Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Women's Vote makes all the difference!



TAMMY DUCKWORTH

Paul Beaty/AP   Tammy Duckworth and husband Byran Bowlsbey and supporters election night

Reproductive rights won on election night in America! A decisive women's vote help propel pro-choice President Obama to victory. The gender gap in the vote was a whooping 18 points, even bigger than the 12 point gap in 2008.

But it wasn't just the White House where pro-choice women roared back with their vote against an attack on reproductive freedom. Two Republican candidates for the Senate who appeared to be on track to election were derailed when they couldn't help themselves from revealing their true feelings about pregnancies that result from rape--either impossible or "god's will." Not only were they defeated, other anti-choice candidates went down with them.
   
Lorraine
That's not to say that the oft-repeated comments of "legitimate rape" Todd Akin in Missouri and "God intended pregnancy from rape" Richard Mourdock in Indiana were the whole story, but together they kept the spotlight on the Republican party's continued opposition to reproductive choice, following recent lengthy battles not only over abortion rights in several states, but also financing for contraception and Planned Parenthood, as well as a once-innocuous piece of legislation to protect victims of domestic violence.

After Mourdock stated that he believes that “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen,” a race that had been close turned sharply in Democrat Joe Donnelly’s direction, and he won handily, 50 percent to 45 percent. Among women the race was much more lopsided--53 percent for Donnelly, 41 for Mourdock. 

Sen. Claire McCaskill
Republican Todd Akin let slip in a local television interview that in cases of "legitimate rape," a woman's body knows that there is a problem and "tries to shut the whole thing down" to prevent the pregnancy, thus saying it was highly unlikely that a woman who was "legitimately" raped (i.e., forceably) will get pregnant. In Missouri, many had all but conceded Democrat Claire McCaskill's Senate seat to him...until he made that comment. McCaskill defeated Akin, 55 to 39. Independent candidates made up the difference in the percentage points. 

In Massachusetts, in a race that seemed close up until the election, Democrat Elizabeth Warren handily defeated Scott Brown, 54 to 46! Brown tried to present himself as pro-choice, but when anti-choice is in his party platform, and when the candidate at the top of his ticket, Mitt Romney, is famously anti-choice now, what's a guy to do? Scott may have been a moderate, but couldn't run far and fast enough away from his party.

Sen.-Elect Elizabeth Warren
“Senate Democrats… actually expanded their Senate majority — something basically nobody would have guessed even a year ago,” said the Washington Post. Other women pro-choice candidates can be found at Emily's list. All of this bodes well for reproductive choice.  

And let us not forget that another Republican, this time in the House, Joe Walsh, said that he was “pro-life without exception” in a spirited debate with Tammy Duckworth, an Iraqi vet who lost both legs in the war. (Photo above) Walsh also criticized Duckworth for talking about her military service. "Now I’m running against a woman who, my God, that’s all she talks about," he said. "Our true heroes, it’s the last thing in the world they talk about." Walsh, who as of September was $117,000 behind in child support payments, lost by ten points, 55 to 45. I couldn't find a breakdown along gender lines.

In Florida, Tea Party Allan West was demanding a recount even though he lost by approximately 2,500 votes at last look to Democrat Patrick Murphy. West was infamous for his vote to defund Planned Parenthood, as he said its "women" are "neutering American men." He also called Democratic Party leader Debbie Wasserman Schultz "vile," "despicable," and "not a lady." We won't go into the sex letter he wrote to his wife; you can find it elsewhere on the web.  

As the New York Times reported this morning: Republicans in the House entered the election with just 24 women. Now, unless another one prevails in late tallies, there will be 21. By contrast, there are 52 women among the Democrats in the House, and 61 are expected in the next Congress. Although there are certainly good women in Congress who are members of the Republican party--pro-choice Susan Collins comes to mind--it is not the Grand Old Party that will protect reproductive freedom for women.

We know the cost of that. We also know that adoption is not the answer. We know that in all cases where young women and teens can control their own bodies, they are likely to get more education, gain jobs that pay better, and have overall better economic futures. You would think that the cost-conscious Republican party might take that into consideration while they proclaim--as Ann Romney did--We love women!--at their convention. Statements like that are empty and absurd, no matter how enthusiastically stated. The pundits who are taking apart what went wrong for the GOP keep talking about having to broaden "their tent" and bring in more women and Latinos, who also went for Obama and Democrats by a huge margin, 71 to 27 percent. But they will have to do more than invite them into the tent; they will have to have policies that reflect what women and Latinos want.

In short, if you don't want to have an abortion, don't have one; if you don't want to use birth control, don't. But let this be an individual choice, not one made by others.

A personal note: One of fellow blogger Jane's daughters was the communications director for Elizabeth Warren. Congratulations, Julie! --lorraine



-------------------
Sources
Emily's List  
Senate Races Expose Extent of Republicans’ Gender Gap
Is 2012 the year of the woman?

From FMF
The GOP stand on abortion is hollow at the center
Romney's convenient stand on abortion: Flip. Flop. Loop holes.
An aspirin for birth control? We are not laughing.
Akin, GOP to women: We are in charge of your bodies, no exceptions for rape

2 comments :

  1. Love it love it love the results, but what pisses me off is that more people actually voted for congressmen who are Democrats than voted for congressmen who are Republicans, it's just the gerrymandering that made the house more R than Democratic Blue! very annoying!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. There is hope for the future... there is hope yet!

    ReplyDelete

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