As shocking as it was, Rep. Todd Akin’s recent comment about women, rape, and pregnancy was a gift to Democrats. In the days after Ryan joined the Romney ticket and a week before the GOP national convention, it blew the Romney/Ryan campaign completely out of the headlines. It reminded voters that Ryan and Akin were co-signers of an onerous anti-abortion bill. It spotlighted the hypocrisy of GOP candidates who flip-flop on the abortion issue and claim they would allow abortions in the case of rape or incest while their party platform supports a blanket ban on abortion. It threw the national Republican party into a mad scramble to disavow Akin and try desperately to get him to withdraw his Senate bid (he did not) because he could scuttle the GOP’s hope of taking control of the Senate in November. And as much as the GOP has wanted to focus on the economy, Akin’s words have put the spotlight squarely on women’s abortion rights. Thank you, Todd Akin.
I left the Republicans years ago over this issue. More accurately, the party left me. My dad was a lifelong Republican and also an ob/gyn and co-founder of the Planned Parenthood chapter in our city. He saw no conflict whatsoever between being a Republican and being a compassionate human being who treated and educated lower income women about their health and reproduction options. I’m sure he could never have imagined what the GOP has become today.
It’s beyond my comprehension that any woman would vote Republican these days and deliberately deny any other woman the right to make her own decisions about her own body. Pro-choice is not and never has been “pro-abortion.” It simply means each of us can make our own decisions. And that’s as it should be.
We were women before we were born, before we were voters, before we were Republicans, Democrats, or independents. We were women before we were educated, before we chose a religion, before we were married or chose careers or life paths. We were women before the economy crashed and we’ll be women after it recovers. Control of our bodies and the right to make our own medical decisions is a far more immediate, fundamental, everyday concern than the economy or any other national issue.
It wasn’t our choice; we were born women. We were blessed, or cursed, with the ability to bear children, but we were not born with an obligation to bear children against our will and be parents for the rest of our lives.
Say what you will about the economy, Washington, jobs, Medicare, or Social Security.
We were women first.