Categories: Featured News

Republicans Wish Women Happy Mother’s Day While Treating Them Like Second Class Citizens

Today millions of Americans will honor their mothers for the sacrifice, compassion and care they gave in rearing their children, and as a holiday it was set aside to acknowledge not only mothers and motherhood, but maternal bonds and the influence of mothers in society. Whether Republicans care for and respect their own mothers is questionable, but it is not difficult to imagine they have contempt for all mothers in America after they spent the past two years waging war on women, their equal rights, and their reproductive health. The disregard conservatives typically have for women was on display this past week courtesy of the National Rifle Association, and although it may not represent the sentiments of all Republicans, it certainly is a microcosm of conservative’s attitudes toward women; including mothers, sisters, wives, and potential mothers.

Last weekend in Texas, the National Rifle Association held their annual convention in Houston, and included among vendors selling killing paraphernalia was a company selling targets representing an ex-girlfriend that bleeds when it is shot. The more the target is hit, the more it bleeds and it is a reminder that violence against women is well-received and accepted as a normal way for men to keep women in their place. It is irrelevant the company labeled the target a “former girlfriend,” because girlfriends, like all women, can be mothers or potential mothers, and although Republicans have not yet sanctioned using firearms against women, they have taken extraordinary steps to attack mothers and potential mothers with hundreds of bills targeting women.

The NRA that Republicans willingly support in their drive to put more guns in Americans hands are complicit in escalating violence against women, particularly by their intimate partners most likely to have fathered their children. Of all the leading causes of injury and death women face, domestic violence exceeds accidents, assaults, and rapes combined, and in 2010 “nearly six times more women were shot by and killed by husbands or intimate acquaintances than were killed by male strangers.” Also, a woman’s chances of being killed by an abusive partner are seven times higher if the man owns or has access to a gun and Republicans have fought ferociously to increase those numbers by helping the NRA put more guns in the hands of men with a tendency toward violence by blocking expanded background checks to purchase a firearm. However, Republicans have directly assaulted women with renewed vigor since the beginning of the 112th Congress.

One of the first items on the agenda when Republicans took control of the House in 2011 was delineating rape as legitimate, requested, and/or warranted, and when they refused to make allowances for incest or the health of the mother as a condition for abortion services, they made it clear mothers are insignificant in comparison to a life-threatening pregnancy. In several state legislatures, Republicans either attempted to pass, or passed, legislation giving full 14th amendment protections and citizenship to a single-celled organism (zygote), and subjugated the mother to second-class status unworthy of equal rights Republicans bestowed on a fertilized egg. It is the ultimate expression of hatred toward mothers that some Republicans will pretend to honor on Mother’s Day.

When the Violence Against Women Act was due to be reauthorized last year, Republicans balked at passing the normally bi-partisan legislation because they believed Native American and gay mothers were not worthy of protection against male predators who often use firearms against women and were likely who the “former girlfriend” targets that bleed when shot were manufactured for. The same Republicans blocked passage of equal pay for women, most of whom are mothers,  for no other reason than conservatives typically regard women as being of less worth than a man, and it is particularly harsh as more mothers are breadwinners in the family.

The religious-right and Republicans who fought against including contraception in health plans was more than just an assault on women’s right to choose when they give birth, it was a direct attack on mothers who chose to not stay barefoot and pregnant throughout their childbearing years as well as condemning them to a life of financial stress if they are relegated to little more than birth machines. Republicans have also used their austerity madness to combat the phony debt and deficit meme by attempting to defund Planned Parenthood and impose cuts to programs like Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nutritional assistance that are direct attacks on poor mothers. The list of Republican assaults on mothers is without end, and on the day America sets aside to honor mothers, Republicans and their patriarchal supporters cannot legitimately claim to have any more regard for mothers, even their own, than they do safety nets or environmental protections.

All mothers deserve to be honored more than just one designated day for carrying their children for nine months and for caring and rearing them until they are adults. The sacrifice they make every day for their children puts them in a special category among human beings and yet, in America, conservatives have gone to great lengths to dishonor them because of their gender and role outlined in the Christian bible. For Republicans and their supporters to claim they honor their mothers when they have deliberately and with malice aforethought attempted to punish, through legislation, them in the long-running war against women is the height of hypocrisy and that includes mothers who support Republicans. It must be excruciating for mothers to hear their Republican children say “Happy Mother’s Day” at the same time they support policies that dishonor them as second-class human beings, but because they are mothers, they accept, love, and defend their woman-hating children unconditionally; a quality their children obviously never learned. Happy Mother’s Day!

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