some law somewhere probably has yet to be overturned.

    It is not too great a step from a manslaughter charge in the accidental death of a fetus to “The Handmaid’s Tale”. That would be the logical conclusion of a decision that a fetus has personhood under the law.

  73. CStanley — I’m actually ok with thinking of fetae as living things, even if not really “people” yet. I’m ok with the idea that there is another life involved. What I’m not ok with is you saying that that life means that it’s ok to fully take over the body of another person who is with no doubt a person. Your personal case illustrates very powerfully that having that other life inside can be extremely dangerous to the definitely-a-person woman. Because your fetus was a person to you, and because that fetus was someone you loved, you were willing to take the risk of your own health and life to carry it to term. Again — how can you presume to make that choice for others?

    There are lots of other cases where a person relies on another person’s bodily functions to live — organ donors, for example. However, we as a society don’t even mandate that people have to give up their organs so others can live after the donor is dead, even if the person will definitely die without the dead person’s kidney/heart/liver/etc. Even after they’re dead. We give the dead more bodily autonomy and choice than you are saying we should give to pregnant women.

    My point is not that the fetus at (choose a number) weeks of development is not a person — I don’t know if it is, and neither do you. I don’t know when a “soul” enters, and neither do you. I don’t know when they start to feel pain, and neither do you. I do know that there is another person, who definitely has a soul, who definitely feels pain, and is definitely fully a person in every sense of the word, and that her ability to choose who she shares bodily functions with, who she chooses to donate her organs and bloodstream and birth canal to, is one of her most important rights.

  74. “Why is it that you sidestep the fact that Roe v Wade affirmed that principle at least to some degree?”

    I don’t. Not sure why you think this is a gotcha.

  75. Also, by the way, I notice you’ve completely ignored the other issues here — discrimination in the workplace, for example. Abortion is something that the GOP at least has some support on, and it’s certainly a large component of what some are calling the “war on women”, but it’s also the part of a larger pattern.

  76. Hmmm…comment got eaten. Trying again:

    I do notice, also, CStanley, that you’ve ignored the other issues involved here, like discrimination in the workplace and conscience clauses for Plan B (birth control — NOT abortion). Abortion is something the GOP has some support on, and it’s certainly the main focal piece of what some are calling the “war on women”, but it’s also just a part of a recent pattern of trying to roll back hard-won established women’s rights.

  77. Commenting problem again — comment disappears, then won’t let me re-enter it, because it’s a duplicate. Trying again:

    I do notice, also, CStanley, that you’ve ignored the other issues involved here, like discrimination in the workplace and conscience clauses for Plan B (birth control — NOT abortion). Abortion is something the GOP has some support on, and it’s certainly the main focal piece of what some are calling the “war on women”, but it’s also just a part of a recent pattern of trying to roll back hard-won established women’s rights.

  78. Commenting problem again — comment disappears, then won’t let me re-enter it, because it’s a duplicate.

  79. CS and roro,

    Only skimming, but keep up the good work both of you.

    CS: wish I had time to support you here. It’s lonely work I know.

    Ohioan, good points as usual.

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