No Comfort For Women In Mitt Romney’s Debate Performance

Paul Ryan was asked during the Vice-Presidential debate if women should worry about the continued ability to have a legal abortion. His answer was basically, yes, women should worry.

During last night’s debate President Obama reminded us that Mitt Romney has pledged that one of his first acts if elected will be to de-fund Planned Parenthood. Mr. Romney said nothing last night to show that either he or Republicans as a whole have changed their continued attack on women’s reproductive freedom. Women need to be very worried.

I remember when abortion was illegal. Every teenage girl I knew was worried about getting pregnant. For the girls who did become pregnant, their lives their dreams their hopes were essentially over if they didn’t do something. And many did.

Until after the Roe v. Wade decision there was no safe legal way to have an abortion in the U.S. and not all the young women or girls who in desperation tried to end their pregnancies survived their attempts. There were some lucky ones of course, but few were left unscarred by the things they swallowed or poked in themselves. The richer girls were sent away – somewhere. Some came back. Some didn’t.

My cousin who was a doctor during those days told me of the many young women who showed up in hospitals with septic “spontaneous miscarriages.” About the fevers and blood and infection that stole their lives or left them unable to bear children.

For those who say well they shouldn’t have had sex then. Just say no. That was not then nor now in fact possible for all girls and women even here in the USA.

Back when safe legal abortion wasn’t there as the final desperate backstop, even for those of us who never became pregnant unexpectedly, the very possibility warped every decision and plan for our lives. What career could a woman really pursue if she had no control over her fertility?

Even nowadays for women who can afford birth control – which doesn’t always work – with the best planning in the world one’s life can still be suddenly turned upside down.

Is this really what we want for ourselves and for our daughters? The fear and constricted lives, the maiming and deaths of young promising women. Do we want to go back to that ugly ugly reality? Remember, no matter how pretty the packaging, if the Republicans win big, we just might.

Author: KAY WOOD

19 Comments

  1. Well said Kaywood. I would have liked a discussion during the debate on supreme court justice picks. I think this would have distilled for the voters where each candidate stands on reproductive health, without the spin.

  2. CStanley, even though you are not pro-choice, you still have a choice to do exactly what you want with your body under the pro-choice view. Under your views, I do not have that same right. Hopefully you can at least agree that the way it was before Roe was not good?

  3. Thanks Kay for reminding people of the dangers women used to face before Roe vs Wade. Republcans take a pretty condescending attitude toward women in general and specifically when it comes to reproductive rights. It’s about control and harkens back to less civilized times. I think your title is quite appropriate btw.

  4. Excellent point roro, and this hits to the core of my issues with the GOP on so many topics. They want to reduce choice. Moreover, they seem to take it as oppressive to themselves whenever they are not allowed to essentially oppress other people with their views. They say liberals are trying to destroy conservative values. Really? If the liberals have their way, here is how your life changes with regards to hot topic social issues like abortions and gay marriage. Not at all. That’s how your life is affected. You don’t want an abortion, don’t get one. You don’t want to be gay married, don’t marry a dude. Its just that simple. Liberals aren’t going to be making those choices for you, unlike how conservatives want, which is to make choices, very very personal ones that affect your entire life, for you. Its just wrong.

  5. And furthermore, if anyone is at all unclear on exactly where the GOP stands on women’s issues, I pity them. They have been VERY clear. Nothing Romney said in last night’s debate or any debate could change that without blatantly lying. They are against women getting to choose, period, end sentence. At this point the GOP is merely on the fence about whether women get to have an abortion if it will save their life. Seriously, that’s where they stand and have discussions about. Its truly mind boggling.

  6. … the GOP on so many topics. They want to reduce choice.
    .
    [...]
    .
    Moreover, they seem to take it as oppressive to themselves whenever they are not allowed to essentially oppress other people with their views. They say liberals are trying to destroy conservative values. Really? If the liberals have their way, here is how your life changes with regards to hot topic social issues like abortions and gay marriage. Not at all.

    Excellent comment slamfu… Excellent unfortunately the CStanley’s of the world seem to believe that it’s their right (duty?) to tell others how to live their lives.

  7. Thanks Kay… I too remember those days from rural America. On any given year in High School a half dozen girls would be forced to drop out of school due to pregnancy… this was a class less than 55…

    Thanks roro… well stated and oh so true….

  8. That’s a false dichotomy, roro, to say that I have to either choose to go back to everything that was wrong prior to Roe v. Wade or accept all that has come after it.

  9. Yes, that’s true. Given that you were the one who complained about the article lumping together all women as pro choice, when what was primarily discussed in the article was the pre-Roe horrors for women, that false dichotomy was precisely what I was trying to point out when I asked if we could at least agree that pre-Roe times were not good.

  10. I certainly agree that girls or women facing unintended pregnancies and feeling that their only option is to self induce an abortion or seek one in a back alley is bad, without agreeing that the solution is to legalize the killing of fetuses by medical professionals, if that is what you are getting at roro.

  11. I’m curious if you have a better solution, I suppose, but that may not be considered on-topic.

  12. A young woman i will long remember from pre Roe….

    When i was in H.S. was friends with a young woman in Community College that became pregnant…This was just prior to Roe. There were a few States such as Nevada that allowed abortions but abortions where not allowed in Texas…

    This young woman went to a local attorney to ask about options..She was without resources or knowledge as to whether she had options other than dropping out of school and living the small town rural life of a unwed mother…

    The attorney took great compassion.. gave her the information she needed and proceeded to pull out his check book and write her the amount that would allow her to travel to Vegas to get the abortion…

    This was back when telephone companies used operators to connect long distant calls… Her mother was an operator and just happened to pick up the call of when her daughter was making plan for a friend to pick her up at the airport…

    The mother met the daughter post abortion at the airport…. withdrew her from college… and five years later after i had finished a college degree the young woman was working at Dairy Queen….

    I so align with Choice… with deepest heart i pray that choice will be for life, but a woman’s body is her choice…

  13. Wrote a post that didn’t show up….so if this ends up being a duplicate I apologize.

    @roro- i do think we’d get off topic and I may not have time to finish the conversation- I am home with my sick toddler who may awaken from her nap at any time now.)

    Just wanted to say though that some moral issues are absolute enough that even if a decision would ameliorate the suffering of some, it does not IMO make it morally or ethically acceptable to take those actions.

  14. Like OS, I’m personally pro-life, but I support Roe-v-Wade and the right to let women make the choice for themselves.

  15. There is a clear cut difference for people who are pro choice in this election, there should be no doubt about that. However it does seem a bit disingenuous to frame it as an issue for all women when poll after poll show women are more pro life as choice and currently there is a small majority in the US of people who would classify themselves as pro life. Heck fully 1/3 of people who think of themselves as democrats are call themselves pro life. Now that does not mean that everyone who thinks of themselves that way want to outlaw abortions in every case. In fact only about 1/4 americans want that. Surprisingly enough only 1/4 think abortions should be legal in all circumstances. Most people see a lot of gray in the issue so to call it anti women seems ….. out of touch with the public beliefs.

  16. Well it is an issue that affects all women, regardless of where they stand on it. Makes rules about this is making a very critical decision for women, all of them. Just because its a decision they might have gone with anyways, doesn’t mean that is the same thing has allowing them to decide in the first place.

  17. Geeze, I hate to point this out again, but everyone is pro-life. Nobody is pro-death. Not everyone however believes it is the business of government (or anyone else) to dictate what women do with their own bodies. So simple! So-called pro-lifers are really people who want to control other people and make choices for other people. Yes, it is truly that messed up.

  18. First off let me state that I am pro choice and agree with all above.

    Secondly, let me add some fuel to the fire on Romney and women. Romney may have lied about going out and seeking qualified women for his Mass. administration when he won the governorship. It may be that some women’s organizations sought him out instead.

  19. Zephyr, completely agreed. I was about to the make the point that it’s possible to be Pro-Life and Pro-Choice. Personally, as a Catholic, I’d prefer never to have an abortion, but it’s not my place to force other people to share that perspective. I’m not evangelical, by nature – which is, admittedly, not the position of my Church – so I don’t believe in forcing my views on others. I recognize that there is a hodge-podge of belief-systems in our country.

    I have no hang-ups about federal or state funding going to pay for abortions. As callous as it sounds, I’d much rather pay for the procedure than the 18 years of life of an unwanted child in a bad situation. It’s often silly to me that the Pro-Lifers are in bed with the fiscal hawks and the folks who scream about the “tyranny” and lack of freedom under our current administration. [It comes across as: "Don't tell me what to do! But, I'll tell YOU what to do."]

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