We wanted to address some issues we had regarding “Observing America: A War on Women?” because the op-ed presents women as the issue rather than as citizens. The way in which we discuss issues that directly impact women’s human rights, such as access to health care and economic stability, demonstrates the second-class status of women in this nation.
The way in which the op-ed equates the verbal assault on Sandra Fluke and the comments made about Ann Romney exaggerates Rosen’s comments and downplays the degradation Fluke experienced. Hilary Rosen’s remarks about Romney being “out of touch” were not an attack on motherhood but instead a statement about the one percent. Romney is in an economic position to be able to make motherhood her sole job. The majority of women do not have the financial security to do this.
In contrast, the Sandra Fluke incident was a direct attack on women, specifically women’s sexuality. Conservatives have used sexuality as moral grounds to strip women of their access to health care. There is a prevalent stigma that health care providers like Planned Parenthood have the sole purpose of promoting safe sex, when in actuality many middle and working class women depend on Planned Parenthood for maternal care among other women’s health concerns. Mitt Romney has stated he intends to “get rid” of Planned Parenthood, which directly conflicts with defending the dignity of motherhood since that would deny many women basic maternal care (http://tinyurl.com/6pktvmy).
While Rush Limbaugh’s derogatory insults directed at Fluke are an extreme example, portraying women as an outside party is equally damaging to women’s status in the United States.
The article states that, “[Politicians] need to focus on what women care about if they really want to win the election,” and the only way to do that is to engage women in the conversation. Clearly there has been great misrepresentation of women in these debates that affect our basic human right to health care and our livelihoods. Want to know what women “really care about”? Ask us.