In the past 18 months alone, Republicans have pursued or enacted proposal after proposal to take away healthcare for women, make healthcare more expensive for women, make it harder for poor and uninsured women to access reproductive healthcare, all while rolling back regulations for tackling sexual assault on college campuses. And right now, at this second, there’s a battle being waged in Washington, where on one side there are people who think it’s worth knowing the full sexual assault history of a potential lifetime appointee to the United States Supreme Court. And on the other side, there is the Republican Party.
The Republican response to the alarming sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, has been more of the same. Republican Senate Judiciary Spokesman Taylor Foy issued a statement lauding Kavanaugh’s integrity. Senator Lindsey Graham voiced concern over the “substance and process” of Ford’s allegations. Only one Republican member of the Judiciary Committee has given any signal that the confirmation should be delayed—and he’s retiring from the Senate following the elections.
Where are the Republican women of the Senate on Kavanaugh? Where is Senator Susan Collins of Maine? Where is Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska? In the past, they have been two voices of reason in an increasingly unreasonable party—each favor abortion rights and affordable healthcare access. Their failure to immediately call for a postponement of the Kavanaugh vote is striking. Are they capitulating to their party’s escalation of the war on women? This war has victims, and they are piling up at an alarming rate.
When Mollie Tibbetts was killed, Republican leaders in the House were quick to share posts using the tragedy to promote anti-immigration policies. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise both sent tweets using her murder to focus on immigration. The official White House Twitter account posted about Mollie’s death to promote anti-immigrant policy and even made a glib comparison to its despicable family separation policy. Of course, none of them cared that Mollie herself had an evolved view of immigration, was critical of the President’s hypocrisy on the issue, and expressed progressive views on her own Twitter account.
Mollie Tibbetts was killed by a man—a man who saw her and preyed upon her. In the past several weeks, we’ve seen this story over and over: women stalked, attacked, and too often killed by men. Shannan Wattsand her children in Colorado. Gabrielle Bessix in Baton Rouge—who had been granted a restraining order against her killer in the days before she was killed. Petra Maribel Bolaños De Casarez was gunned down by her ex-husband in Bakersfield. Nia Wilson was stabbed to death. Belinda Kramer was shot in Oregon, and thankfully, ultimately survived. Women are dramatically more likely to be victims of sexual violence and stalking than men.
It’s no secret that this President is the enemy of women. And it is women who will bear the brunt of his Supreme Court nomination.
This has taken place in a Congress where Democrats rightfully face consequences for abusive behaviors toward women. Senator Al Franken resigned his seat when allegations were brought forward. So did Representative John Conyers, following loud and public calls from both parties for them to resign.
Not only did Trump state the he would apply a litmus test and nominate only those who would overturn Roe v. Wade to the Supreme Court, he sourced his list of potential judges from the Federalist Society, and the Heritage Foundation. These right-wing extremist organizations both have a long history of anti-women policies and proposals.
Republicans have been substantially quieter when it comes to their own party. Blake Farenthold brazenly stayed in Congress for months following allegations of sexual misconduct and the revelation that he had used tens of thousands of dollars in public funds used to settle claims against him—and his party was tepid at best in their rejection of him. He’s now a lobbyist. Of course, a party that gets behind a President with multiple accusersseems to have no problem at all with this behavior.
To Republican leaders, this anti-women agenda is a feature, not a bug. It is part of their larger strategy to expand its war on women in the Trump era.
The thing is, it is women who can stop it. Senators Collins and Murkowski, we need you. We need you now. Your party doesn’t seem to care about us. Do you?