The 2012 elections are over, and subsequently the “war on women” spurred by Republican challenges to reproductive freedom and women’s health (highlighted by Todd Akin’s comments about “legitimate rape”) seems to be over as well. Unfortunately, it doesn’t need to be an election year for some in Congress to bar women’s access to human rights. The following are some of the most egregiously anti-women politicos of the new 113th Congress:
1. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)
At this point, Michele Bachmann has become almost a cliché for a list of anti-women politicians. But she already has earned her anti-feminist credentials in the 2013 calendar alone: She introduced HR 45, which seeks to rpeal Obamacare, and thus eliminatinates millions of women’s access to preventative medical services and lower-cost health coverage.
2. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.)
The elections of 2012 brought out some of the most reproachable comments from established Republicans about the reproductive rights of women and the acceptability of rape. Alas, this rhetoric has not disappeared, as evidenced by the words of Rep. Phil Gingrey from Georgia, who argues a la Todd Akin in an interview with the Marietta Daily Journal that there are different types of rape, some of which are in fact legitimate. Feministing reports:
“But then [Akin] went on and said that in a situation of rape, of a legitimate rape, a woman’s body has a way of shutting down so the pregnancy would not occur. He’s partly right on that. I’ve delivered lots of babies, and I know about these things.”
Don’t worry: Representative Gingrey is on the Subcommittee on Health on the Committee on Energy, so he will have plenty of opportunity to refine policies that reflect his vast knowledge of women’s health.
3. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)
Right now, the Senate is an exciting place, with more women serving in the Senate than ever before. However, there are still a number of senators dedicated to infringing on the rights of women. Chuck Grassley of erratic Twitter notoriety is also notable for his blocking of the passage of the Violence Against Women Act, which, in spite of its crucial protections for survivors of domestic abuse and its history of ratification without a hitch since 1994, was not passed by the 112th Congress.
Grassley’s objections to the bill primarily stemmed from the new protections provided for LGBT, tribal, and undocumented victims of domestic abuse. As Ian Millhiser at Think Progress points out, “He is literally holding a bill that protects all battered women hostage in order to score a few anti-gay and anti-immigrant points.”
4. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.)
While Eric Cantor is by no means the most anti-woman politician in the House of Representatives, his power in terms of authorizing VAWA earns him a place on the list. Rep. Cantor seems to be holding up the passage of the bill due to the inclusive tenets of the Senate’s version of the bill. It seems critical to note that while VAWA remains unauthorized, shelters and advocates have little funding to protect any victims of domestic violence. And according to Jamil Smith, “Every Democratic woman in the Senate has signed a letter to the Republican women in the House” regarding the urgent need for VAWA’s passage.
Yet Eric Cantor and other House Republicans continue to edit VAWA in a manner palatable for anti-LGBT and immigration advocates at a leisurely pace.
5. Rep. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.)
By now, Rep. Johnson’s questioning of Hillary Clinton about Benghazi is not only well known, but viral. Johnson’s not distanced himself from his demeanor at the testimony, maintaining that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton acted as if she was emotional intentionally to avoid answering his questions. However, Ron Johnson’s line of questioning did lead to the development of this GIF how-to, so he’s done some good things for women.
Being shut down by Hillary was not Johnson’s first time receiving negative coverage for his stance on women’s issues. His advice to women who could not afford birth control in 2011? Google it.
6. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.)
Though Ryan will not be serving as our 44th vice president, he, like Bachmann, is already working overtime to inhibit women’s rights. On the first day of the 113th Congress, he and other House Republicans introduced the Sanctity of Human Life Act, or HR 23, which would define human life as beginning with fertilization. He will also be the keynote speaker for anti-choice group The Susan B. Anthony List’s Campaign for Life Gala.
Clearly Ryan, like all of this Congresspeople featured here, will be doing his part to work against women's rights, whether or not the "war on women" continues to rage.