13 Real Things Male Politicians Have Said About Women's Reproductive Rights
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:
I don't expect to be in the room or will I do anything to prevent you from obtaining a contraceptive. However, once a child does exist in your womb, I'm not going to assume a right to kill it just because the child's host (some refer to them as mothers) doesn't want it.
2. Why Fund Women's Reproductive Health?
Jeb Bush in 2015, on why the federal government should defund Planned Parenthood:
I'm not sure we need half a billion dollars for women's health issues.
3. Equating Abortion Rights With The "Right" to Rape (Seriously)
Maine State Representative Lawrence Lockman, in a recently-unearthed letter from 1990:
If a woman has [the right to an abortion], why shouldn't a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman? At least the rapist's pursuit of sexual freedom doesn't [usually] result in anyone's death.
4. Women Seeking Abortions Are "Criminals"
Bobby Jindal, former Governor of Louisiana, in 2011
When officers arrest criminals today, they are read their rights. Now if we're giving criminals their basic rights and they have to be informed of those rights, it seems to me only common sense we would have to do the same thing for women before they make the choice about whether to get an abortion.
5. Planned Parenthood Is a "Criminal Enterprise"
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, in 2015:
We shouldn't be sending $500 million of taxpayer money to funding an ongoing criminal enterprise.
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:
If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it.
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:
When it comes to rape, rape is a horrific crime against the humanity of a person, and needs to be punished and punished severely ... But at the same time, as horrible as that crime is, I don't believe it's the child's fault. And we weep at the crime, we want to do everything we can to prevent the crime on the front end, and to punish the criminal, but I don't believe it makes sense to blame the child.
10. There's Nothing Better Than Defunding Planned Parenthood
Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey, in 2016:
[The federal government should] get rid of Planned Parenthood funding from the United States of America ... Let me tell you something, when you see thousands upon thousands upon thousands of children being murdered in the womb, I can't think of anything better than that.
11. Planned Parenthood Makes Men "Subservient"
Allen West, former U.S. Representative from Florida, in 2011:
[T]hese Planned Parenthood women, the Code Pink women, and all of these women that have been neutering American men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness — to let them know what we are not going to have our men become subservient.
12. Contraception Is Dangerous
Former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum, while running for President, in 2012:
One of the things I will talk about that no President has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea. Many in the Christian faith have said, "Well, that’s okay. Contraception's okay." It's not okay because it's a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.
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:
Right now, it's real easy. Right now, they don't make it important to be personally responsible because they know that they have a backup of "Oh, I can just go get an abortion." Now, we both know that consenting adults don't always think smartly sometimes. But consenting adults need to also consider the repercussions of the sexual relationship that they're gonna have, which is a child.
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.