Whose War on Women?

Anyone who follows the American election has heard about the alleged “war on women.” And unfortunately, there is indeed a war on women, but it’s not being waged by the Republicans in America as President Obama would like the world to believe.

Not only are the Obama campaign’s hyperbolic accusations against the Republicans untrue, but they are also irrelevant and disrespectful to women within the United States, as well as women in other areas of the world who truly are entangled in the war on women.

Birth control, abortion, rape, and equal pay are all issues that Democrats have claimed the Republicans and Mitt Romney are using to wage a “war on women.” However, the fact that Republicans don’t believe that the federal government should be paying for birth control or forcing people to behave contrary to their religion by supplying birth control does not constitute a war on women, or on anyone else for that matter, with the possible exception of infantilized feminists who can’t figure out how to purchase their own contraception (which, by the way, is provided free or at very low cost in many states anyway).

Yes, the Republicans may be guilty of a war on Sandra Fluke, but that’s not a war on women – that’s just a war on ludicrous attempts to soak the taxpayers.

Likewise, despite some very poorly worded comments about rape and the tragedy surrounding it — it is simply dishonest to imply that Republicans support rape or don’t want the most severe punishments for rapists. In fact, Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia who has borne much of the criticism for the “war on women,” has gone out of his way to increase penalties for violent sex offenders.

Clearly, it’s just nonsense to imply that anyone is somehow advocating for more rape, and the issue is nothing but a smokescreen for a campaign that can’t defend much of anything that has been “accomplished” in the past four years.

As for equal pay, the claim that there is discrimination against women through income inequality has been repeatedly disproven (read more here). And seeing as how the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in fact did nothing to truly advance equal pay, only extending the statute of limitations for those whose rights are violated, the mischaracterization of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as anti-woman for Ryan’s vote against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is absurd.

And lastly, abortion. Abortion has always been an emotionally charged issue in the United States. As is well documented, the Republican party believes that a fetus is a human life and thus they oppose abortion. That being said, calling Republicans anti-women for their beliefs about abortion is no different from a Republican calling Democrats baby-killers for their pro-choice views. Both are exaggerated, emotionally charged insults meant to delegitimize a legitimate argument. Regardless of how one feels about abortion, it isn’t really relevant to this election in the least bit.

It is next to impossible to overturn Roe v. Wade. Even if Mitt Romney were to win and appoint two ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justices who have made it their life’s ambition to ban abortions nationwide (which would be judicial activism and wouldn’t be popular with Conservatives in the first place), it’s highly unlikely they could overturn Roe v. Wade. But for sake of argument, let’s say Roe v. Wade is miraculously overturned — Abortion still isn’t illegal. The overturning of Roe v. Wade does nothing but leave the issue of abortion up to the states.

In other words – nothing is really going to change when it comes to abortion. It is not an issue – it is another smokescreen meant to deflect criticism of Obama’s own failed policies on a wide spectrum of real issues.

The United States has a 16 trillion dollar deficit, an almost nuclear Iran, 7.8% unemployment, gas prices over a dollar higher than four years ago, 46% more people on welfare since Obama took office (and a higher percentage of women in poverty),  an Ambassador and consular staff who were murdered in a terrorist attack while the President of the United States and his administration lied about it, and yet you’re concerned about abortion?

But by far, the most offensive component of this war on women rhetoric is that it’s incredibly disrespectful to both women in America, and women who are trapped in corrupt oppressive regimes.

What about the women suffering under barbaric Islamic regimes like in Saudi Arabia and Iran? What about the Taliban, who doesn’t allow girls to be educated and brutally beats and even kills women for going to school? What about women, sometimes girls, who are stoned for being raped? What about women who aren’t allowed to leave their homes without their husband or brothers? What about women who aren’t allowed to work at all (much less be paid equally)? These are examples of the war on women. Not failing to pony up for free birth control pills.

Obama’s tactics have included plenty of offensive-to-any-thinking-women tactics (one might even say he’s used a binder full of them). Consider Lena Dunham’s nauseating “Your First Time” ad (comparing voting for Obama to losing your virginity), The Life of Julia (the now-infamous cradle-to-grave entitlement tale), and e-cards that claim birth control costs $18,000 (which one’s parents are expected to pay for if Uncle Sam does not). All this does not make for a Republican war on women. It makes for a Democratic war on common sense.

It is the Democrats who cannot accept that women are, or ever will be, more than sexual objects who vote with their “lady-parts.” The audacious assumption that women care more about birth control and abortion than they do about finding a job, the economic health of their families, and the security of our nation – in other words, that we are somehow not real normal people like the rest of the United States – is both astoundingly condescending and rather the definition of sexism.


About the Author
Emily Schrader is a writer and political consultant originally from Los Angeles, California. She made aliyah in 2015 and works for a nonprofit organization in Jerusalem. Emily has a BA from the University of Southern California and MA from Tel Aviv University. She has previously written for many different publications including The Weekly Standard, The Jerusalem Post, and more.