As Contraception Fight Takes Center Stage, Women Voters Turning From Romney
The political returns from attacking access to contraception are in. Women don’t seem to like it.
While Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney hasn’t led the charge against the Obama Administration’s proposed new federal rules that require an insurance carrier to provide birth control free of charge to women, he certainly echoed the theme that the provisions are an assault on religious liberty, while steering clear of making it a central issue on the campaign.
Unfortunately for him, it seems he’s still suffered a precipitous drop in support among women voters.
Quinnipiac University released new numbers on Wednesday that showed a troubling trend for the former governor. In three months, he’d gone from a positive split on favorability with women (33 – 30) to a substantially negative one (30 – 45) in Quinnipiac’s numbers.
That’s a huge 18 point swing in a 3 month period. The poll also shows that women approve of President Obama’s birth control policy 54-38.
Further evidence of the GOP’s self-inflicted wound came in the form of Virgina Governor Bob McDonnell’s tactical retreat on the issue of forced vaginal probes of women seeking an abortion. The Pat Robertson Regent University grad saw his vice presidential aspirations begin to shrink after he announced his intentions to sign the bill into law.
As many predicted, implementing the rape of women with ultrasounds and probes is not politically savvy. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, who had initially promised to sign the bill requiring women to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound before terminating a pregnancy has had a change of heart. Today, in a statement, The Governor asks the General Assembly to amend the bill, so that only a transabdominal, or external, ultrasound would be required.
Still, a mandated transabdominal ultra-sound is as medically unnecessary as an internal probe, and serves the larger purpose of humiliating and intimidating women seeking to terminate a pregnancy.
Meanwhile, the Dems had a hearing of their own on women’s reproductive rights. (Surprise: the Rethug leadership refused them access to the House’s television cameras). The hearing featured the Georgetown law student that the Rethugs wouldn’t allow to testify in the original hearing, Sandra Fluke. Among other things she said that she abhors women’s health issues being used as a political football.
But as numerous women have said over the past few days, if the Rethugs want to make this a campaign issue– bring it on. I’ll bet they’ll find themselves in the same situation as their mascot in the picture above.
UPDATE (3/4/12): Nick Kristof reminds us in his NY Times op-ed today about Texas‘ existing law:
HERE’S what a woman in Texas now faces if she seeks an abortion.
Under a new law that took effect three weeks ago with the strong backing of Gov. Rick Perry, she first must typically endure an ultrasound probe inserted into her vagina. Then she listens to the audio thumping of the fetal heartbeat and watches the fetus on an ultrasound screen.
She must listen to a doctor explain the body parts and internal organs of the fetus as they’re shown on the monitor. She signs a document saying that she understands all this, and it is placed in her medical files. Finally, she goes home and must wait 24 hours before returning to get the abortion.
“It’s state-sanctioned abuse,” said Dr. Curtis Boyd, a Texas physician who provides abortions. “It borders on a definition of rape. Many states describe rape as putting any object into an orifice against a person’s will. Well, that’s what this is. A woman is coerced to do this, just as I’m coerced.”
“The state of Texas is waging war on women and their families,” Dr. Boyd added. “The new law is demeaning and disrespectful to the women of Texas, and insulting to the doctors and nurses who care for them.”