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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Earlier this week, I drove through miles of farmland east of Cleveland to give an evening talk at the public library in Jefferson, Ohio. Population 3,115, give or take a few.

It was standing room only, and my payment was a gracious audience and two dozen fresh eggs from the library director’s farm. Lovely eggs, ranging in color from pale white to the softest blue, almost too pretty to eat.

I share this with you so that you understand why I was a bit surprised when the Q & A portion of our program turned so quickly to women’s reproductive rights, as in: Why are Republicans still screwing around with them?

I expect such spirited discussions in big cities and even midsize towns, but until recently, I wasn’t on the receiving end of this righteous indignation in places such as rural Ohio. Jefferson, the county seat, is only 9.74 miles from my childhood home. I’ve known these good people all my life, and it’s been fascinating to watch some traditional Republicans turn into Democrats right before my eyes.

It’s not that they’re all suddenly pro-choice; it’s more that they’re feeling forced to declare themselves pro-woman. Despite the election defeats in 2012, the majority of Republican legislators apparently still think it’s a good idea to rally the worst among us — they call them their “base” — by trafficking in superstition, misogyny and outright lies to endanger the lives of our daughters. Hence, we have the U.S. House of Representatives’ latest, most extreme anti-abortion bill — called, in the absence of scientific proof, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act — which is bound to go nowhere.

The bill’s author, Arizona Republican Trent Franks, had to recuse himself from the floor debate after he declared, during a committee markup, “The incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy (is) very low.”

Not to be outdone in the fact-free fight category, Texas Republican Michael C. Burgess insisted that in his years as an obstetrician, he witnessed the masturbatory prowess of male fetuses.

“They have movements that are purposeful,” Burgess said during a House Rules Committee meeting Monday. “They stroke their face. If they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. I mean, they feel pleasure. Why is it so hard to think that they could feel pain?”

As U.S. News & World Report’s Elizabeth Flock pointed out, most doctors say Burgess’ argument isn’t based in science — doctors such as Jeanne Conry, who is president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

“We certainly can see a movement of a fetus during that time, but in terms of any knowledge about pleasure or pain — there are no data to assess,” Conry told Flock. “We don’t know enough about the biology and the science.”

Conry added, “For whatever reason in our country when it comes to abortion we make statements based not on the science but based on observations and on emotion.”

  • eps62

    Hopefully quite a few of repugs will change sides because of their attach on women

  • jeanabella

    These fools can’t help themselves, it’s beyond reason. They have to hit bottom & they’re practically there!

    • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

      Oh, they already hit bottom. Now they are tunneling deeper into it.

    • ThomasBonsell

      Hitting bottom won’t do them any good. It’s up to the rank-and-file Republicans to start electing sane people to office.

      • plc97477

        At this point they will probably have to go to a different party to find them.

        • RobertCHastings

          Definitely a different gene pool.

    • plc97477

      It’s not a long trip for them.

  • sigrid28

    We cannot defeat this crazy legislation without highly motivated, single-issue, PRO-CHOICE voters going to the polls in droves to counteract the highly motivated, single-issue, pro-life (and pro-NRA and Tea Party) voters who put these dim bulbs in office. Rabid sing-issue voting on the far right cannot be defeated at the ballot box any other way. They will win again if moderate Republicans, Independents, and Democrats stay home as they did during the last midterm elections–and apparently during elections for state and local officials. This article gives me hope, as does the library director who brought fresh eggs. Maybe if we all work hard enough to get out the vote our future will be, as the saying goes, sunny side up.

  • Catskinner

    Still, I’d vote for him is he was against illegal immigration.

    • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

      If you support a candidate for just one reason then you have to live with the rest of his positions, even if you are opposed to everything else they want to enact.

      • Catskinner

        Yes, one does.

    • Allan Richardson

      So you would have voted for Hitler if he were running today, and was against illegal immigration? Even if you disagreed with him on starting a world war and trying to wipe out entire ethnic communities, the illegal immigration would be the clincher? I’m not saying any of these people is Hitler, but would that be your logical principle?

  • howa4x

    Republicans think they have to constantly rally their base, which gets them in trouble with everyone else. The base is a minority and is off in a corner of society with rigid views. So instead of reaching out to the broadest cross section of the country, republican congressmen always run back to the corner with a bull horn. This is just one issue. We have immigration, same sex marriage, sane background checks, climate change, the budget, and unemployment coming quickly to the front of the issues line as well as a host of other ones. If elected republicans keep running to the corner on all of them they will cease to be a viable national party, and will only exist regionally.

    • kanawah

      Howa4x
      Another major item is their total opposition to labor rights.
      The labor unions built the middle class. The fascist republicans are trying to kill the unions, and as a result, the middle class.

      If all sane people do not get our and voter the extreme right out of office, our nation is doomed.

      • howa4x

        Very true

      • RobertCHastings

        They have become masters at propaganda. Wisconsin and Michigan and Ohio are the homes of the Union movement, and yet the rantings of the Republicans in those states has managed to demonize the unions, turning, apparently, a majority of voters against them (witness Gov. Walker’s escape from the recall). If the people in this country who have benefited most from the Labor Movement are willing to turn on the unions, then something is seriously wrong.

      • Allan Richardson

        Surprisingly, the right wing pundits manage to convince WORKERS that their rights are better protected by the “free market” than by unions and labor regulations! It’s like persuading lobsters to jump into a hot tub! Next they will say that mercury in your water is GOOD for you!

  • highpckts

    I don’t care what party they belong to! They are all certifiable!! It just seems the GOP has more than their fair share!!

    • kanawah

      The “republiCONs and the Transylvania tea bags are ALL certifiable.

  • catnip2430

    The funny thing is that they use the Bible and God to justify their anti choice arguments when actually the Bible has an abortion inducing potion (Numbers 5:15-22) and states that children have no worth until one month AFTER birth (Leviticus 27:6), so apparently God may not be as pro-life as they think.

    • Allan Richardson

      A common joke among American Jews today (only a joke, folks) is that life begins with graduation from medical or law school. Certainly, the 8th day “briss” is a key ritual in making a boy Jewish; stillborn baby boys, or those who die before that day, are required by some rabbis to be posthumously circumcised in order to be buried in a Jewish cemetery.

  • plc97477

    I loved the last part of the article.

  • RobertCHastings

    Connie once again rises to the occasion. I have personally known three lifetime Republicans who have changed their affiliation because THIS current incarnation of the Republican Party is NOT what they signed onto. And one of these gentlemen was simply NOT that into reproductive rights of women. It is much, much more than just a woman’s choice, it is the choices the Republicans are depriving EVERYONE of.

  • Allan Richardson

    “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” Thus George Orwell predicted the attitudes of these … I won’t say Neanderthals, because Neanderthals were smarter, and survived longer than these creatures.

  • armed bear

    How is it that only registered College Democrats signed a partition to allow 4th term abortions? Here you go again, Connie, over exaggerating every issue. You are worse than the people who write for national enquirer. You are a sensationalistic pseudo journal hack. Your drivel is slop to the liberal low income low intelligence uneducated progressive idiot pigs. You do nothing for anyone but yourself. Liberalism is truly a mental disorder.