Playing Hunger Games With Women’s Rights

Playing Hunger Games With Women’s Rights


Without fail, election year has once again revealed more about Americans than any other facet of our lives. Multiple political opinions, hot topics, and juicy sound bites abound have left us watching people in their utter humanity as November gets closer. And like most people’s NCAA brackets, my election issue bracket has gone to hell. If you had asked me this time last year, I would have said that the presidential debates would focus almost exclusively on the economy, perhaps deviating towards troop withdrawals and energy alternatives (the latter being contingent on a natural disaster occurring and rehashing GOP denial of global warming). Yet this election has somehow taken on a prehistoric theme, with women’s rights vaulting into the spotlight. This brings me to the state of affairs of the Republican Party, a mess more convoluted than my law school classes.

In the last month, right-wingers have alarmingly come out against renewing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), prenatal healthcare, and birth control access. The latter probably shouldn’t surprise people because of how freedom of choice was judicially decided without the religious stamp of approval. But opposition to VAWA and prenatal health screening? Nothing short of a shock during a time when I find myself saying, “well it can’t get worse than that,” only for a new low to be reached the following week. Since I don’t know how to dissect Republican banter in a blog-friendly manner, perhaps the best place to start is by addressing where the conversation seems to be going. Quite frankly, it doesn’t look good.

Roe v. Wade was decided almost forty years ago, yet recent debates have shown its polarization continues, and status as a landmark case is a fragile one. The same party that nearly staged a coup against Planned Parenthood managed to again get traction on slamming access to contraception. But the more frightening coup was the all-male medical panel getting the copyright on congressional testimony regarding women’s healthcare issues. This all took place in the midst of support for what can be characterized as none other than “shaming” legislation in Virginia and Ohio with pre-abortion ultrasounds. For me, none of this is surprising given how Church and State seem to mix more often than they’re supposed to (as in they shouldn’t at all but somehow do). And just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, this same party now has elements coming out against VAWA, a once bi-partisan no-brainer that will be the latest in the long line of legislation Republicans insist on debating again.

The short of it is “concern” with funding being increased to create new definitions of immigrant victims claiming battery. This “concern” extends to protection from domestic violence being expanded to include same-sex couples. My favorite “concern” is the Act is used as “a slush fund” for “feminist coffers” and the promotion of divorce. Far be it for me to come out against marital bliss, but shouldn’t an escape hatch for someone in an abusive relationship be more important than keeping the marriage going? Or is the party line that marriage should be protected at all costs, literally?

As unfortunate as it sounds, there just doesn’t seem to be much evolution on these election issues. Maybe that should be expected since an improving economy and the absence of two wars means people have to grasp for straws against Obama. As always, the right will rely on keeping government small and taxes low, but the latter can now only be the rallying cry of the one percent. Thus, issues get made out of already settled issues, like affirmative action. And in an election year where not even the Muppets were safe, I need to send a subtle reminder to those of my ilk: Obama does not have this election in the bag.

Current dynamics of the Supreme Court leave freedom of choice one Scalia opinion away from extinction. As the right is in the mood to revisit cases that were already closed, affirmative action is again on the Supreme Court docket, joined by newcomers such as Obamacare, and the Arizona immigration law. Although alarming (but again not surprising) the fact that affirmative action is back under the microscope can only be attributed to the same backwards thinking that now has Republicans debating reenactment of VAWA and the merits of prenatal screening. And unfortunately, Supreme Court dynamics do not in any way make it a safe bet for these cases being decided the “Obama way.”

So the moral of the story is I’m joining the Bill Maher bandwagon. Not financially, because I don’t have a cool million to nonchalantly donate to Barack. Rather, I’m subscribing to Bill Maher’s line of thinking that whatever resources I do have for electoral purposes are going to Obama, this blog post included. Simply stated, a country run for the next four years by anyone supporting debate of the issues mentioned above, the Muppets included, is not in America’s best interest.


  1. Mateo,
    Excellent work as usual. If you ask the people who share the Latino dream about women rights issues, se habla "Claro que si!" Los republicans are morally bankrupting the country so many of us dreamed to see. Esperando que this is only for now. Sometimes I think back to mi Mama o sobre mi hija. Don't these people love their own gente? Para la victoria, necesitamos true leaders…ahora mismo!! Y simpre, hasta la victoria siempre.

  2. "Women's rights"?….. "Animal rights"?….. "Gay rights"? Are these enumerated in the Constitution somewhere … or just made up as we go along?

    How about "grasshopper rights"? Or "can opener rights"? Where does this nonsense end?