Recognizing Women's History Month, New Deal 2.0 tells the surprising story of how women became citizens -- and how their economic lives have evolved along with their rights. Lynn Parramore writes a letter to the GOP asking why it has made her body a battleground.
You've expressed a lot of interest in my body lately. So I thought I should respond.
I mean, every time I turn on the TV, you're at it again. You're talking about ways to block my access to PAP smears, breast exams, and other things that I need to stay healthy. And you focus an awful lot on what I should do if I get pregnant unexpectedly, kind of like you were my spiritual adviser. I was busy trying to figure out how to deal with a rotten economy (you should see my bank account), but you keep obsessing over my body. What's up with that? Even some of your own people can't figure out why you want to take health care away from me and millions of other women by defunding Planned Parenthood.
Call me crazy, but I don't really think you have any business putting your mitts on my body. You are all the time saying that we should have more limited government. Don't you see any contradiction in telling me what to do with my body, which is the only thing I can truly call my own? You toss the word "freedom" around like it was your favorite idea -- something sacred to Americans. But how can I be free if I can't make choices about my life and my family without your political operatives turning my body into a battleground?
If I want somebody's opinion about what I should do with my body, maybe you think I should ask a "family values" Republican like Senator David Vitter. Frankly, he seems kind of confused about women's bodies. He likes to touch the bodies of prostitutes, but if one of them got pregnant in the course of doing her job, he would deny her the right to have an abortion. Or would he? I kinda think that if Senator Vitter's life were going to be affected in a major way, he'd change his tune. But he wants to get his hands on my body, because if I have a child he doesn't have to pay anything for it. That's how it goes, right?
I think you know very well that when you restrict access to abortion, you demean me and force me to get procedures done later in the pregnancy if I have no money. You know that you aren't really stopping abortion, but making it more dangerous and expensive. That's a pretty cynical way to score political points.
Let me tell you something. Women like me are on the edge. Even in a rosy economy, we have a hell of a time juggling family and work. How about doing something that actually helps us? In case you hadn't noticed, 15.7 percent of Americans are living in poverty, and placing obstacles in the way of women trying to plan the number of children they have will push millions more over the cliff. Is that really what you want? Maybe what you really want is to pit men and women against each other. Well, that's not going to work, because we know that we're in this together.
You say that you want to cut things like Planned Parenthood funding because of the economy. Really? Did you ever read about Herbert Hoover? If you did, you might see that your misguided austerity stifles recovery. Could it be that you actually want the economy to be weaker for some of us? Maybe if you think I'm poor enough, you can use me to clean up after you and pay me a pittance. I don't even want to think about that one.
But I have a hunch about what you're most eager to use my body for. You want to score points with Evangelical Christians in places like Iowa, so that you can win primary elections. You want to turn religious beliefs into political weapons aimed at my uterus. That's kind of sick, no?
I take no pleasure in telling you this, but your vision for American women looks like something out of Apocalypse Now. Seriously -- restricting access to abortion and family planning, trying to redefine rape and cutting funds for low-income women and children sounds like a plan to push us into a new Dark Age.
Maybe you should spend less time placing restrictions on my body, and more time policing Wall Street criminals?
I'm just sayin'.
This post originally appeared on New Deal 2.0.