Not Enough Women
Yesterday, one of my female friends said to me, "isn't there some way of making it so that men don't get to vote on a women's right to choose?" Normally, I would have said that progressive, male feminists are among our staunchest allies, which is true, and that there are far too many women who vote anti-choice to make that work, even if it were possible, which it obviously isn't. But I have to say that after looking at these numbers, I can see her point:
There are only 76 women in the House out of 435 --- 17%. 59 of them are Democrats and 17 are Republicans. Three of the Democrats are non-voting members (DC, Virgin Islands and Guam.)
Out of the 56 women in the Democratic caucus, only two voted for Stupak. All 17 Republican women voted for it.
What this adds up to is that 97% of the Democrats who voted for the Stupak amendment were male. 90% of the Republicans were male.
I would have to guess that if more than 17% of the congress were women, there would be a little bit less likelihood that women's rights would be so often used as a handy tool to placate neanderthals. That's just a guess. Habits are hard to break.
I have been very critical of the Obama administration's willingness to entertain this "common ground" strategy on abortion rights and the president himself, like many of his elite male cohort, often gives the impression that women's rights are just another annoying special interest that has to stand in line with the sugar producers and the medical supply manufacturers to get "favors." And when you see them willing to blithely bargain away access to abortion over and over again, from the rare late term procedures to this new "fungible" argument for eliminating insurance coverage if subsidies are involved, they reinforce the impression that this is an issue they wish would just go away. They certainly don't seem in any way animated by the principles involved --- it's just something they are dragged into against their will to placate a whiny constituency that refuses to stop nagging them.
Apparently Obama called congressional Reps personally and told them to "work it out" on abortion but he never weighed in on his own preferences, thereby letting everyone know that he really didn't give shit.(Of course after his comments that the Hyde Amendment is an American "tradition" we shouldn't be surprised.) If anyone is expecting him to go into the conference and side with those who want to strip the Stupak Amendment from the final bill, I think they are going to be disappointed. It's pretty clear by now that women's and gay issues are being sacrificed to keep the conservative status quo on life support until it can fully recover.