“There is no war on women,” repeated Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) again and again. That would appear to be the GOP strategy with regard to the “war on women” accusation: Keep repeating that it doesn’t exist.
While it may not be an organized or planned war — there has been a pattern of legislative activity and incidents by Republican lawmakers that focuses on women across the country. The legislative incidents — all in some way restrictive — almost always focus on women’s health and reproductive policies. Here are 10 battles since 2011, so far, in the war on women:
1. February 4, 2011 - Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) introduces H.R. 358, the Protect Life Act. The bill would allow hospitals to reject their Hippocratic oath and let a pregnant woman die die rather than perform an abortion that could save her life.
2. February 15, 2011 - South Dakota State legislator Rep. Phil Jensen (R-Meade) offers legislation to change the the state’s legal definition of justifiable homicide and attempts to add language making it legal to permit homicide if the murder is committed by a person “resisting an attempt to harm” that person’s unborn child.
3. February 16, 2011 - Republicans Paul Smith and Kirby Delauter on the Frederick County Board of County Commissioners in Maryland say they feel it would be a better idea for women to stay home with the kids as they debate and discuss cuts to Head Start.
4. February 18, 2011 - Only a month after taking over control of the U.S. House, Republicans, led by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) vote to cut federal funding to Planned Parenthood. Some 97% of Planned Parenthood’s services focus on contraception, tests and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and cancer screenings. Three percent of Planned Parenthood’s services are related to abortion.
5. February 4, 2012 - Georgia state legislator Rep. Bobby Franklin (R-Marietta) offers legislation to change the legal term for victims of rape and domestic violence from victim to “accuser.” Interestingly, victims of other crimes, such as burglary, would still be called “victims.”
6. February 16, 2012 - House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrel Issa (R-CA) decides to have a hearing on birth control and religion featuring a first panel with five men and no women. Indeed, none of the panelists had ever used “the pill” in their lives. Reps. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) walked out of the hearing in protest after a female panelist was not allowed to testify. “What I want to know is: where are the women?” Maloney asked.
7. February 22, 2012 - Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell decided to back away from legislation introduced by Virginia Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William) requiring women to undergo a medically unnecessary procedure: A transvaginal ultrasound. Marshall’s original legislation was supported by Gov. McDonnell. This was an interesting episode coming from the same Republican party that has argued that government should stay out of health care during all of 2010.
8. February 29, 2012 - Conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh calls Georgetown University Law School student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” because she made a speech in support of mandated insurance coverage for contraception.
9. April 15, 2012 - Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker repeals the state’s 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act and says that lawyers were using the requirement to “clog up the legal system.” The law was enacted to deter employers from paying women less than men.
10. May 7, 2012 - House Republicans continue to have an uncanny knack for cutting programs that effect the lives of women (food stamps, Medicaid…) – especially poor or low income women – disproportionately in favor of protecting services that disproportionately benefit men (military, agriculture subsidies). “Nearly 300,000 school children would lose free school meals and hundreds of thousands could lose their Medicaid or CHIP coverage,” under the latest GOP budget plan reports Think Progress.
LAUREN VICTORIA BURKE, Politic365 Chief Congressional Correspondent, publishes the blog Crewof42 on the Congressional Black Caucus. She is heard every Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET on WMCS 1290 in Milwaukee on Earl Ingram’s show The Evening Rush as well as on WPFW every Friday at 6:30 p.m. in Washington DC. You can e-mail her at LBurke007@gmail.com follow her on twitter at @crewof42.