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Karl Frisch Headshot

Mitt Romney and the Temple of Womb

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Republicans today are absolutely obsessed with micromanaging women's -- cover your eyes, my right-wing friends -- vaginas.

Had I said that word aloud on the floor of the Michigan state legislature, I would likely have been banned from speaking any further by the Republican Majority just as to Rep. Lisa Brown was in June when she dared to utter the ominous "v" word.

While the GOP may cringe at the word's use, it certainly has no trouble crafting public policy that would tie women's lady bits up with red tape.

Sure, Missouri's Republican U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin made waves this week when he absurdly claimed women are somehow biologically equipped to block pregnancies following instances of what he deemed "legitimate rape," but how far off are his archaic views on women from that of Mitt Romney and the rest of the grand old man's party?

Not very.

In Congress, Akin got an assist with his bizarre machinations concerning rape from none other than Romney's vice presidential running mate Paul Ryan, who co-sponsored legislation with Akin to redefine the definition of rape. Apparently "no means no" was not clear enough.

If Republicans, including Romney, really wanted Akin to abandon his Senate bid as they now insist, should they not be telling Ryan to pack it in and move back to Janesville too?

Truth be told, if the GOP were that consistent, you would be hard pressed to find a Republican on the ballot this fall, especially in the race for the White House.

Both Romney and Ryan support so-called "personhood" amendments that define human life as beginning when a human egg is fertilized. Many on both sides of the abortion debate have roundly criticized such amendments because they could outlaw various forms of birth control, open doctors up to criminal prosecution if an embryo does not survive in vitro fertilization, and subject women who suffer miscarriages to criminal investigations to make certain a "human life" was not murdered.

In Mitt Romney's America, women would not even be able to turn to birth control to prevent unplanned pregnancies. Not only does Romney believe that states should be able to outlaw all forms of birth control, but he and his choice for vice president would cut all government funding for Planned Parenthood, which spent more than one-third of its $11.4 million budget on contraception in 2009 and just 3 percent on abortions.

It seems the Republican standard bearer would prefer women take the advice of Foster Friess, his multi-millionaire super-PAC patron, who said women should use "aspirin for contraceptives" by holding the little pill "between their knees."

If past is prologue, women who do decide to start a family would not fare much better with Romney in the oval office.

As governor of Massachusetts, Romney vetoed funding and asked for deep cuts to child care centers, cut funding that supported mothers at risk of violence in the home, and proposed deep cuts to programs that assist new teenage moms.

When it comes to supporting the rights of women, about the only thing team Romney is willing to offer up are shallow promises to create jobs. With women earning 77 cents on the dollar for the same work as men, you would think Romney would have selected a running mate who supported the Lilly Ledbetter Act, which gave working women additional legal routes to receive equal pay. Paul Ryan opposed the common-sense, bipartisan measure.

Romney and Ryan have taken to describing their ticket as "America's Comeback Team." In a certain sense, I suppose they are right. They will come back for women's choice, women's health and women's pay, and they will not stop until all of the progress made in the fight for women's equality over the past 50 years has been erased.

Karl Frisch is a syndicated columnist and Democratic strategist at Bullfight Strategies in Washington, D.C. He can be reached at KarlFrisch.com. You can also follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, and YouTube, or sign up to receive his columns and updates by email.

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