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Will the “War on Women” Crowd Please Give It a Rest

War on Women 1

Progress Ohio

Susan E. Wills - published on 11/06/14

The accusation is getting a bit stale, apart from being a fat lie.

I’m sure I’m not the only person in America who reacts to “War on Women” rhetoric with teeth-gnashing and an occasional snarl in the direction of the TV. The phrase is just so belittling and reductionist and so wrong on the facts.

Curious about where it came from, a Google search sent me to Wikipedia where I learned that the phrase was coined in 1989 by Andrea Dworkin – radical feminist lesbian anarchist who also wrote and lobbied against pornography. I’m not judging her. She was molested at age nine in a movie theater by some adult pervert, later injured by a prison guard performing an internal exam at the New York Women’s House of Detention where she was taken after her 1965 arrest at an anti-Vietnam War protest, and then married a Dutch anarchist she’d met in Amsterdam who routinely beat her severely, burned her with cigarettes and knocked her unconscious. These experiences may explain why she despised men and despised the reproductive capacity of women. One of several examples of her views provided by Wikipedia is the following:

In 1987, Dworkin published Intercourse, in which she extended her analysis from pornography to sexual intercourse itself, and argued that the sort of sexual subordination depicted in pornography was central to men’s and women’s experiences of heterosexual intercourse in a male supremacist society. In the book, she argues that all heterosexual sex in our patriarchal society is coercive and degrading to women, and sexual penetration may by its very nature doom women to inferiority and submission, and "may be immune to reform."

The following year (1988), Pope Saint John Paul II wrote his inspiring apostolic letter Mulieris Dignitatem (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women) in which he discussed, inter alia, “the feminine genius.” I don’t know if Ms. Dworkin ever read this letter and I’m not sure whether it would have changed her views, but it would at least have opened her eyes to a far different reality than the one she lived.

War on Women has always been about denigrating women’s most priceless gift: the ability to co-create with her husband and God a new and eternal human life who will take form and develop within, and from, her own flesh and blood and the nutrients she consumes, a life she will be privileged to nurture to adulthood (which these days may take a lot longer than it used to).

War on Women is one of those Orwellian phrases (like calling the war department “the Ministry of Peace”) that means the exact opposite of what it purports to say: it’s the radical feminists who insist that the only valid model for women  – as our President implied the other day – is the male whose rise to worldly success is unimpeded by a biological and affective capacity to bear and nurture children. It doesn’t speak to all the intellectual, psychosocial and affective gifts women possess; it just reduces them to bearers of reproductive organs.

Eventually, this idea spread beyond the confines of academia and radical feminist literature, thanks to the reproductive rights industry, for which this mantra brings in billions annually from the sale and distribution of contraceptives and the provision of abortion. To help secure young women as a reliable segment of the Democrat base, politicians like Hillary Clinton, Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi (and many more) helped convince a slight majority of women that the GOP, if empowered, would put a halt to the never-ending party that began with The Pill, punish premarital sex by making it impossible to get cheap contraception, and outlaw abortion, the necessary “backup” when contraceptives fail as the U.S. Supreme Court has declared.

It’s a phony campaign born of a conspiracy motivated by greed  for money –  in the case of contraceptive manufacturers, abortion providers and the “women’s rights” industry – and lust for political power – in the case of some politicians.

If the results of the mid-term election are any indication, the electorate may finally be waking up to how War on Women is a stale bread-and-circuses distraction to keep voters’ focus off issues that put some politicians in a bad light: our dysfunctional federal government, struggling economy, low wages, the explosion in welfare costs to help those who’ve given up looking for work, the nation’s financial and moral bankruptcy, crony capitalism, the immigration crisis, Islamic terrorism, Russian and Chinese aggression, a nuclear Iran and so many other issues of paramount importance.

One may be guilty of Schadenfreude over the defeat of Sandra Fluke in her attempt to win a seat in the California Senate. She is known only for testifying before Congress in favor of the Obamacare contraceptive mandate because she deemed it warfare on women that a student at Georgetown University Law Center (tuition $50,890/year) would be forced to pay $6/month to buy birth control at WalMart.

And the historic trouncing (by over 1 million votes!) of the Democrats’ rising star from Texas, Wendy Davis, who rose to prominence by her catheter-assisted filibuster in support of late-term post-viability abortions – the “self-made” feminist heroine whose autobiography could not withstand scrutiny – one might feel pleased by her defeat, but any satisfaction is tempered by the sobering thought that she has to live with herself.

Then we have the historic elections of Senator-elect Tim Scott, a pro-life African American Republican from South Carolina, Representative-elect Mia Love, a pro-life African American Republican from Utah, and Representative-elect Will Hurd, a pro-life African American Republican from Texas. Hooray for their constituents! Perhaps they will be able to slow the extermination of African Americans at Planned Parenthood clinics conveniently situated in poor urban neighborhoods. 

Among pro-life candidates supported by the Susan B. Anthony List and the Women Speak Out PAC, there were many other successes:

Thom Tillis (R-NC) will take the Senate seat of pro-choice Kay Hagan
Tom Cotton (R-AR) unseated pro-choice Senator Mark Pryor
Joni Ernst (R-IA) beat her opponent for the Senate seat vacated by pro-choice Sen. Tom Harkin
Pat Roberts (R-KS) retained his seat in a victory over a well-funded pro-choice challenger
Cory Gardner (R-CO) defeated pro-choice Sen. Udall in a Senate race in which Udall talked about little else than the supposed War on Women
Bill Cassidy (R-LA) is expected to win the December run-off against pro-choice Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Mike Rounds (R-SD) beat pro-choice Rich Weiland for a seat in the U.S. Senate

And pro-life gubernatorial candidates supported by the Susan B. Anthony List won nine of ten races.

There will be, come November, a pro-life majority in the United States Senate. This victory will be meaningful not only in terms of legislation, but critically, in terms of judicial appointments.

War on Women was a losing strategy that helped propel pro-life candidates into office. On second thought, go ahead keep it up in 2016.

Susan E. Willsis spirituality editor of Aleteia’s English language edition.

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