If you are running for office as a Democrat, you might be tempted to claim the Republicans have engaged in a war on women. That their policies are meant to restrict the freedoms of women or even return this country to the 1800’s (or middle ages depending on how much fear mongering you are willing work with). As a Democratic candidate you will attempt to point out that Republicans are restricting a woman's reproductive rights and moreover trying to prevent women from having equal rights within society. While a quick of review of news headlines would prove you were following the proper Democratic rhetoric; your campaign would be built on a lie.
The truth is women have been handed a choice. The Democrats don’t like choice. Choice implies that the people (or in the case of this blog, women) have the power to make decisions without the government. Ideally, Democrats want people to make the decisions given to them; hence, the government would hold the true power. In Wisconsin, and nation wide, this mythical war on women surrounds a couple pieces of legislation: 1) Contraception 2) Equal Pay 3) Sex Education. Republican action in these areas has created more choice and less government control in effort to return freedom to the people.
In order to accept that Republicans are restricting access to birth control, you must believe that it is the government that provides women with birth control. Why would you have to entertain this premise, because the Republicans in Wisconsin have neither taken birth controls off the market nor have they implemented any regulation as to their use. Instead, they have simple repealed the Contraceptive Equity Law which mandated insurance providers provide contraceptives be covered as prescription drugs. This law tied women and their contraceptives to the whim of both the government and insurance provider. It also forced additional premium cost not only onto all the insured, but also on women who choose not to use contraceptives. If insurance providers wish to include contraceptives as a covered drug; it should be at their own discretion.
While most Democrats will argue that abortion is not contraception, the facts point to mostly health women using abortion to prevent the birth of a child. Either way, the Wisconsin GOP legislature has imposed a mandatory one-on-one visit with a Doctor prior to having an abortion. This ensures that no woman is coerced into having an abortion against her will, giving women the chance to be helped in possibly threatening circumstances. The fear for Democrats is that it might give women the chance to change their mind on abortion. In a recent NY Times article, it was stated that 58% of the country is still against abortion when used in a situation not involving rape, incest or medical complication. That means most Americans are willing to allow only 7% of the abortions (those performed for rape, incest or medical complication) that happen in the country. In the end the Democrat stance that abortion is a societal need has been challenged by the Republicans who wish to allow women to make a informed choice.
The equal pay enforcement act that was repealed by Scott Walker was a redundant law enacted in 2009. Democratic assumption is without this law it will be harder for women to challenge discrimination in the workplace. State Rep. Louis Molepske wrote in an Op-ed piece in the Stevens Point Journal that sums up the Democratic argument. The major evidence has been the reduction in the gender wage gap Wisconsin had in comparison to other states. In 2009 Wisconsin was ranked 37th and in 2010 it rose to 25th. Democrats attempt to use this as proof that Equal Pay Enforcement Act changed the business culture in Wisconsin. A further look into wage gap numbers shows that in 2000 Wisconsin was 20th, in 2001 was 47th, in 2002 was 44th, (2003 report would not load), in 2004 was 38th, in 2005 was 49th, in 2006 was 30th, 2007 it was 21st and in 2008 it was 22nd. Not to bore you with numbers, but it is important to see how the numbers have fluctuated over time and the Equal Pay Enforcement Act was not the reason for a one year change.
The reality is not that Democrats wish to decrease the wage gap, but instead wish to use women as a pawn in the control of business. The state and federal governments already have laws on the books that protect from discrimination. Oddly enough as Rep. Molepske points out, “that no actual cases were brought before a state court after the passage of the 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act”. They assume because business was to scared. More likely the law was just useless.
It is also worth pointing out that the leader of the Democratic Party, Barrack Obama, has not been very diligent in his own attempt to create an equal environment for women. In the 2011 White House annual report it showed that the median income for women was $60,000, while for men it was $71,000. Prior to that Amy Sullivan of Time had written a piece, The White House Boy’s Club, detailing the lack of women present in the Obama White House. I am not willing to state that Obama has a war on women, because these numbers do not detail the merits of his choices; however, there is a sense of hypocrisy.
The Wisconsin legislature recently adjusted the sex education bill that had been passed by the prior administration. It is important to note that this adjustment only required that abstinence be identified as the only way to prevent the risks associated with sex. Beyond that, this bill allows local school boards to work with parents in order to create a sex education curriculum. Unfortunately, the Democrats have taken this opportunity to claim abstinence is a war on women.
Prior to the adjustments, Wisconsin was teaching comprehensive sex education. The theory is that if you provide school kids with all the information about sex, they will make the most informed decision regarding sexual activity. The students will be able to weigh the risks appropriately and make sound mature sexual judgments. In a twisted way, Democrats believe this helps women. Since, women are the only gender to get pregnant, providing the most information about how to safely have sex should work to a women’s favor. Hence, they believe not teaching comprehensive sex education will lead to more pregnancies. As proof they like to point out that teen birth rates have dropped from a high of nearly 97% in 1957 to it lows currently at 34%.
These pregnancy statistics are very misleading and show the dirty side of comprehensive sex education. That it has actually caused more to harm women. In 1960, the birth rate was around 90%, however, the un-wed teen birth rate was only 13.9%. In 2009 the number of unmarried teen births was 94%. There are countless statistics showing that unmarried women have a lower standard of living.
Why is comprehensive sex education to blame? It removes the freedom of personal responsibility. Comprehensive sex education teaches all form of sexual preventions are equal and sex is an instinct that cannot be completely controlled. Prior to this style of education, sexual control was a virtue. We have allowed that virtue to be destroyed. In its place is an amoral sexuality that assumes the consequences of sex are permissible and should be accepted. You don’t need to be responsible with your body because medicine has created easy exits for pregnancy and cures for most STD’s. The repercussions of this are felt the hardest among young women who are raising children outside of marriage. Marriage is no longer the end result of a healthy relationship; it is the outcome of dysfunctional cohabitation stemming from a society where sex is nothing more then animal instinct.
A war does exist, not against women, but for women. While the Republicans are providing more options for women and the freedom to live as they choice, the Deomcrats are using women's issues to deflect attention away from their disastrous economic policy.