Government Takeover of Our Bodies

  • Obama supporters want to relinquish individual choice. Romney supporters stand upon the principles of individual freedom.
  • Republicans want to erase a woman’s right to choose. They seek to deny abortion even in cases of rape, incest, or when a woman’s life or health are at risk. Beware who you vote for! It concerns the well-being of your mothers, sisters, wives, daughters and granddaughters.

Those sentiments come from two letters to the editor, which appeared one after the other.

Which side is for freedom?

Really, it’s a question of whose freedom is at stake.

Paul Ryan loves liberty, he says. But not women’s.

Ryan wants to prevent women from even controlling their own bodies. He backed a “personhood” bill which would have prevented women from using many forms of birth control. Miscarriage could have become grounds for criminal investigation. And abortion would have been banned even for victims of rape and incest. Ryan voted for the Blunt Amendment, which would have given employers control over a woman’s access to contraception. And he co-authored a bill with Todd Akin (victims of “legitimate rape” don’t get pregnant) to narrow the definition of rape to “forcible rape.”

What is non-forcible rape, anyway?

Paul Ryan doesn’t want freedom for women. He wants a government takeover of our bodies.

But he does want freedom for the One Percent. In fact, he seeks to reduce Social Security and Medicare benefits for the middle class in order to give many in the One Percent a 1% tax rate. They will then have the freedom to buy more big homes and big cars and big boats and big vacations. Some Wall Streeters buy gold-filled hamburgers so that they can literally shit gold.

But will Ryan’s budget bring more freedom to the middle-class? The New York Times reported that focus groups found the plan so cruel that they “simply refused to believe any politician would do such a thing.”

Does greater liberty arise when some can no longer afford both food and medicine? Or when they are ill and can’t get medical care? Or when they die? The hungry, sick, and dead don’t have a lot of freedom.

The Hunger Games comes to mind as the rich have their fun while the hungry poor die.

Paul Ryan believes in freedom. For the powerful and privileged. But he’s not so keen on freedom for the rest of us.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych, women's psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State University. And I have blogged for Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos.

Posted on August 31, 2012, in feminism, gender, politics, reproductive rights, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. I can’t get my head around that these morons expect people to vote for them (apart from the 1%, obviously). Though even those in the 1% should question it.
    I’m glad I’m over here in the UK, where I have the right to choose, and have access to any variety of birth control I choose to use. It’s not for someone legislating to decide whether I HAVE to have a baby or not, it’s my choice.

    The Republican party just appear to be regressing back to the days of the puritans, it’s so backwards (looking at it from all the way over here).

    • I am dumbfounded by the regression.

      Europe seems light years ahead of us.

      And even one Republican leader said that one of our parties is crazy… and that it’s the Republican Party (Bruce Bartlett, former Reagan economic adviser). Other Republicans say they can’t recognize their party anymore, Like Jeb Bush.

      It’s a takeover of Southern culture.

    • Pixiemumbles, it looks just as backward looking at it from right here in the middle of it :) What amazes me is that they are getting so many middle class people to agree with them.

      • That would really worry me, I mean, do these people not think about how far reaching the consequences of voting these people in would be?
        I’ll be spending the night watching the results coming in with my bf, despairing at every state which comes up in Romney’s favour (drinking LOTS of coffee, seeing as the last time I managed it I was 17 and struggled sleeping).
        Good luck!

  2. I blogged about the cod concept of ‘Personhood’ the other day. Women’s bodies have always been a site of struggle, because as my heroine says, “Whoever controls reproduction, controls the future…”

    It’s the biggest and most crucial battle for humanity…

    • Meanwhile, some boyfriends and husbands (including Picasso when he was with Françoise Gilot) hoped that babies would keep the women tied to them. Some destroy birth control hoping to keep them dependent. Another reason conservatives, who seek to keep women in “their place,” are so against contraception.

  3. Please explain to me why you feel entitled to promote your far left-wing extremist political viewpoint, especially when your soapbox is one of academia. Isn’t school a vehicle to learn both sides of particular issues (which is NOT what deciphers a Republican or Democrat).

    • Sometimes there are two sides to an issue, sometimes there are five sides, and sometimes there is one side. “Two sides” is a false set-up, so that today we have climate change deniers — scientists funded by Big Oil, that are a false side. (Same thing happened years ago with scientists funded by Big Tobacco.)

      But here I actually do discuss the Republican view on the abortion issue, and then the feminist view, which is my own.

      The fact is, Romney, Ryan, Akin, and many Republicans, INCLUDING THEIR PLATFORM, want to take away women’s freedom to have control over their own bodies.

      Show me evidence that this is not Ryan’s, Romney’s and the Republican Platform’s goal.

      • I believe that Romney and Ryan, both are caring people, not the monsters in which they are portrayed throughout an incumbents most negative campaign in history (which is obviously due to the lack of a successful four years). If we compare Obama to the current Republican ticket, there are some major fundamental differences. Obama spent the last three and half years writing checks which has added $6T to the national debt.

        So, this brings me to your point… going hog wild and running up that kind of debt is only going to leave lots of organizations, groups and individuals disheartened when the party stops, but these are the people who want benefits such as free contraception. Although, I know you’re a strong supporter of this benefit, after Romney/Ryan win the election, don’t get pissed at them when free contraception is no longer a right, but rather, blame Obama since has put us this far into debt.

        In order to bring down the deficit and debt, substantial cuts will need to be made in order for our country to start back to a balanced budget.

        So, I guess you could wave your finger at Romney and Ryan for making blanket cuts to spending in general, and not specifically towards women’s needs.

        Obviously, I am a Republican; but, I am very socially liberal. The reason I’m a Republican is that I fundamentally believe in limiting the power of the federal government, placing more power with the states and adhering to a sound plan to ensure fiscal responsibility.

      • Obama’s deficit came largely because he started recognizing the costs of the wars Bush got us in — costs which Bush had hidden. And if he hadn’t done stimulus spending, we would’ve gone over a cliff. Check this out (the graph is telling):

        Check this out, too: Scientific research on why decent people wind up supporting horrific policies — like the GOP desire to control women’s bodies and support for the Ryan Budget:

        Republicans think if people don’t have money it’s because they’re lazy.

        Dems think that sure, sometimes when people don’t have money it’s because they’re lazy. But often it’s because there’s not an even playing field. That’s what they want to fix.

        Quick example: If a poor child sits in class but can’t read the chalkboard, or a book, because she can’t see, or she can’t focus on her studies because she has a toothache, or she can’t focus because she’s so hungry, then she’s unlikely to learn and eventually graduate. She then becomes a drain on society instead of a contributing member — whether through welfare or crime. It’s cheaper to fund social programs/education that help her to help herself than prisons or welfare. So how does she get proper nutrition or health care? Taxing those blessed with privilege (some kids are lucky enough to have rich parents, or are lucky enough to earn a ton of money from having been born smart…) That can level the playing field a bit.

        If poor women get birth control, you’ll have a lot less abortion, crime, people in prisons. We’ll actually save money by paying for contraception.

        Center-right policy since Reagan is already squeezing the middle-class (which is disappearing) — as opposed to the GI Bill and support for unions which largely created the middle-class in the 50s. And which was funded by taxing the richest. Was that “socialist” time of 1950s America really so bad? If we continue with Reaganism, we’ll be back to the Gilded Age where:

        child labor was a fact of life, men and women were paid pittances for long hours of work and left unprotected from industrial diseases and accidents, and workers too old to be useful to employers any longer were abandoned to starvation or the poorhouse.

        Under Ryan’s budget, the tax rate of many of the richest will be reduced to 1% (no capital gains tax). Middle-class taxes will go up, and their benefits will be decreased.

        We could close the deficit by raising the capital gains tax to the level that those who actually work for a living pay, getting rid of loopholes, etc. Taxes avoided by the rich could pay off the deficit:

        Low taxes on the rich aren’t creating any jobs now. But paying for more teachers, police, firefighters, etc. (which would require more tax revenue [see above]) would give more people money to spend. That creates demand. Then businesses have to hire.

        Generally speaking, I won’t respond to long rants. Generally, I won’t even read them. (And never when the points have little or nothing to do with what I’ve written). I made a rare exception here.

  4. Ohhhh, this struck several nerves with me. Thanks for sharing!

  5. What’s more is finding women who bolster their own subjection. What blows my mind is the legitimization of the structure by articulating ideology through the voices of the very people that it crushes. The GOP breathes with women that hate women, minorities that hate minorities, GBLT that hate GBLT. Then speakers at the RNC emphasize the ‘fact’ (I doubt think they mean the historical/sociological/anthropological facts) that women “keep America going.” Just more rhetorical scraps from the dinner table to keep the subjected oblivious. The American body politic often speaks in subtle whispers. Akin overtly uses language as violence, but the terror lies in the inherent violence of language, a language in which Ryan is very skilled.

  6. elizabeth rankin

    I believe that politicians do not have the right to pass legislation over a woman’s choice when it comes to her body. Why is it we do not see any legislation being passed about men and their choices in what they do? Women who do use contraceptives use them for valid reasons such as to regulate their periods, not get pregnant, and be able to plan a family when they are ready to. If we take away a woman’s right to use contraceptives, we would have a massive growth in the population which can lead to many unforeseen consequences because the government would have to care for more people. These politicians are not looking at the impact of their legislation instead they are trying to impose their religious beliefs on all of us.

    • Elizabeth, I’m not saying I necessarily disagree with you because my most fundamental belief is that the Federal government’s power should be limited and the states should govern their states as they see fit (which is how the framers wrote the Constitution). To play devil’s advocate, why is it illegal to kill ourselves, whether assisted suicide for medical reasons or because someone just has severe enough depression.

      The only way to propose the opposite side of what you believe, and which concurs with Paul Ryan’s belief, is determined when you believe an embryo, fetus, or small baby becomes protected by the laws stipulating murder. If you had a baby with Downs Syndrome and you felt that would not be able to care for that child, would it be okay to kill it? Where do you draw the line?

      • With any luck Elizabeth is subscribed to comments and will give you her two cents. Here’s mine:

        A woman is a person. fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses are not. So no murder takes place. Why should a fertilized egg have more rights than a woman?

        Also, so-called “prolife” leaders seem to be more interested in controlling women’s bodies than concerned with life. Once the baby is born, most don’t care of it dies of starvation. Being on the far right wing the feeling is no food stamps or aid to families with dependent children. And you can’t count on churches to make up the difference. Since the 5yr limit on welfare, poverty has risen and charity has not taken up the slack.

        For more on these points see:

        are you prolife or just want to control women?

      • I’m actually neither. I’m pro-choice, but I definitely believe that a line needs to be clearly defined as to what is considered a reasonably aborted (embryo hopefully) baby as opposed to making a judgement call about any arbitrary reason after the inception of the third trimester. There has to be a line somewhere. In a perfect world, we would see a majority of abortions as a result of a deformity which will give the baby and parents a horrible life, or by rape or some other horrible instance, which would require an abortion.

        Where you and I probably “strongly disagree” is the use of government funding to promote abortion as a means of contraception. More than half of the county is pro-life, so why should they be burdened by having their taxes pay for an abortion?

        As for controlling women, not only is that the last thing I want to do, I think it’s probably one of the last things I COULD do. I have many very close friends that are women, most of whom now have kids, so it’s harder to keep up the relationships we once had, but I certainly don’t look at them or behave any different towards them; in fact, I believe my female friends are more honest and sincere and I value that because men, for the most part, can’t talk about the things women can and do.

      • Actually, your position is not pro-choice, although it is not strictly pro-life either. If you think that an embryo is a person consider this: In order to do stem cell research embryos are destroyed (and the embryos that aren’t used are thrown away in the trash).

        1) Why are no pro-lifers outraged about “people” being thrown in the garbage? Are they really worried about sanctity of life/preserving life?

        2) If you were in a stem cell research lab with a two-year-old and a fire broke out, would you save the child, or would you leave her to die so that you could save thousands of embryos? (Are embryos really the same as people?)

        If you don’t want abortion then support what works to keep it from happening. Making it illegal won’t work. A woman who wants an abortion will get one despite any laws. She will either go to an illegal provider or do it herself. Abortion laws have no effect on abortion rates.

        Abortion laws don’t save lives, they take women’s lives as they die trying to get illegal abortions.

        And you say half the country is pro-life or wants restrictions so shouldn’t we be concerned with their beliefs? 1) why should their beliefs trimph over the other half? 2) The only person who matters is the woman whose life and body is at stake. Especially since anti-abortion laws primarily cause women’s deaths.

        What works is sex education and contraception – which pro-lifers usually also oppose. That’s why you find a strange phenomenon: countries with the strictest abortion laws tend to have the highest abortion rates.

        The government is not interested in using abortion as contraception. On the contrary, the government made birth control free so that women will use that instead of getting abortions – even as “pro-lifers” complained the whole way. If they don’t want abortion used as contraception, then support contraception. Unwanted children cost US citizens way more than the cost of birth control.

        Re “As for controlling women, not only is that the last thing I want to do, I think it’s probably one of the last things I COULD do.”

        Maybe that’s why so many men want to control women’s bodies through reproductive laws – it’s the only way they think they can. (Even though they can’t – other than forcing an ultrasound via vaginal probe.)

        P.S. see this: Abortion, Unintended Pregnancy Rates Significantly Lower Among Women Offered No-Cost Contraception

  7. I have mixed feeling about this topic because i don’t believe in abortion but i do recognize that it is not my place to tell other women what they can or cant do with their bodies. I believe that by making birth control and abortion illegal it will only do more harm because women will just end up trying to miscarry themselves or getting an illegal abortion which will risk the lives of women. Birth control can help decrease your chances of having to face an unwanted pregnancy. However it does sadden me when i know certain females who live as drug users and continue to get pregnant even though they know as soon as they give birth their child goes into foster care. A family member of mine is one of these people and i sometimes think someone needs to make her stop having babies because she already has five children in foster care from different fathers- This is someone who needs Birth control. Again it’s not my place. Everyone has different religions so we should not take this into consideration when we vote. Weather we like it or not, its a choice of an individual.

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