May 21, 2013
Apparently the GOP learned nothing during the 2012 presidential race because they’re still missing the mark when it comes to women’s issues. Over the weekend the Virginia Republican Party nominated state Sen. Mark Obenshain ( R ) to replace Ken Cuccinelli ( R ), the state’s attorney general. And, as seems to be par for the course for Republican candidates, Obenshain has already alienated women voters – because of a bill he proposed four years ago.
In 2009 Obenshain introduced a bill requiring women to report a miscarriage to the police within 24 hours or face the possibility of up to a year in jail. Adding insult to injury and showing just how little he knows about miscarriages and the reproductive process, Obenshain also included the requirement that the remains of the fetus must not be removed without permission of the authorities. Here’s the text of Obenshain’s bill:
“[SB962] requires that when a fetal death occurs without medical attendance upon the mother at or after the delivery or abortion, the mother or someone acting on her behalf, within 24 hours, report the fetal death, location of the remains, and identity of the mother to the local or state police or sheriff’s department of the city or county where the fetal death occurred. The bill also specifies that no one shall remove, destroy, or otherwise dispose of any remains without the express authorization of law-enforcement officials or the medical examiner, and that a violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor.”
A Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia carries a maximum sentence of 12 months in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500.
Miscarriages frequently occur just weeks into the pregnancy, sometimes before the woman even knows she’s pregnant. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), miscarriage is the most common type of pregnancy loss and anywhere from 10-25 percent of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage.
“Chemical pregnancies may account for 50-75% of all miscarriages. This occurs when a pregnancy is lost shortly after implantation, resulting in bleeding that occurs around the time of her expected period. The woman may not realize that she conceived when she experiences a chemical pregnancy.”
And according to AmericanPregnancy.org (emphasis mine): “Women can experience a miscarriage without knowing it. A missed miscarriage is when embryonic death has occurred but there is not any expulsion of the embryo. It is not known why this occurs.”
Yet these types of pregnancies are detectable. Hormone levels rise during pregnancy and they only gradually drop back to normal levels after a miscarriage. A woman who didn’t even know she’d been pregnant and had a miscarriage could have a routine blood test for completely unrelated reasons and find herself in jail for not reporting a miscarriage.
To be fair, Obenshain quickly pulled his own bill. His deputy campaign manager for policy, Jared Walczak, issued the following statement:
“Senator Obenshain is strongly against imposing any added burden for women who suffer a miscarriage, and that was never the intent of the legislation. He explored possible amendments to address the bill’s unintended consequences, and met with representatives of both Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice in an attempt to identify a solution. Ultimately, however, he was not satisfied that any amendment could sufficiently narrow the scope of the bill to eliminate these unintended consequences, so he had the bill stricken at his own request.”
Call it deja vu, call it history repeating itself, call it arrogance or discrimination or gender bias, or call it what it really is – sheer stupidity. At a time when the GOP has a real chance of taking control of Congress, and possibly the White House in 2016, why do they continue to give Obama the ammunition he needs to make them look like idiots? Did they learn nothing in 2012? Does the GOP not understand the process of vetting their candidates or do they just not think it’s important?
Obenshain introduced his bill in 2009 and then pulled it from the floor. Some might say it’s ancient history but immediately upon his nomination the mainstream media latched onto and highlighted the bill to emphasize the fact that Republicans continue to shoot from the hip, without thinking.
In 2011 Missouri GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin embarrassed the entire party by claiming that victims of “legitimate” rape don’t get pregnant and the media made sure that statement stayed in the forefront throughout the rest of the campaign.
Following Akin’s lead, Indiana GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said that pregnancy as a result of rape was “something that God intended to happen.”
Needless to say, both Senators lost. In fact, Republicans lost heavily and many analysts blamed it on the uproar created by Akin and Mourdock. Karl Rove, American political consultant and policy advisor, said “Offensive comments about rape by Senate candidates in Missouri and Indiana gave the media an excuse to put social issues at the election’s center in a way that badly hurt the entire party, as well as costing Republicans two Senate seats.”
Now Republicans have put themselves on the hot seat again by nominating Obenshain to take over the state’s attorney general slot. However qualified he may be for the job, he still has this bill on his record and the Obama-loving mainstream media is just looking for another reason to pull our attention away from the recent scandals rocking the White House.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had it right when he said the Obama administration was instilling a “culture of intimidation.”
“What we’re talking about here is an attitude that the government knows best,” McConnell said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” after he was asked about the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups for special scrutiny. “The nanny state is here to tell us all what to do. And if we start criticizing, you get targeted.”
Obama is like a schoolyard bully, he and his partners in crime rule by intimidation. Even Republicans who disagree with Obama’s policies stand silently by, shivering in fear, and watch while he annihilates members of their own party. But it’s the fault of Republicans for giving them so much ammunition.
After the Atkins fiasco, Republican Senator John McCain said called for Mourdock’s apology and send his suppport for Mourdock’s campaign “depends on what he does.” Republican Representative Mike Pence said he strongly disagreed with Mourdock’s statement, and President Obama said:
“Rape is rape. It is a crime. These various distinctions about rape don’t make too much sense to me.” So basically, anyone who wants to put any sort of restrictions on abortions can just take a hike.
Obama is taking every opportunity to criminalize his opponents. After the defeat of his gun control initiatives, he lashed out at opponents from both parties, claiming they had “no coherent arguments” and that the NRA and gun lobbyists had “willfully lied.” The next time gun control legislation hits the floor you can bet it will pass because everyone will be thinking, “How could I have been so wrong the last time? If 90 percent of America wants this then I better go along with the crowd.”
In his commencement address before 2013 graduates of The Ohio State University, Obama started in on the alternative media:
“Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems; some of these same voices also doing their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave and creative and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.”
So now we have at least a few Americans who question the sanity of anyone who would disagree with Obama in print, simply because the President told them to.
Now, with three scandals currently rocking the White House, when the Republicans and the American people have legitimate reasons for concern, members of the GOP are clouding the issues and giving Obama another opportunity to redirect the public’s attention.
Republican National Committee chairman and leading conservative, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s statement after initial reports that the IRS had been targeting conservative groups was, “For goodness sake, somebody’s got to be fired, if not go to prison.”
But instead of making a strong demand for accountability, Paul’s premature statement simply gives Obama another opportunity to re-direct attention by saying that Paul’s statements are politically motivated and lack evidence, a case of sour grapes so to speak, essentially calling Paul and anyone who supports him a cry-baby whiny butt.
Appearing on “Meet The Press” this weekend, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell and Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., were both put on the defensive and forced to admit that, while they’d love to see Obama impeached, right now there is no evidence that the IRS targeting of tea party and conservative groups was ordered by the White House. Now, when they do have that evidence, fewer people will listen because Obama has already made them all look like little boys crying wolf.
Millions of Americans would also love to see Obama impeached, or at the very least, sanctioned in some way, but this bully is a powerful foe and he has a lot of supporters. The Obama Machine has grown much too large for some hot-headed loudmouth to just walk onto the playground and take it down. Now it’s going to require “right” as well as “might.”
Right now the American people want answers. Obama’s “I don’t know anything about it” attitude is getting tiresome and a leader who refuses to accept ultimate responsibility quickly loses credibility among his followers. The is the perfect time for the GOP to step up and take this bully down because if they truly had the evidence to do it they’d have the support of the entire nation.
The GOP needs to stop making itself look like an idiot. They need to stop giving Obama the opportunity to point and ridicule. They need to stop giving Obama the opportunity to put them on the defensive and get the public’s attention off of his own misdeeds. In other words, they need to keep their mouths shut, forget about politics, forget about their constituencies and upcoming elections, and keep their minds focused on getting enough evidence to finally make their accusations stick.