Huffington Post, June 29, 2012 by Laura Bassett
For years, Democrats and progressive women’s groups have characterized Republican attempts to limit access to abortion — such as mandatory ultrasounds and mandatory waiting periods before abortions — as the ultimate government intrusion into a woman’s personal medical decisions. On Thursday, conservatives usurped the very same pro-choice rhetoric to condemn the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act.
“Women want to make their own decisions when it comes to their health care, with the support of their families and their doctors,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, a conservative, anti-abortion women’s advocacy group. “It’s preposterous to suggest the government would do a better job at deciding what is best for us and our loved ones.”
In March, CWA rejoiced over Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s decision to sign a controversial bill that forces women to undergo medically unnecessary, sometimes intrusive ultrasound procedures before they can receive abortion care. Planned Parenthood, at the time, called the bill “an outrageous example of government overreach into the doctor-patient relationship.”
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who sponsored a mandatory ultrasound bill of her own last year, wrote in a Washington Times op-ed on Thursday that Democrats belong to “a party that believes that government knows what is best for your health care” and “comes between you and your doctor,” while Republicans are the ones who “will repeal this massive intrusion on the freedom of Americans and allow us to make our own health care decisions.”
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), who infamously signed an executive order mandating human papillomavirus vaccines for young girls and a law mandating that women wait 24 hours before receiving an abortion, said of Obamacare on Thursday: “Americans have made clear their overwhelming opposition to its convoluted, burdensome and overreaching mandates.”
The irony of Republicans using this language to bash Obamacare is not lost on progressive women’s rights groups.
“It’s rich that anti-choice groups and politicians are suddenly concerned with medical privacy,” a spokeswoman for NARAL Pro-Choice America said in an email to HuffPost on Friday. “That sounds pretty pro-choice to us.”
“If anti-choice politicians and groups are really concerned about government intrusion into health care, they might want to reconsider their own agenda, which would put a politician into every woman’s doctor’s office, bedroom, and medicine chest.”
Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, said Republicans are latching onto pro-choice arguments because they recognize that that’s what women want to hear.
“It’s the height of hypocrisy coming from that crowd, but it doesn’t surprise me. They don’t have any ideas of their own,” she told HuffPost. “I guess they’ve read the polls and they know that’s exactly what women want — autonomy over their own bodies. Some of these Republicans are so intellectually bankrupt that the best they can do is try to use the language of respect for women, while deeply disrespecting virtually every woman in this country.”
Bachmann, Perry and the Concerned Women for America did not respond to requests for comment on the accusations of hypocrisy.