In some countries women are forced to marry their rapists. In some countries the military systematically rapes women. In some countries female children are forced into marriage before they’ve entered their teens.
It all sounds pretty extreme and barbaric, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, America could soon be included on the list of countries that disregard the rights of the women who live there.
While we have nothing as draconian as forced marriage to a rapist here in the U.S., some members of Congress and state legislators would force a rape victim to carry her rapist’s baby to term. These elected officials would force a woman to sacrifice her own life for that of her baby.
There is no question that women in the Middle East, Africa and other developing countries face incredible oppression. But when you examine the American War on Women, a callous hostility toward the well-being of women is creeping into our public discourse and government policy.
MORE: The War on Women’s Worst Quotes—As Voiced by Women
A few days ago, Missouri Senate Candidate, Representative Todd Akin, best known for his “legitimate rape” comments, was asked why he believes it is acceptable for a woman to be paid less than a man for doing the same exact job. Akin responded:
“I believe in free enterprise. I don’t think the government should be telling people what you pay and what you don’t pay. I think it’s about freedom. If somebody wants to hire someone and they agree on a salary, that’s fine, however it wants to work. So the government sticking its nose into all kinds of things has gotten us into huge trouble.”
In 1776 Abigail Adams wrote to her husband at the Constitutional Convention and asked him to “Remember the Ladies.”
Interestingly, when it comes to a woman’s right to choose, however, Representative Akin and his fellow Republicans are willing to stick their noses in women’s business.
There has been one anti-woman vote in the House of Representatives each and every week it has been in session since January 2011. Some of these votes have undermined efforts as simple as nutrition programs and health information for low-income new and expectant mothers. House Republicans have voted against numerous acts designed to help women, including the Paycheck Fairness Act, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Violence Against Women Act.
VAWA essentially provides support to victims of rape and domestic violence and makes it harder for offenders to escape prosecution. This begs the question: How could anyone anywhere ever be against this act?
In a world where some nations cannot even stand the sight of a woman in an IKEA catalog, shouldn’t America be on the forefront of gender equality? In a country founded on the principles of justice and freedom for ALL, shouldn’t we be leading the fight for, not against, women’s rights?
In 1776 Abigail Adams, the second First Lady of the United States, wrote to her husband at the Constitutional Convention and asked him to “Remember the Ladies.”
While America has made some strides since then (today the future president’s wife would at least be allowed to attend the Convention, though Representative Akin might remind her to be ladylike), Abigail Adams’s admonition—Remember the Ladies!—seems more relevant than ever.
As long as some people are intent on taking the country back to 1776, the fight for true equality in America is not over.
What is the greatest danger in America to women’s rights? Leave an alert in COMMENTS.
Related Stories on TakePart:
• Anna Breslaw’s 600-Word Sprint: The Oxymoronic Rise of Anti-Rape Zealotry
• A Primer for Men On Women's Rights
• Clip of the Day: Raging Grannies Skewer Rep. Todd Akin with ‘Legitimate Rape’ Song
Jenna Shapiro is a high school senior in New York City who is passionate about writing and environmental issues. She has previously worked with EcoLogic Solutions. In her free time she can be found reading, biking, or walking her adorable dogs!