TEA Party Republican Representative Keith Regier has been comparing women to cattle again in an analogy that he claims explains our “value.”
Here is the audio of Rep. Regier’s comments in the Senate Judiciary committee this week, but as you’ll hear listening to the clip, the analogy was not well-taken.
As the Montana Lowdown reports, the Senate minority leadership have called on the Republicans in charge to formally censure Rep. Regier. How Senator Peterson and Representative Milburn respond will be telling not only of their characters, but of their ability to reign in the fringe element of their party.
A transcript of the text of the letter sent by Senate Minority Leader Carol Williams, Sen. Kim Gillan, and Sen, Lynda Moss can be read below the fold.
What The Lowdown doesn’t explain are the problems with Regier’s bill, one of a number of fetus-centered laws proposed over the last 8 years in the legislature under the auspices of taking violence against women more seriously by making it a separate crime if the woman is pregnant. But, there are reasons to question this claim. Listening to the legislative testimony for Regier’s bill will show you that the attention lawmakers and advocates have shown for fetuses has not been accompanied by true consideration of the causes, harm, and consequences of domestic violence against women more generally. Nor has there been any meaningful GOP support for legislation to deal with the problem of domestic violence. In other words, the woman is just the vessel, the empty box, the carrying case for the only thing of value, the fetus.
Anti-abortion activists deny that fetal protectionist homicide laws like Regier’s were created to erode abortion rights or to re-criminalize abortion. But these denials should not be accepted at face value. The only proponents for Regier’s bill are the anti-choice lobbyists that testify at all of this anti-choice garbage, while the domestic violence advocates oppose his proposal. And a bill by Rep. Noonan to provide for sentence enhancements for crimes against pregnant women (thereby recognizing that the woman is also a victim) that did not include the anti-choice provision in Regier’s bill was amended to include it in House Judiciary.
President Jim Peterson and Speaker Mike Milburn,
Regretfully, we would like to bring to your attention the comments of Presentative Keith Regier during his bill closing in Senate Judiciary on March 8th 2011. Representative Regier compared women to livestock and property, using terms interchangeably for women and cows. The notion that pregnant women ought to be treated in any way like cattle is offensive, unacceptable, and embarrassing to our legislature. We do not place price tags on women the same way that we do on cattle–and a woman’s worth is not valued based on whether or net she is pregnant. Representative Regier’s analogy was offensive, an insult to all female legislators, to all women in Montana, and to the decorum of our body.
Today is the 100th Annual International Women’s Day. Women in Montana make up a majority of our constituents and play an important roll in our state. Representative Regier’s remarks have gone to far. We ask that you censure Representative REgier under Joint Rules 10-85, “legislators and legislative employees have the right to work free of harassment on account of race, color, sex, culture, social origin or condition, or religious ideas when performing services in furtherance of legislative responsibilities, whether the offender is an employer, employee, legislator, lobbyist, or member of the public,” and we also request that he pubilcly apologize to the Senate, House, and the women of Montana.
Senator Carol Williams, Minority Leader
Senator Kim Gillan, Minority Whip
Senator Lynda Moss, Judiciary Committee Chair