Until recently, millions of young adult women had never imagined a life without rights to their own bodies. They inherited the reproductive freedoms their predecessors fought for, rights that are at stake with the escalating reproductive warfare led by the GOP. Many are beginning to question whose interests the candidates truly represent.
Recently many conservative legislatures and all 2012 republican presidential candidates have made efforts to drastically restrict women’s access to reproductive health services, including our most controversial right, to have an abortion. While the issue of abortion is controversial due to differences in people’s personal beliefs, anti-abortion, advocates claim a righteous obligation to bypass the different beliefs of others in order to legally prohibit abortions for all who choose to have one.
Republican candidate, Rick Santorum detailed his strict anti-abortion stance to prohibit survivors of rape and incest from getting abortions. Instead, he commented, all impregnated rape victims should, “Make the best out of a bad situation,” an outrageously reductionist approach to the issue that downplays the ability of women to make the best possible decisions for their own lives.
All four GOP candidates also plan to limit, and eventually reverse Roe v. Wade if elected to office. In fact, three of the candidates signed the “pro-life pledge,” committing to appoint only “pro-life” officials to the Supreme Court and related cabinet and executive branch positions, for example, National Institute of Health, to assist in taking down our reproductive freedoms.
All candidates also seek to stop federal funding for Planned Parenthood, our largest provider of low-cost sexual and reproductive health services, as abortions are among the many services they offer. However, these candidates know that Planned Parenthood cannot direct such funds toward abortion services. Moreover, if the candidates seek a major decrease in abortions why would they contest insurance coverage of birth control, something that women who can afford it use religiously to prevent unwanted pregnancies? Access to contraception should not be a privilege, nor predetermined by religious affiliation! Similarly, why would Newt Gingrich elect to eliminate Title X, a family planning program that provides more than five million people access to low-cost contraceptives, supplies and educational materials? These hard-fast, radical positions are not in the best interest of the everyday people, from all walks of life, demanding these services. So, whose interests do they represent?
University of Pennsylvania