It’s time for national women’s groups to shift their focus to state races.
With less than four weeks left until election day, Romney/Ryan’s disdain for women’s rights and support for forced births for rape victims are of understandable concern to national women’s health groups because of future Supreme Court appointments.
NARAL Pro-Choice America, national Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and EMILY’s List seem to be concentrated on the outcome in the presidential and congressional elections. But races for governor, attorney general, and state legislature are arguably more important.
According to a recent report compiled by NARAL Pro-Choice America, states are ground zero of the War on Women.
No matter how you look at it, anti-choice and anti-women measures at the state level received unprecedented attention in 2011. The Guttmacher Institute reports that “in the 50 states combined, legislators introduced more than 1,100 reproductive health and rights-related provisions, a sharp increase from the 950 introduced in 2010. By year’s end, 135 of these provisions had been enacted in 36 states.”
They aren’t just targeting abortion either. Access to birth control and preventative care, equal insurance prices, and equal pay for women are also under attack.
Many of these provisions are laws passed by wingnut legislatures and signed by anti-woman governors. In Montana, legislators introduced a record number of anti-choice bills. Thankfully, we had a democratic Governor who vetoed these bills. Rick Hill meanwhile wants forced births for rape victims. He would sign it into law – along with dozens of other anti-woman bills – during his first few months in office.
Anti-choice attorney generals are now discovering they have an enormous amount of power over women’s rights and are ramping up their attacks.
Attorney General Ken Cucinelli is in the news for forcing 20 new medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion providers – even though abortion is one of the safest and most regulated medical procedures. If Virgina’s AG has his way, most of the state’s abortion clinics could close. In Wisconsin the War on Women’s foot soldiers are asking the attorney general to bar medical schools from teaching how to perform abortions. Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline is featured in GQ magazine in an article that labels him “the most aggressive abortion litigator in the land.” The nine-page article carries the headline, “This man will do anything to stop abortion.”
If Tim Fox, who supports forced birth for rape victims, is elected he’ll start implementing this garbage in Montana immediately.
Sure, there are some grassroots state organizations doing what they can to influence these races, but without much money. National GOP and corporate PACs meanwhile are dumping hundreds of thousands into state races at an alarming rate. Clearly, the right knows where the fight is. Unless national women’s groups realize it–and shift their focus to states, now–it will be too late.