The XX Factor
What Women Really Think

June 23 2015 12:17 PM

Scott Walker Argues That Equal Pay Pits Women Against Men

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin has gone on the offensive against women again, despite the backlash against his previous ugly remarks about rape victims seeking abortionAs reported by Right Wing Watch, Boston Herald Radio host Adriana Cohen asked him about the issue of equal pay for women, using largely discredited numbers to accuse Hillary Clinton as a hypocrite who pays her staff unequally. Walker could have scored the easy point on hypocrisy and left it at that. Instead he doubled down on why he finds it so offensive to be for equal pay in the first place.

“But I think even a bigger issue than that,” he said, “and this is sadly something that would make her consistent with the president, and that is I believe that the president and now Hillary Clinton tend to think that politically they do better if they pit one group of Americans versus another.” 

Walker added that Democrats’ “measure of success in government is how many people are dependent on the government, how many people are dependent, on whether it's Medicaid or food stamps or health care or other things out there.”

That's the way to win women's vote, Walker: Imply that their paychecks are akin to government handouts. This line of argument started by telling women that their contraception health care benefits—which women work for—are also government handouts, so framing their actual pay in the same way isn't that big a leap. 

Walker's implication on equal pay is that Democrats are pitting men against women. But when women make more money, men do better. For couples, when the woman is underpaid, that means less money overall for the household. Sixty percent of married couples with children are two-income families: When those women make less, the men's standard of living goes down alongside theirs. That's where Walker misses the sense in helping women become less dependent on men.

Walker is the one actually stoking conflict by falsely implying that advocating for women puts them in opposition to men. He makes it sound as though equal pay for women takes away from men. But for most men, the numbers don't lie: More money in women's paychecks means more cash in men's wallets.

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June 22 2015 1:27 PM

Inside Out Is a Universal Tale With a Feminist Kick

Audible weeping could be heard all around me over the weekend at Pixar's new movie Inside Out, which has received high praise as an intellectually interesting caper and an honest, ultimately optimistic exploration of the loss of childhood innocence. For plenty of adults, Inside Out will represent a moment of catharsis as they remember their own transitions into the more subtle and nuanced emotions of adulthood.

While the movie's themes are universal, Pixar has also worked in a subtle but surprisingly feminist theme about how girls are raised. When we first peek inside the head of 11-year-old Riley (voiced by Kaitlyn Dias), she is a generally happy child whose emotions are ruled by Joy (Amy Poehler), who stands taller and speaks more forcefully than the other four emotions. This is how it should be, the movie suggests: Riley is an inherently cheerful girl with a pretty easy life. 

When Riley's family moves, however, other emotions—Fear and Sadness—start grabbing at the controls. Most of the movie is dedicated to Joy learning to give up some control and accept that Riley doesn't need to be happy all the time to be OK. But when the camera pops out of Riley's head and into her world, we see that this pressure to be happy all the time isn't completely self-imposed. At separate times, both of Riley's parents (played by Kyle MacLachlan and Diane Lane) ask Riley to be the happy little girl they're used to. They're clearly well-meaning, but they're guilt-tripping their kid. (The scenario echoes a 1990 Simpsons episode in which sweet Marge Simpson implores a down-in-the-dumps Lisa to “take all your bad feelings and push them down, all the way down past your knees, until you're almost walking on them.”)

Of course, we all have to suppress negative feelings for the sake of social harmony, but girls experience a lot more pressure to be pleasant and cheery for the benefit of others. “This sounds a lot like the beginning of gender conditioning,” writes Flavorwire's Sarah Seltzer, pointing out how Riley is made to feel as though “her family relies on her being their happy girl.”

But Riley's mom and dad aren't demonized for putting these subtly gendered expectations on their daughter. On the contrary, their appeals are so effective because they're not only loving parents but also professional, liberal San Francisco types who push their girl to be in sports. They do learn to give Riley a little more space to be a pouty preteen, and the implication is clear: We are all capable of falling into these gendered traps. The only thing to do is forgive yourself and try to do better next time. (Marge Simpson came around, too; she apologizes to Lisa and says, “Always be yourself. If you want to be sad, honey, be sad. We’ll ride it out with you.”)

Feminist themes are trendy right now in pop culture. Frequently, they're laid out in broad strokes with easy heroes and easy (sexist) villains, in movies as diverse as Frozen and Mad Max: Fury Road. I enjoy a fantasy of girl power conquering menacing patriarchal creeps as much as the next gal. But I was also refreshed by Inside Out's subtle, villain-free narrative about a girl overcoming some pernicious but subtle gender training to find a truer version of herself. 

June 22 2015 12:03 PM

Republican Candidates Compete for Evangelical Votes at a Faith & Freedom Coalition Event

Over the weekend, the Faith & Freedom Coalition held its Road to Majority event in partnership with the anti-feminist organization Concerned Women for America. A solid chunk of the roughly 8 billion Republicans running for president showed up to try to win over the assembled crowd of evangelical voters. Phyllis Schlafly helped kick off events by highlighting her work defeating the Equal Rights Amendment, which would have made it unconstitutional to discriminate against women on the basis of gender.

Two Republican hopefuls, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, continued in Schafly's vein. “When I became governor, I was shocked by the total lack of regulation of abortion clinics,” Bush said, even though abortion clinics were subject to the same regulations as any other medical facilities when he took office as Florida governor in 1999. “So what we did was we put regulations on abortion clinics. And we narrowed the number of them.”

Christie focused on his cuts to Planned Parenthood. “When [the Democratic legislature] sends me Planned Parenthood funding year after year after year and I am the first governor to veto Planned Parenthood funding out of the budget, there is no room for compromise there,” ThinkProgress reports him telling the audience

By all reports, however, Ted Cruz won the conference with a wild speech that largely focused on redefining “religious liberty” to mean imposing evangelical faith on nonbelievers. “I will never, ever, ever shy from standing up and defending the religious liberty of every American,” he argued, with examples including defending a Ten Commandments monument on the Texas Capitol grounds, fighting to keep “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, and defending laws that allow evangelical business owners to discriminate against gay people.

Cruz also claimed that there are 90 million evangelical voters but that 50 million of them stay at home, and thus could really take over the country if they just got more organized. In reality, evangelicals are about 27 percent of voters but only 25 percent of the population, which means they are slightly overrepresented at the polls. 

Although Cruz accused his Republican competitors of insufficient dedication to the cause of “religious liberty,” the presence of so many Republicans at this conference suggests otherwise. The only competition left is who can thump the Bible the hardest. 

June 19 2015 3:33 PM

A Kansas State Rep Faces Censure Because She Called a Bill Racist

Conservative efforts to create a taboo around ever suggesting that a person or act is racist—unless the racism is directed against white people—hit a new low this week on Fox News, where commentators bent over backward to avoid acknowledging the racism that drove the mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. But the Kansas state Legislature is doing its part, too. Tierney Sneed at Talking Points Memo reports that the Legislature has scheduled a disciplinary hearing on June 26 for state Rep. Valdenia Winn. At stake: whether or not Winn will be censured or ejected for daring to suggest that proposed anti-immigration legislation might be rooted in racism. 

During a March committee meeting considering the legislation, which would have repealed in-state tuition rates for undocumented immigrants, Winn called the proposal "a racist, sexist, fear-mongering bill," according to the Lawrence Journal-World.
"I want to apologize to the students and parents whose lives are being hijacked by the racist bigots who support this bill, because this bill is an act," she said, before being interrupted by Rep. John Barker (R). 
"She just referred to this committee as racist," he objected.

According to the spokeswoman for the state's Democratic caucus, this is only the fourth time in the Legislature's history that this kind of hearing has been called. Pedro Irigonegaray, Winn's lawyer, pointed out that in 2011, state Rep. Virgil Peck "jokingly" suggested that hunting human beings and killing them would be a solution "to our illegal immigration problem." In 2012, House Speaker Mike O’Neal sent an email reading in part, "I can honestly voice a Biblical prayer for our president"; the prayer in question was Psalm 109:8, which asks God to kill your enemies.

However, neither Peck nor O'Neal called anybody a racist, which, to judge from this evidence, is apparently a fate worse than death.

June 18 2015 12:59 PM

Hillary Clinton Defies Right-Wing Critics, Endorses Universal Pre-K

This week, Hillary Clinton rolled out the first big policy proposal of her campaign: universal prekindergarten. Building on the Obama administration's work on preschool for all children, Clinton endorsed programs to make affordable preschool available to low-income families and offer tax cuts to middle-class families with preschool children. Doing this would help the country “invest in our most important assets, our children,” Clinton explained.

On its surface, this announcement seems like no big deal. Research shows that preschool is good for kids, and struggling to pay for child care is a major issue for working parents. But this move is bolder than it might look, because universal pre-K touches on what may be the hottest button for Hillary's haters on the right: their fear that she's out to undermine paternal authority at home. 

Conservatives love sneering at Hillary Clinton for titling her 1996 book of child advocacy It Takes a Village. (The title is based on a vaguely sourced proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.”) The American right went nuts over the name, interpreting it as a broad attack on the nuclear family and parental rights to control your child's upbringing, and even an implicit endorsement of mothers returning to work instead of being housewives. 

Bob Dole gave voice to this fury when he gave his acceptance speech at the 1996 Republican National Convention. “And after the virtual devastation of the American family, the rock upon which this country was founded, we are told that it takes a village, that is collective, and thus the state, to raise a child,” he said, as the crowd jeered. “And with all due respect, I am here to tell you it does not take a village to raise a child. It takes a family to raise a child,” he continued.

Since then, taking swipes at “it takes a village” is right up there with “Al Gore invented the Internet” and cigar jokes about Bill Clinton. “The town doesn't raise a child, village, or what have you,” groused Rush Limbaugh in 2009, 13 years after the book was released. “That was just code word for the parents don't really matter.” Andrea Tantaros was blaming the phrase for teen sexuality on Fox News in 2013. It's such a common phrase in conservative circles that Jonah Goldberg felt free to use it without context in a National Review article swiping at Clinton for hiring consultants to craft her image on the campaign.

So this announcement can be read as a “come at me, bro” gesture, inviting her opponents to expose her secret desire to take your kids away to be warehoused by the government. It suggests, yet again, that Clinton is going to run a bold campaign, embracing feminism and liberalism instead of trying to run away from right-wing accusations of radical feminism—accusations that will fly no matter what she does anyway. It's a smart move. Sixty-four percent of mothers with children under 6 work outside of the home. Most of them are too worried about paying for child care to pay attention to lurid right-wing fears about the end of the nuclear family.

June 18 2015 12:24 PM

For Their Civic Participation, Girl Scout Troop Rewarded With Racist Abuse 

This past spring, a group of Girl Scouts went to a public meeting in Cecil County, Maryland, to protest what they saw as inhumane conditions at the local animal shelter. Apparently, their reward for this spirited youthful foray into civic participation was to have a bunch of adults yell gross, racist things at them. Now, video of the incident has started to circulate online, and this week, ABC 2 in Baltimore reported on the incident, interviewing the girls who claim they were called “animals” and told to “go back to Baltimore.”

Things started when Chesapeake Bay Troop 176 arrived at the public meeting with handmade signs and asked questions about how the animals were being treated in the local shelter, which has recently been under fire for cramped conditions. The audio ABC 2 captures shows that things got heated immediately (one of the troop leaders was accused of pursuing a vendetta against the shelter, or something), and a gang of adults angrily followed the girls out of the meeting. “You guys, no racial comments, OK?” you can hear a troop leader saying on the audio. “Saying that they belong in Baltimore because they're black, that is wrong. Please don't say that OK?”

A Buddy for Life Inc., which runs the shelter in question, posted a statement on Facebook disavowing responsibility for the incident and reiterating the allegations of vendetta; one of the troop leaders, it argues, has “personal reasons stemming from dissatisfaction with a case where the law did not provide the outcome she wanted.”

That may be true! Let's redirect the conversation toward that hazy grievance and away from the spectacle of adults screaming racial abuse at little girls. 

This incident comes on the heels of the pool party debacle in McKinney, Texas, which highlighted police abuse against black teens and children, and which also started when adults decided to hurl racial abuse at minors doing things they disapprove of, such as swimming in a pool or advocating in defense of cute animals.

June 18 2015 7:30 AM

Five Amazing Women Who Should Be on the $10 Bill

Andrew Jackson must have some really good dirt on Jack Lew. On Wednesday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that a woman will join Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill in 2020. Whoever she is—and public input will help decide—she'll be the first woman to appear on paper currency since Martha Washington graced the $1 silver certificate from 1891 to 1896. (Women's-suffrage activist Susan B. Anthony graced a poorly received dollar coin at the turn of the 1980s.)

It’s about time. Last year, I wrote a Slate article calling for Andrew Jackson, who engineered a genocide of Native Americans, to be replaced on the $20 bill with someone less horrible. The idea quickly gained traction; soon, publications such as the Washington Post and Vox were talking about who might be a good addition to our currency. Even President Obama said that the possibility of putting a woman on the $20 bill was “a pretty good idea.” (Fun fact: I write about controversial topics, such as sadomasochism, polygamy, and rape porn, and I get a lot of hate mail. But I’ve never received more death threats than I did for the article about booting Andrew Jackson off the $20 bill. Dead white guys have vocal armies.)

If someone has to make room for a single representative of the other 50 percent of Americans, I would rather it be Andrew Jackson, but let’s be grateful for small victories. So who should join Hamilton on the $10? To start, she must be dead: Federal law states that no living person can appear on U.S. currency. Many prominent candidates, such as Harriet Tubman and Helen Keller, have been well-established. But here are some of the amazing women who deserve to be on the face of our currency, even if they’re not on the tips of our tongues.

Phillis Wheatley

Americans love to celebrate hard work and self-made success, and few heroines have worked their way up from nothing quite like Phillis Wheatley. Originally from what is now Senegal, Wheatley was kidnapped into slavery in 1761 (her name, Phillis, was taken from the slave ship that transported her). Nevertheless, she learned English, Latin, and theology, and published her first poem in 1767. Six years later, in 1773, she became the first black American, first slave, and third American woman to publish a book of poetry, called Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral. Her poetry was so remarkable that George Washington praised her talent and invited her to visit him in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Yet Wheatley’s road to success was rocky: After her poems had received international acclaim, doubts persisted about her authorship, and Wheatley had to (successfully) defend her work in court.

Deborah Sampson

Founding Fathers are a popular choice for U.S. currency, and Robert Shurtliff would be an ideal addition to that canon—not least because “he” was really Deborah Sampson, a woman who disguised herself as a man to enlist in the Continental army and fight for U.S. independence. Sampson wasn’t the only woman to fight in the Revolutionary War, but she was the most successful. She preserved her disguise for more than a year, even refusing professional medical care when she was shot twice in the leg to protect her secret. According to legend, Sampson removed the musket ball from her thigh herself with a knife and sewing needle, then returned to the battlefield and kept fighting.

Sylvia Rivera

Assigned male at birth, Rivera had a difficult path. Her father left shortly after her birth, and her mother committed suicide when Rivera was 3. Without family support, Rivera was homeless by age 11 and survived by working in the sex industry. Despite those challenges, Rivera rose to become one of the most influential figures in the anti-war, civil rights, and feminist movements, and was a central figure of the Stonewall Riots for LGBT rights. Throughout her life, Rivera aggressively campaigned for poor and homeless youth; one transgender activist described Rivera after her death as “the Rosa Parks of the modern transgender movement, a term that was not even coined until two decades after Stonewall.”

Lydia Maria Child

In a weird twist of history, Child is best known as the author of the poem that begins: “Over the river and through the wood, to Grandmother’s house we go.” But Child deserves to be known more for her activism than for her rhymes. As early as 1831, Child was a prominent advocate for the abolition of slavery. She published a book that called for slaves to be emancipated without compensation to slaveholders, which some historians have hailed as the first time a white person made that argument. But Child was way before her time in many respects—she campaigned for other important causes including Native American rights, interracial marriage rights, and women’s rights. On top of that, Child wrote some of the earliest American historical novels, edited the first children’s magazine, and published the first book specifically designed for the elderly.

Emmy Noether

Some might object to Noether’s face on the $10 bill, since the important mathematician spent much of her life in Germany, not the U.S. But it would be an honor to claim Noether, who immigrated to the U.S. in 1933 and is buried at the Bryn Mawr campus in Pennsylvania, among our national symbols. When Noether was a child, her mathematical education was delayed by German rules against women matriculating at universities. Nevertheless, Noether got her Ph.D. and spent the next seven years teaching mathematics at the University of Erlangen without pay. Her groundbreaking contributions to theoretical physics and abstract algebra finally earned Noether the title of “unofficial associate professor” at the University of Göttingen—but it was 1933 in Germany, and Noether was Jewish. After Hitler stripped Jews of German university positions, Noether found an official position—with a real paycheck!—at Bryn Mawr College. Upon her death, Albert Einstein called her “the most significant creative mathematical genius thus far produced since the higher education of women began.”

Honorable Mentions: Thankfully, I don’t get to include Grace Lee Boggs on this list, because although the American activist, feminist, and author deserves more recognition than she gets, Boggs, who is nearly 100 years old, is still alive. Other amazing women who deserve to be on our currency despite the one minor detail of still being alive include Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female Supreme Court justice; Aretha Franklin, the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; Nancy Dickey, the first female president of the American Medical Association; Ann Dunwoody, the first woman in the U.S. uniformed service to receive a four-star officer rank; and more—so many, many more.

June 17 2015 2:01 PM

Rachel Dolezal Was Raised by Christian Fundamentalists. No Wonder She Wanted a New Identity.

The bizarre story of Rachel Dolezal, the white NAACP official who has been passing herself off as black for years, has been the flashpoint for tons of heated debate and think pieces as well as the inspiration behind some interesting history lessons. But so far there's been relatively little information that could help answer one central question: Why?

Dolezal herself is clearly an erratic and dishonest person, so she's not the most reliable source. But you can find some fascinating background at Homeschoolers Anonymous, a blog primarily focused on people who escaped "the conservative, Christian homeschooling subculture" that is all too often "used to create or hide abuse, isolation, and neglect."

Apparently these escapees from radical fundamentalism spotted Dolezal as one of their own and got to digging. R.L. Stoller, the community coordinator at Homeschoolers Anonymous, claims to have sources who knew the Dolezal family. These sources paint a picture of the Dolezals as adherents to a fundamentalist theory of child-rearing that puts an emphasis on adoption—the Dolezals adopted four children—and basically advises beating children into submission, following the rules established by the infamous Christian child-rearing manual To Train Up a Child. (Kathryn Joyce explored this subculture of Christianity for Slate in 2013.)

This aligns with some of what we already know about Dolezal's family: Her adopted brother, Izaiah Dolezal, sued for emancipation at age 16; he claimed that "my adoptive parents use physical forms of punishment as well as sending children away to other states to group homes (where two of my siblings are) if we don't cooperate with their religion and rules, they make us do manual labor and send us away." Instead of granting his request for emancipation, the court settled on transferring his guardianship to his now infamous older sister, Rachel. 

The real meat of Homeschoolers Anonymous' findings are in excerpts from a memoir written by Dolezal's older biological brother, Joshua, titled Down From the Mountaintop: From Belief to Belonging(He is currently facing charges of sexual abuse against a child.) The memoir paints a picture of religious fanaticism, including passages that describe speaking in tongues; his family's beliefs evoke a Pentecostal strain of the Christian patriarchy–style views of the Duggar clan from TLC's 19 Kids and Counting. (Both the Duggars and the Dolezals apparently endorsed the child-abuse-as-discipline technique known as "blanket training.") Joshua Dolezal describes his father's rages and his mother nearly bleeding to death after a miscarriage, relying on faith-healing instead of modern medicine. He claims he and his sister were born at home without the assistance of a physician or midwife, and listed "Jesus Christ" as the witness on their birth certificates. (Rachel Dolezal said on Tuesday that she was born "in the woods."

If Rachel Dolezal did indeed grow up in an abusive, extremist family, it's of course no excuse for lying about her identity. But the cult-like fundamentalism that festers in so many pockets of our country does real damage to the psyches of people who might grow up to rebel against their upbringing—and even reject their core identity—in the strangest of ways.

June 16 2015 7:36 PM

House Republicans Try to Zero Out Funding for Family Planning

For the past couple of years, no doubt wary of "war on women" messaging, Republicans have been in semi-retreat on chipping away at contraception access. We haven't seen a revival of the attacks on contraception funding that helped nearly shut down the government in 2011. Those defending the Supreme Court's decision in Hobby Lobby v. Burwell focused on minimizing its impact, by incorrectly claiming it only affects some kinds of contraception. Some Republicans offered up a toothless bill supposedly meant to support making the birth control pill over-the-counter. 

That's all changed. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies just offered a budget proposal that would end federal family planning programs. "None of the funds appropriated in this Act may be used to carry out title X of the [Public Health Service] Act," the bill reads. Title X is the only federal program dedicated solely to providing contraception and other preventive reproductive health services

That's right, they're trying to zero out Title X—the only federal program that directly subsidizes contraception—as well as other reproductive health care programs for low-income patients. Affordable STI tests? The pack of $15 birth control pills you get from Planned Parenthood? The Pap smear you got at the public health clinic? They want to get rid of all of it. 

"Cutting the Title X Family Planning program could leave nearly 4.6 million people without care, including women in rural communities and low-income women who rely on Planned Parenthood and other providers for high-quality, affordable care," Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards argued in a statement. No doubt the word "abortion" is going to be tossed around to justify this defunding effort—just as it was in 2011—but this is not about abortion. By law, Title X funds do not and cannot fund abortion. This is about sex and sending the message that you shouldn't be having it for any reason but procreation. 

In case that wasn't clear, the proposal also cuts spending on sex education programs for teenagers by 81 percent, while doubling the budget for abstinence-until-marriage programs. In 2002, only 5 percent of Americans waited until marriage to have sex, a number that has likely shrunk since then. More than 99 percent of women who have had sexual intercourse, whether married or not, have used contraception. This budget is pushing an idea of sexuality that has no relationship whatsoever to how actual Americans live their lives. 

Research shows that programs that make contraception free or at least more affordable lower the abortion rate. If you sincerely care about preventing abortion, you should want to grow Title X so that no woman in this country skips using contraception because she can't afford it. But this fight has never been about abortion. It's about imposing a Victorian ideal of sexuality on women living in the 21st century. 

June 16 2015 11:47 AM

Pregnant, Parenting, and Pro-Choice: A New Tumblr Reminds Us That Pro-Choice Is Not Anti-Baby

In a recent Washington Post profile, NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue explained that a lot of anti-choice activists struggle to wrap their minds around the fact that she's pregnant with twins while fighting for women's right to abort unwanted pregnancies. At a Capitol Hill hearing, Hogue told the Post, an anti-abortion advocate looked at her swollen belly and asked, “Is that real?” Hogue has also “gotten plenty of comments to the effect of,  ‘Now you know what it’s like, so there’s no way you can stay in your position and continue to do this work.’ ”

Anyone who advocates for legal abortion has encountered this attitude, even though a brief glance at statistics shows that it's impossible for every pro-choicer to be a cantankerous child-free sort like myself. In response to Hogue's comments, the reproductive rights website RH Reality Check created a Tumblr called Pregnant, Parenting, and Pro-Choice to highlight the experiences of women who don't feel you should be forced to keep a pregnancy just because they did. (Full disclosure: I have a weekly podcast with RH Reality Check, though I had nothing to do with this project.) 

“Being pro-choice is fundamentally about parenting,” explains editor-in-chief Jodi Jacobson in her introduction to the project, “because it means believing, as the international women’s rights movement has long stated, that every child should be a wanted child, and that, by extension, that every parent is a willing parent.” She includes a photo of her son's baby shower in 1999.

It's not just political rhetoric. More than 60 percent of women who get abortions are already mothers. When asked why they sought abortions, women frequently reference their commitment to responsible parenting. Nearly half cite an unwillingness to be a single mother or concerns about their relationship as a reason for the abortion. A third cite their existing children, saying they worry that another baby might make it hard to care for the ones they have. Nearly three-quarters say they simply can't afford to raise a baby right now. 

This Tumblr is necessary because the belief that pro-choicers hate babies underpins the current anti-choice strategy. If you watch politicians defending abortion restrictions, it becomes clear that the talking point these days is to claim it's about protecting women. Rick Perry, for instance, claims that the massive abortion restrictions he signed in Texas are there to "protect women." Anti-choice activists are always claiming that abortion hurts women. The assumption is that every woman, deep down inside, wants that baby. Abortion providers and pro-choice activists are portrayed as charlatans tricking vulnerable women into abortions. Anti-choicers argue that women have abortions will experience regret and mental health issues from being lured into rejecting their God-given desire to have all the babies. 

It's a theory that only holds together if you assume that pro-choice activists aren't so much pro-woman as anti-baby. It's a silly argument, but the claim that abortion needs to be restricted for women's own good is the argument Texas is likely taking to the Supreme Court soon. Anti-choicers have good reason to believe the gambit will work, too, because it's the argument that swayed Justice Anthony Kennedy in 2007 when he wrote the opinion ruling in favor of a law banning the safest method of later-term abortions. That's why it's more important than ever to remind the public that pro-choicers really are about choice, and not just mindlessly opposed to women having babies. 

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