Along with Republican Senator Pete Olson, from Texas, many people think reproductive health care access is something only women need, so, as he says, why should all of us have to pay for it!? Olson, who represents the 22nd district in Texas, made these comments during a radio interview show. He was discussing the Senate’s proposed health care replacement bill, known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), noting that he had several “problems” with the bill, particularly around the idea of essential health benefits.
“and one of those conditions — this is care for all, includes you and me — it’s prenatal care…I think we [men] all have what we call an X chromosome…which means we can’t have a baby. Why do we have to pay for that coverage that we can’t use?”
Several women’s rights organizations took Olson to task for his comments, including NARAL Pro-Choice America, who called the representative out in a series of tweets. “If women stopped having babies, the economy would quite literally crumble. Good maternity care is in everyone’s best interest,” the organization’s Twitter account wrote. “Women don’t get pregnant by themselves. If Texas had comprehensive sex ed, that might be more clear to you, but here’s another reminder.”
Without going into the politics and the absurdities and the hypocrisy of male politicians, here’s another thought:
They are disassociating themselves from women – we don’t need that kind of care; these things are important to women, but not to men, etc.
In the June 5-12, 2017 issue of National magazine, in talking about the upcoming Democratic primary governor race in Virginia, the article compared positions on various issues held by the now-lieutenant governor, Ralph Northam and his opponent, a former VA congress member, Tom Pierriello. Pierriello is a progressive; he supports the economic changes that would help wrest power from the plutocrats; but is less than solid on his support for Planned Parenthood, access to reproductive health care, abortion rights etc.
On the other hand, Northam has a 100% rating from NARAL, and is, as the Nation says, “unapologetically pro-choice.” Yet, he doesn’t seem to “get it” – he says, about pro-choice, that “it is very, very important to women.” I take issue with that – yes it is important to women, but it is also, or should be, important to men.
Just as the National Organization FOR Women has often had to explain that anyone, men and women alike, may belong to and be active in NOW, so the pro choice issue is important FOR women and both men and women are essential to the struggle to achieve that goal.
Wouldn’t it be better if men were as invested in the rights of women as women are, if fighting for equal rights were all inclusive, not just a “women’s issue”? Wouldn’t Northam get more support if he realized that men have to think it is an important issue too, by saying it is “very important FOR women”?
I know we don’t live in Virginia, and don’t have to make that choice, but it is just one example of the way men trivialize women’s concerns, and I, for one, am tired of it. If all politics is personal and the personal is political, it behooves each of us to call out men (and women) who don’t understand that women’s issues are civil rights issues and that they affect all of us, not just the X chromosome bunch.
Angie King is the coordinator of the local NOW group.