Months ago, it seemed that all anyone wanted to discuss was what they called the Republican Party’s “War on Women.” From the February 2011 vote to defund Planned Parenthood to a February 2012 bill proposed in Pennsylvania that would require women seeking abortions to undergo an ultrasound, to speakers being told not to use the words “uterus” or “vagina” on the House floor to a transvaginal ultrasound bill that went into effect in Virginia on July 1st, access to birth control and the right to an abortion have caused contentious debate and driven a wedge through our country.
And yet, as the hazy days of summer pass and November draws ever closer, popular debate is coming to center around other topics. Mitt Romney’s still-undisclosed tax returns have received top billing in the past few weeks; meanwhile, the Republican Party has been too busy attempting to overturn Obamacare to try to overturn Roe vs. Wade.
Has America forgotten about its women already? Well, no. There are a number of important issues that need to be discussed before election day, from foreign policy to the economy to, yes, women’s rights. Mitt Romney still has yet to choose a running mate; election season is hardly over. And although issues like abortion and contraception affect women more directly than men (which is, of course, a whole other issue to discuss), we’re still engaged in every other aspect of this election. Obamacare affects us. Outsourcing affects us. The fact that, as Mother Jones put it, “we’re still at war” affects us.
Simply put, it makes sense that we’re talking about more than reproductive issues, because we have other—I will not say bigger, because it’s up to every individual to prioritize which issues are most important to him or her—things to talk about. Don’t think for a second, though, that women don’t still care about our bodies. I believe that one would be remiss to think that, just because we’re not currently talking about reproductive issues as much as we previously were, they won’t be on our minds in November. In fact, I think that the opposite is true.
We’ve moved on to discussing the other important issues because our minds are made up on this one. I don’t think that there’s anything the Republican Party can do to sway women for whom access to contraception and the right to have an abortion is a top priority. While Romney hasn’t been as vocally against abortion and contraception as many Republicans in Congress have been, I do think that many will hold him accountable for the bills his party has submitted.
The “War on Women” stems from fundamental ideological differences that will not be resolved by conversation. Just because the feminists are holding our breath doesn’t mean that we’ll hold our votes.