by Pamela Powers Hannley
With the Republican Congress and the state legislatures (including Arizona's) passing anti-woman laws that ranged from the absurd to the vindictive, I can't understand why any woman in the US would vote Republican in this election.
The impressive War on Women backlash may be one reason why most campaigning Republicans--except Todd "legitimate rape" Akin--are trying to forget anti-woman maddess that swept through their party in the spring. (After all, they don't want to lose all of the women's vote.)
None the less, the War on Women and the assault on women's reproductive rights continue-- at least in the religious right wing of the Republican Party.
The Democratic Party's platform includes strong pro-choice language. Consequently, at the recent Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, a small band of anti-abortion protesters demonstrated in front of the convention center daily. Mostly, the demonstrators were old white men (surprise, surprise), but on one particular day a handful of young women joined them (to lend some credibility?).
You might say that "the devil made me do it," but with video rolling, I engaged one of the protesters in a heated, street-level debate about abortion, choice, access to contraception, sex education, "legitimate rape", fetus personhood, the morning after pill, and forcing underage girls to have a rapist's baby.
Surprisingly, we found some consensus. We both believe...
- Abortion is a very difficult choice.
- Abortion should be a last resort, not a routine birth control method.
- Rape is rape, and there's no such thing as protection from pregnancy when a woman is raped.
- Abstinence only education is "unrealistic." Contraception and sex education should be provided to young girls in order to prevent unwanted pregnancy. She didn't want the contraception to be free, but she was somewhat more enlightened and reasonable than most Congressmen.
- Vaginal ultrasound should be an option, if the woman wants one. (On the tape, she seems incredulous when I tell her about some of the legislation that has passed.)
Of course, the big differences between us were that:
- I believe every woman should have the right to choose, and she wants the government to dictate what citizens do;
- She believes that a fetus is a person from the moment of contraception, and I don't. She also believes that "right to life" doesn't apply to "criminals". (So, the death penalty is OK, but not abortion.)
What I came away with is that much of the anti-woman legislation passed by Arizona and other states is too extreme even for a deeply religious woman who is vehemently opposed to abortion.
Watch the video after the jump.