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Vickie Sandell Stangl: War on women isn’t imaginary

  • Published Friday, Oct. 19, 2012, at 12 a.m.

How quaint – columnist Kathleen Parker argued that female voters are not some monolithic group who swallow the “war on women” nonsense, but are more concerned about their families and jobs in this election cycle (Oct. 12 Opinion).

There is most definitely a war on women in America. The most crucial battle is being waged against reproductive rights. This battle takes center stage because everyone understands that if a woman cannot control the number of pregnancies in her life it affects her ability to move back into the job force, find affordable and quality day care, continue her education and achieve financial security.

Republicans and the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan ticket are united in their desire to deny women this freedom with such measures as eliminating access to contraceptives and defunding Planned Parenthood. In state legislatures across the nation and Congress, the Republican Party has proposed a record number of anti-abortion measures while supporting misogynist candidates like Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., who believes women have a biological fail-safe button to shut down a “legitimate rape.”

The war on women includes such outrageous laws as forcing women to endure invasive vaginal probes to giving birth to a rapist’s child. And what female voter could possibly ignore Republican politicians who sanctimoniously impose their religious beliefs on women’s reproductive health care?

Other important bills that would protect women have been blocked by conservatives. The tea party Republicans in the House thwarted the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, while the Paycheck Fairness Act was not even allowed to come up for a vote. This act would stop employers from the discriminatory practice of paying women less and hiding this fact by prohibiting employees from discussing their salaries.

Conservatives like to crow how America is the light bearer for equality and freedom around the world. The war on women is the ugly underside of American politics, and it cannot be covered up with Parker’s claim that women care more about jobs. There are far, far more important things in life than a paycheck. As Margaret Sanger stated so eloquently: “No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother.”

Female voters are determined to defeat any candidate who stands against a woman’s most fundamental right – the right to determine her own well-being.

Vickie Sandell Stangl of Andover is president of the Wichita chapter of the National Organization for Women.

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