George Orwell exposed “the spin.” He showed that powerful groups can twist words or ideas to benefit themselves and not the general public. Twisted words and ideas prohibit thinking, especially when we think about women.
Former Arkansas governor and presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee has the spin. Huckabee suggests that women should control their own libidos so that they won’t need birth control or abortion (Washington Post, Jan. 14).
Libidos or not, women are often forced into sex, or even raped.
However, according to Cecile Richards (CNN), Huckabee’s inane remarks are not really the problem. Richards asserts that “too many other politicians believe Huckabee’s lies, and it’s the policies they would advance if they have the chance that are the problem.” Huckabee, and politicians like him, believe that “Uncle Sugar” ( the government in Huckabee’s phrasing) should not have to come in to save women by providing prescriptions for birth control. Richards believes that politicians have decided to laser in on birth control because it is a method primarily used by women.
Using Huckabee’s, and other conservative politicians,’ logic, so-called irresponsible women would also not need abortions. In these politicians’ interpretation, women should not use birth control provided by insurance plans, and they should not have abortions.
How can women stop pregnancy (their libidos and that of their male counterparts) if all methods of birth control are unavailable or illegal? Are we really moving back to the 1950s?
At least half of all women will experience an unintended pregnancy by age 45. Even 53 percent of Christian women believe they should be able to control their own bodies, and 99 percent of all women in religious groups have used birth control (Guttmacher.Org). No matter what the stated facade is, religious women, in all classes, want to have control over their own bodies. Women want to have the choice over if, and when, they have a child.
However, the myths from pro-life and fundamentalist political groups abound: Pro-lifers and some politicians claim that many women use abortion as a method of birth control. This thinking is silly and untrue. Most women who have had an abortion do not have another one.
Also, if a woman does not use birth control, typically she could get pregnant 2-3 times per year – 30 or more times during her lifetime (Public Health Watch). This idea is crazy.
Many abortion opponents, even in the case of rape or the mortal threat to a woman’s life, suggest, with no legal or medical evidence, that abortion is murder. In 1973 the Supreme Court ruled that a fetus is not a person. Medically, a fetus is not a person unless the zygote, the beginning collection of cells, can develop far enough to live outside the women’s body (Public Heath Watch). We calculate a child’s birthday after birth, not at the moment of conception.
Financially, women still earn only 77 percent of the dollar men make, and they hold three-fourths of the low-wage jobs, despite the fact that they are only 47 percent of the workforce. Many believe that these low-wage jobs are for teenagers.
The truth is that “jobs that pay less than $10.10 are usually held by adult child care workers, home health aides, maids and housekeepers, personal care aides, waiters, food prep workers, bartenders and those that package food by hand” (Progress, March 1).
President Obama, whose policies better support women, and who some right-wingers would impeach, has called for a White House Equal Pay date for 2014. “I call upon the people of the United States to celebrate the achievements of (women) and promote gender equality” (CNN, Jan. 24). His recent appointments, Judges Patricia Millet and Nina Pillard, have been confirmed to the U.S. court.
Nevertheless, women still have a way to go.
The spin, Huckabee, politicians like him and religious groups are attempting to convince women that they should not have the care and wisdom of their own bodies and minds. Thankfully, this crude thinking is being debunked by those who support women.
The president, who “wants the federal courts to look like America” (Washington Wire), has been increasing the number of women in government as well as the numbers of other under-represented groups.
Girls are being taught that careers in math and science, previously male-dominated fields, will help them rise on the economic ladder. Previously, girls were excluded from many professions.
The National Organization for Women has a membership of 500,000, not only women, but all genders.
We do not believe the spins of those with power who want women to be victims. Women and minority groups should have affordable health care, without unreasonable costs.
Last month, the courts heard arguments that would allow for-profit companies with a religious objection to deny contraceptive insurance coverage for women. Obviously, some employers and religious groups would like to weaken women’s health care.
We must fight against these forces, these lies, these spins that will remove individual choice from the hands of women and give it to those who would dictate women’s lives.
Pro-choice is not anti-life. Pro-choice is pro-life.
Debra Taczanowsky of Richland Township is president of the Johnstown chapter, National Organization of Women.