Reviews | Republicans must answer tough questions about women’s lives

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In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down abortion rights, we know three things: 1) The decision is hugely unpopular; 2) banning abortion will have disastrous consequences for women; and 3) Republicans have no say in No. 2.

Recent polls on the issue are about as decisive as you can find in politics. NPR reports on its investigation with PBS NewsHour and Marist: “Majority of Americans say they disagree with Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wadebelieve it was politically motivated, fear the court will now reconsider decisions that protect other rights, and are more likely to vote this fall for a candidate who would restore abortion rights.

The poll shows that 56% oppose the decision, while only 40% support it. Two groups critical to the success of Democrats — women and college graduates — oppose the decision by even wider margins. A CNN poll after the opinion leak also showed 66% disapproval, and a CBS News-YouGov poll released on Sunday showed 59% oppose the decision.

These polls do not yet reflect a widespread understanding of the implications of a reversal deer. Imagine the answer if pollsters asked these questions instead: Would you force a teenage rape victim to give birth? Would you force a pregnant woman with cancer to forego chemotherapy because the treatment might terminate her pregnancy? Certainly, the supporters of abortion in these cases would be even more numerous.

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Republicans must now defend their decades-long quest to criminalize abortion. They should explain why rape, incest and protection of the mother’s health are not “sufficient” reasons for intervention. It might be harder than they thought, as Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (right) demonstrated on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” show on Sunday:

NBC Host Chuck Todd: So if a 13-year-old girl in Arkansas is raped by a parent, that 13-year-old girl can’t get an abortion in Arkansas. Are you comfortable with that?

Hutchinson: I’m not – I would have preferred a different result than that. But that’s not today’s debate in Arkansas. It may be in the future. But so far, the law has kicked in with only one exception. While you can debate whether there should be additional exceptions, each state will make a different decision on this under our Constitution. And that will continue to be discussed. But at this particular point, the only exception in Arkansas is to save the mother’s life.

So, effectively, his response is, sorry, but nothing can be done for the 13-year-old. For now, he’s willing to let the power of his condition traumatize this child.

Hutchinson’s lack of clarity and direction is also staggering. Pressed on whether ‘morning after’ pills such as Plan B are now illegal, he could only say they ‘shouldn’t’ be a problem. So women are supposed to guess?

Todd: whatever you think deer, this decision never forced anyone to do something they didn’t want to do. This decision will now force a woman to carry a pregnancy that she may not have wanted. Does it make you feel uncomfortable, that we know – you’re forcing someone to do something they don’t want to do? deer didn’t do that. This decision does.

Huchinson: Well, no, I think that’s a very fitting decision. Obviously when you look at government and the power of government to force someone to carry a child to term, you have to think about that. And lawmakers are thinking about it.

“Forcing someone to carry a child to term.” Hutchinson’s gleeful attitude toward policies that will wreak havoc on women’s lives encapsulates the utter lack of respect for women’s autonomy and personality that is so pervasive among Republicans. It seems as far as Hutchinson is concerned, the 13-year-old rape victim is nothing more than a vessel.

Democratic gubernatorial candidates, such as Georgia’s Stacey Abrams and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, have been out there arguing that the government shouldn’t be the one making these decisions and that Republicans are putting women’s lives in danger. Abrams made it clear during an appearance on CNN that only one party is focused on the needs and interests of women:

As a pro-choice and proudly pro-choice person, I believe we need leaders right now who are ready to stand up for who we are and stand up for the women in our care. We must be deeply concerned about what is happening to our LGBTQ community, people of color, especially black women, who face the highest maternal mortality rates in the country. …

We know that Brian Kemp has shown he doesn’t care about Georgian women, Georgian families, except when it’s politically convenient. And so I believe this is a clear distinction between us, and I encourage every Georgian to pay attention to it.

Republicans are now in the uncomfortable position of defending their indifference to women. The problem is even more acute in states with high maternal mortality rates for women of color. And while the lack of child support, daycare and medical care for children aren’t the only reasons for opposing forced births, the dismal lack of services in red states now under bans on Abortion should emphasize that it is not about protecting a child’s life.

It’s a political issue that has gone from abstract to very real, very quickly. If voters who oppose forced birth turn out in large numbers midterm, Republicans may begin to wonder if the pledge to end deer was politically more beneficial than reality. Now everyone can see what they think of women.

About Therese Williams

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