This month, Republican politicians have relentlessly proposed legislation that affects the lives of women acts that could cost them votes.
The attacks began when college student Sandra Fluke testified to House Democrats in favor of a mandate that would require insurance companies to cover contraceptives and other reproductive health care. But among the multiple controversies surrounding the mandate, such as the GOPs relatively silent reaction to conservative talk show host Rush Limbaughs labeling Fluke a slut and prostitute, is a plethora of emerging legislation that unfairly targets women.
The list of offending proposals span the country. Wisconsins SB 507 attempts to curtail child abuse and neglect, but would require the state to deem nonmarital parenthood a contributing factor, placing a microscope on single mothers. In Tennessee, a bill known as the Life Defense Act of 2012 seeks to require the Department of Health to publish information about doctors who perform abortions and the demographics of women who obtain abortions online, an act that not only demonizes those who are pro-choice, but also could place them in danger.
But such ideas are not relegated to proposals. Currently, Arizonas approved HB 2625 states that a corporation may require its female employees to prove that contraceptives covered by their health insurance plan are for medical uses unrelated to pregnancy. For low-income women on Medicaid in Texas, access to health care will be limited due to a feud between the state government and health clinics that offer abortions, which are not covered by Medicaid.
These measures, all proposed by Republicans, and others like them target women under the guise of protecting children, the unborn and religion common denominators among party affiliates. During an election year it is not surprising to see proposed legislation that panders to politicians most loyal voters. However, this election hinges on the voters who are least motivated by party ideologues moderate and independent/swing voters.
GOP candidates and politicians would be very foolish to ignore the largest electorate in the nation women. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women make up 50.8 percent of the U.S. population and 56 percent of women voters supported President Barack Obama in 2008, according to the New York Times. Obama has already begun courting female voters for re-election, and the GOPs legislative guffaws only add fuel to his efforts.
Many women and Americans in general care about the economy, foreign diplomacy and how the government relates to their lives. Time wasted on legislation that could easily be unconstitutional or vetoed would be better spent balancing budgets and bettering communities. Unfortunately, the GOP would rather alienate those they should aim to protect in the name of partisan rhetoric.
Amanda Butler is a junior majoring in sociology and womens studies.