President Reagan also sent this country off the tracks by launching the Republican war on women in the summer of 1980. In the name of pandering to anti-feminist fundamentalists, Reagan began the process by which the GOP, and America’s overall political culture, began to turn against half the population.
There was a time when Republicans were bold voices for choice, a time when even prominent members of the Bush family embraced Planned Parenthood. Those days are long gone, thanks to Reagan’s transformation of the GOP. Today, being a Republican means being for a government big enough to get between a woman and her doctor.
What Republicans will never admit is that legalized abortion benefited this country. It economically liberated women and reduced the circumstances that lead to child neglect and child abuse. It ensured that every child was a wanted child. From a certain perspective, what would be more “pro-life” than that?
Imagine what would happen to this country if five right-wing Supreme Court judges overturned Roe v. Wade. As previously noted, rich women would be fine. Women who weren’t rich, however, would have their lives jeopardized, forced to pursue illegal back-alley abortions again, compelled to use extreme measures to avoid unwanted pregnancies. Imagine how many women in this country would be, in effect, put to death by the Supreme Court.
Remember when Colin Powell was booed at the 1996 Republican National Convention when he said he supported a woman’s right to choose?. Those who booed Powell were brought to the party by Reagan, who taught them that they didn’t have to give a damn about women’s rights, didn’t have to give a damn about women’s independence, didn’t have to give a damn about women’s freedom. Reagan taught a generation of men to disrespect women, and taught a generation of women to disrespect themselves and forfeit their rights.
January 22, 1973 was a great day in American history, a day when the United States Supreme Court declared that women were truly equal. America’s misogynists resented that day, and Reagan seized upon their evil emotions to obtain the presidency. Since the day Reagan walked into the White House, American women have had to look over their shoulder, knowing that their rights and freedoms are hanging in the balance. Is that any way to live? If the answer is no, why don’t we do something to stop it?
NEXT: We can repeal Reaganism.