As if stamped out of an anti-woman mold, Republican hopefuls Romney, Gingrich, Santorum and Paul all support the cruel and bizarre policy of "personhood," the belief that full legal rights instantly accompany the joining of every sperm and egg.
Voters wishing to see Republican personhood in the process need look no further than Virginia, where the GOP-controlled House just passed HB1, (Marshall-R).
Part of a matched set of two astonishingly cruel legislations, (the other bill literally requires a forced vaginal invasion -- a "transvaginal ultrasound" -- into any woman considering a legal abortion) of which the personhood bill may actually be more destructive.
The transvaginal ultrasound is humiliating, painful, medically unnecessary, and imposed on a woman against her will, like rape with a foreign object --but the personhood law is forever.
Do Virginians really want to criminalize the birth control pill, stem cell research, perhaps even the In Vitro Fertility (IVF) assistance for childless couples -- as well as a woman's right to choose?
Amazingly, this anti-women's rights bill is being offered as -- a traffic safety improvement!
Listen to bill author Bob Marshall (R-Manassas): "The legal effect here is (if) a pregnant woman is driving in an intersection and someone runs into her, she can sue for loss of a child," Marshall said. "...(the bill) has no direct legal effect on abortion or birth control."
Having first denied their bill would affect abortion or birth control, Republicans later revealed their true intent.
Asked if the bill was intended to "lay groundwork for outlawing abortion," the bill's author Marshall responded with the mocking comment:
"You'd have to be completely obtuse to not understand that is something I have worked toward for 20 years... "
Democrat Vivian Watts (D-Fairfax) challenged the bill, essentially saying, if the bill truly won't affect birth control, put that in writing -- add an amendment pledging nothing in the bill shall affect birth control.
But Republicans immediately voted 64-34 not to add this modest amendment.
Even Fox News, normally an apologist for all things Republican, did not buy the "no impact on abortion rights" nonsense, saying:"...Bob Marshall's House Bill 1 would effectively outlaw all Virginia abortions by declaring that the rights of a person apply from the moment sperm and egg unite."
If personhood laws are put into effect, government would literally have the authority to control the reproductive life of every citizen.
Were not Republicans supposed to be in favor of individual liberty?
Why then would they want to remove our right to use birth control? With an estimated 99 percent of all women of reproductive years reportedly having engaged in contraception, it hardly seems possible that Republicans would try to ban something as common as air.
True, Rick Santorum expressed his sentiment that sex with birth control is "not OK because it's a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be."
The other Republican Presidential hopefuls also support personhood, with the allegedly moderate Romney going so far as to say he would "absolutely" sign a personhood Constitutional Amendment.
What do American voters think?
When it reaches the polls, personhood is resoundingly rejected: recently being trashed in Mississippi, and twice defeated by 2-1 margins at the polls of Colorado.
Perhaps realizing the public would never approve such an erosion of freedom, Virginia Republicans are using their majority to make personhood law by themselves. Can they succeed? The GOP controls the House, Gov. Bob McDonnell is a Republican, the Senate is a tie vote -- with Republican Lieut. Gov. Bill Bolling is there for that all-important tie-breaking vote. We need one Republican to say, "Enough of this nonsense," and vote no on personhood.
Personhood is part of Virginia's upcoming Senatorial race as well, with candidates Tim Kaine (D) and George Allen (R) at polar opposites: Republican Allen supports personhood; Democrat Kaine opposes it.
The difference between Republicans and Democrats could not be more clear than in the various facets of the personhood issue.
Democrats support a woman's right to choose; personhood Republicans would revoke those hard-won freedoms.
Democrats support therapies derived from embryonic stem cell research; personhood Republicans want to prohibit it altogether, both public and private.
Democrats support birth control as between a woman, her conscience, and her physician. Personhood Republicans want to ban contraceptives by law.
In a land where freedom reigns, Democrats are clearly the party of personal liberty--and Republican leadership is out of touch with its own constituents.
Follow Don C. Reed on Twitter: www.twitter.com/diverdonreed