The Republican Platform’s War On Women’s Rights: What You Need To Know
From a party choosing to nominate a vocal misogynist, the GOP’s terrible platform on women’s rights is frankly to be expected. We already know the party’s platform committee has opted to maintain its homophobic stance on marriage, called for the Christian Bible to be taught in public schools, and declared porn a public health crisis while not merely ignoring, but attacking, American women’s already very limited access to reproductive health services. And it only gets worse from there.
As the party commences its convention in which it will nominate Donald Trump, a man who has previously proposed punishing women for having abortions and has a long history of regarding women as objects, it’s worth noting just how terrible the Republican platform is for women as Trump prepares to run against the first female presidential nominee of a major party. For all of Hillary Clinton’s flaws, there’s quite a bit at stake here.
Politico notes that the Republican platform’s 2016 stance on abortion and women’s health organization Planned Parenthood is tougher than ever, literally “condemning” the organization, “calling for Supreme Court justices who will reverse decisions in favor of abortion rights,” and vocally opposing “the Supreme Court’s recent decision to strike a Texas anti-abortion law.”
This demand for new, anti-choice justices follows the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision, which identified regulations in the state of Texas that required clinics providing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and adhere to standards for ambulatory surgical centers or close as unconstitutional for placing an “undue burden” on women seeking abortions. And for all his talk about how great he would be for women, Trump has enthusiastically affirmed that as president, he would appoint anti-choice conservatives to the Court.
But equally concerning is a clause in the platform calling for “legislative prohibitions on the the use of body parts from aborted fetuses in research,” a pointed attack on Planned Parenthood, which has previously donated fetal tissue for research, inspiring a series of illegal and misleading sting videos last summer. The platform committee’s decision to condemn Planned Parenthood and portray donating fetal tissue as a criminal act renders women and abortion providers even more vulnerable to violence by anti-choice extremists, conditioned by conservative rhetoric to view them as murderers.
Rates of violence and various methods of intimidation against clinics and women seeking abortions have already seen record highs in the wake of last summer’s anti-Planned Parenthood propaganda videos, and many have noted how the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooter was motivated directly by perceptions of the organization as responsible for murder.
Additionally, condemning Planned Parenthood only encourages conservative state governors to continue their attempts to defund the organization, as if it’s not enough that the platform contains the full text of the Hyde Amendment, a rule prohibiting federal funds from being used for abortions, which Clinton and former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders both oppose. The Hyde Amendment, widely supported by conservatives, directly targets poorer women, whose constitutional right to have abortions means nothing if they can’t afford the procedure.
Last month, Indiana University sued the state of Indiana for its ban on fetal tissue research, restricting “academic freedom by criminalizing the acquisition or transfer of fetal tissue used for research.” Fetal tissue research historically led to the discovery of a cure for polio and could most likely lead to additional medical breakthroughs, today. Frankly, we could all be missing out on a lot just so Republicans can continue villainizing women and promoting an ignorant ideology.
But arguably the platform’s scariest feature with regard to abortion and reproductive rights is how it lists no exceptions to its calls for an abortion-free society. Even Trump has previously promised exceptions for cases of rape, incest, and the safety of the mother, but it doesn’t appear that this made it to the platform. In Republicans’ ideal world, there is literally no circumstance in which women will be accorded autonomy over their bodies.
Billy Valentine, director of government affairs at the Susan B. Anthony List, told Politico this “very well may be the strongest pro-life platform yet,” noting “the life language that came out the constitution subcommittee is even stronger than the 2012 language.”
The party is also taking heat for its opposition to military women in combat roles, following the Department of Defense’s recent decision to open combat roles to eligible women and cease to discriminate based on gender. In addition to consistently voting against equal pay legislation, this aspect of the platform represents the party’s regard for women as inferior and unfit for traditionally male spheres.
The party could have offered solutions to the gender wage gap or campus sexual assault, raised the minimum wage to accommodate predominantly female minimum wage earners, struck down the ridiculous taxes on women’s hygiene products, or affirmed that women are human beings with the human right to make the most basic decisions about their bodies. There’s no shortage of policies that could contribute to the overall betterment of women’s lives and tackle their everyday struggles with discrimination and accessing healthcare, but you’ll find none of that on the Republican platform this year.
Seven in 10 women have an “unfavorable view” of Trump who, I repeat, is literally the first ever to run against a female nominee from a major party, and let’s not forget that women already tend to be Democratic (hm, I wonder why?). All this considered, you’d think the party would at least put some effort, however small, into appealing to this demographic in its platform. But alas, here we are.