2017 has been a bleak year so far for women's reproductive rights. The Trump administration has threatened to defund Planned Parenthood and scores of anti-choice legislation are popping up in state legislatures across the country. Unfortunately, 2017 is merely a continuation of a years-long trend involving politicians regulating women's reproductive rights and, sadly, of male politicians saying egregious things about these rights.
Indeed, over the past few years, many male politicians at all levels of government have taken to conveying their (often erroneous and offensive) opinions on women's reproductive health and rights, especially in regards to abortion and contraceptive access. This commentary is often quite shocking and ranges from citing scientifically inaccurate reasons why women should not have abortions (like the claim that abortion causes breast cancer) to lambasting the "moral" problems with contraception and much more. Much of this commentary also seems to particularly center on a theme of reveling in decrying Planned Parenthood and calling for a complete government withdrawal from funding its essential services.
While unfortunately it is just as apparent as ever that many male (and some female) politicians think it is acceptable and imperative to highly regulate women's bodies, choices, and reproductive rights, this list serves as a reminder of the extreme nature of some of these viewpoints — and as yet another incentive to keep fighting to protect women's rights, as they are seemingly perpetually under threat.
1. Women Are Merely "Hosts" For Fetuses
Former Virginia State Senator Steve Martin, 2014:
2. Why Fund Women's Reproductive Health?
Jeb Bush in 2015, on why the federal government should defund Planned Parenthood:
3. Equating Abortion Rights With The "Right" to Rape (Seriously)
Maine State Representative Lawrence Lockman, in a recently-unearthed letter from 1990:
4. Women Seeking Abortions Are "Criminals"
Bobby Jindal, former Governor of Louisiana, in 2011
5. Planned Parenthood Is a "Criminal Enterprise"
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, in 2015:
6. Give Babies Guns
Steve Stockman, former U.S. Congressman from Texas, on his support for the Second Amendment and anti-choice legislation, in 2013:
7. Donald Trump, on Planned Parenthood
U.S. President Donald Trump, in 2015:
8. Women Can't Control Themselves
Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas, in 2014:
9. Abortion After Rape Is "Blaming The Child"
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas in 2016 on why abortion should not be allowed, even in the case of rape:
10. There's Nothing Better Than Defunding Planned Parenthood
Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey, in 2016:
11. Planned Parenthood Makes Men "Subservient"
Allen West, former U.S. Representative from Florida, in 2011:
12. Contraception Is Dangerous
Former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum, while running for President, in 2012:
13. Send Them To Prison
Texas State Rep. Tony Tinderholt in 2017, on why he sponsored a bill that would charge women and providers with murder for respectively having and performing abortions:
All of these quotes serve as important reminders why the fight for women's reproductive rights is never over, as many politicians are perpetually seeking to both inhibit the passage of newly-established rights legislation as well as to eliminate already-existing rights. If you wish to join the fight for women's reproductive rights, consider supporting Planned Parenthood and many other reproductive health and rights organizations.