While a direct attack on the Fourteenth Amendment is fraught with unintended consequences, anti-choice activists have shrewdly chosen to broaden their efforts against health needs for women in open disdain.
How hard is it to say that women who advocate for insurance coverage for contraceptives should be heard and shouldn't be called prostitutes for stating their position on the topic? Is it really worth compromising basic decency to stay in the good graces of Rush Limbaugh?
No woman, regardless of political party, is going to stand for anyone calling her daughters or her friends sluts. And we sure don't like politicians who won't stand up to bullies who try to smear the good names of the girls and women in our lives.
If all we get out of the latest Limbaugh firestorm is that it is not appropriate to call women sluts, prostitutes, or any of the other pejoratives commonly heaped on women, then we are missing the larger point: women suffer when their reproductive health and rights are abridged.
Consistency, it is said, is the mark of a true champion. Utter lack of consistency, therefore, must indicate something else entirely. I'll be kind and call it: nincompoopery. When it comes to public health policy, we are a pack of utter nincompoops.
Transvaginal ultrasounds mandated in Virginia? Bring it! Aspirin as birth control! Tell me more. Things have threatened to become so comically repressive, it's woken us up out of our stupor. We're mad as hell.
Turning the clock back includes shaming women for their sexuality and punishing them for terminating a pregnancy (which is still legal, by the way). This brings us to one of the more degrading tactics up the radical-right sleeve: mandatory ultrasound laws.
If legislatures were requiring colorectal exams for no good medical reason, banning Viagra, outlawing condoms and vasectomies, you better believe that men would be doing more than waiting for a Gallup pollster to ring them up.
The right is staging an all-out assault on women's rights while they have control of the majority of state legislatures, the House and a determined minority in the Senate. The GOP's presidential candidates are promising to join it if they get elected. We can't let them succeed.
The GOP has followed its extremist fringe off the deep end, leaving the rest of us back in the reality based world, and befuddled. Their strategists warned them not to do this, but it appears that to the GOP, unhinged fringe issues are like catnip.