The Unfair Sects

By Miles Leicher

It would be easy for someone who's been following politics lately to think that Republicans maybe kinda sorta hate women. Just in the last few weeks, we've been witnessing debates about birth control, combat roles in the military and something called a "transvaginal ultrasound." Even Mel Gibson is going, "come on, guys...ease up a little."

Okay, maybe that's unfair. If Republicans really hated women, why would they keep naming boats after them? It might be more accurate to say that they just don't value women's opinions. At least that's the takeaway from last week's House Oversight Committee hearing on contraception, in which the first panel of witnesses was comprised of a Roman Catholic bishop, a Lutheran reverend, a rabbi and two professors; all of them men. Though, in fairness, the bishop has been known to wear a dress.

Concurrently, in Virginia, legislators had sought to require women seeking an abortion to submit to a specific type of sonogram that involved placing a wand inside their vagina in order to display a picture of the fetus. Needless to say, that idea didn't go over very well -- with the exception of a few die-hard Harry Potter fans.

The funny thing is, as Bill Maher pointed out last Friday, these are the same people who say that 'Obamacare' is invasive! Sure, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is over a thousand pages long, but not a single one of those pages requires anyone to stick anything up their hoo-ha.

Rick Santorum's website lists one of his signature issues as ensuring that, "Every American should have access to high-quality, affordable health care, with health care decisions made by patients and their physicians, NOT government bureaucrats." Now there's a line you hear over and over again from folks on the right: nothing should ever interfere with that sacred bond between a doctor and a patient. That is, unless the patient is a woman and the doctor is offering her any sort of family planning service other than pulling out a baby. In which case, you'd better slow your roll there, little darlin', and let the men talk.

So which is it, guys: is there a place for big government in the exam room or not? If it’s okay for religious institutions to flout healthcare requirements, will you understand if a woman has a similar opposition to being instrumentally raped for a procedure with no medical necessity? And would someone please explain to me how, despite all of his recent comments regarding women’s health, Rick Santorum’s support among Republican women is on the rise?