Sarah Palin, Parental Consent, & How Her Political Ideologies Damage Women’s Health

sarah-palin Let me make this clear: Sarah Palin's legacy in Alaska has been an anti-woman one. Apparently Sarah Palin thinks it’s cool to put young women in high risk situations with their family by requiring that they get parental consent for reproductive services. Alaska State officials have certified a bill requiring parental consent before obtaining an abortion. The initiative will be showing up on a 2010 ballot in Alaska if they receive roughly 32,000 votes before the legislation begins in January.

In other words, young women aren’t smart enough to make informed decisions about their own bodies and as a result, the government should be mandating that their parents make those decisions for them. Come on people. When are we going to wake up and smell the hazelnut coffee with vanilla creamer? Women are not stupid; they know full well before entering a clinic for an abortion what they are getting themselves into. Conservative nut jobs in this country would like you to believe that they are helpless victims without responsibility or consciousness. I beg to differ.

I want to talk about this parental consent law for a moment. It is an anti-choice, anti-woman’s rights legislation. For starters, foundational to the belief that women should have to notify their parents about the choices they make regarding their bodies, is sexism. Despite the legality of abortion in this country (not mentioning accessibility issues), politicians around the country are deciding to make an exception to the rule of law by undermining young women’s capacity to be autonomous human beings with subjectivity and self worth. Suddenly we’ve found another excuse (eg. age) to tear women down and create political barriers to accessing health care services. Age, really??

Parental consent laws perpetuate violence against women in the family. Seriously. If a woman, under the age of 18, has a close, comfortable, and safe relationship with her family, she’s most likely going to dialogue with her parents about the decision to seek an abortion. With that being said, those who are not telling their parents – HAVE A DAMN GOOD REASON FOR IT. Contrary to what the religious right in this country would like you to believe, teenage girls think long and hard about this stuff. If a young woman decides that it is not in her best interest, physically and emotionally, to tell her parents about an abortion, then she shouldn’t be forced by the government to do so anyway.

Sarah Palin is scared that the facts might just tell the truth. Not only are thousands of young woman subjected to brutal violence because of various Parental Consent laws in this country, they are also causing woman to seek out abortions later in their pregnancy. I’m certainly not opposed to a woman’ right to terminate a pregnancy whenever the hell she wants, but you would think the right wing Republicans who apparently “value” life would prefer young woman have the option to seek these services earlier. Oh the hypocrisy. The worst part about this: Sarah Palin is hiding the truth so that she can push forward her assault on women’s health in the state of Alaska.

Apparently the media is attacking Palin. Many claim that as the warrant behind her leaving office a tad bit early. I call bullshit. Did everyone forget about her telling Hillary Clinton to stop whining Ya, that was my hypocrisy watch of the day. And Billy Turner, that one was for you.

Regardless, sexist attacks against any woman in the media is horrific and should be called out and ridiculed. My good friend, Billy Turner, who works for the Orange County Republican office, likes to tell me all the time that he thinks Palin is unfairly treated and not defended. Once again, I call bullshit. The feminists in this country worked tirelessly during the campaign to fight back any sexist behavior on behalf of the media. And they still are. I didn’t see the litany of right wing woman-hating bloggers and journalists in this country defending her, I saw the feminist community doing it.

But lets get something perfectly clear here. A.) Republicans have only recently decided to take interest in the sexism debate because it benefits them politically. Not because they care about women. I mean come on, Rush Limbaugh called Hillary Clinton’s daughter the “white house dog.” and B.) There is a fundamental difference between interrogating and exposing Sarah Palin’s destructive war against women’s rights in this country, and making sexist attacks about her ability to be a mother and a politician. Don’t throw us all into the same category.

In the end I think it would serve the people of the United States some justice to leave the sexist opinions behind, and start exposing Sarah Palin for what she truly is: a right wing Republican with social and political beliefs that disenfranchise and dehumanize women.

About aj:
Andrew (AJ) is a vehement progressive, youth activist, and reproductive justice organizer. When he's not busy with the movement, you can usually find him dancing in the club or watching trashy reality tv.

Comments

  1. freewomyn says:

    Don’t throw us in the same category, indeed.

  2. Mrs. Mastro says:

    Sarah Palin is a prime example of the *many* reasons why feminism has moved beyond female anatomy and why we must continue to embrace a broader agenda. She does not speak for me, nor does her vagina give her the right to be an assbag.

    Can a mother of five be an effective politician? Absolutely. I, however, am not interested in electing a mother of five who believes in abstinence only sex education.

  3. well put Mrs. Mastro.

  4. Sarah Palin has been a great inspiration to me. Her strength and ambition is what we as women should strive for. I do admire her dedication to her children and husband. She’s not perfect by any means, but at least she doesn’t pretend to be something she’s not, such as many women these days. What I see now days is that many feminist are angry and envious against other women. For what reason? I can’t explain it.

  5. Rachel, I really appreciate your comment, and I think its great that a woman in politics has inspired you in such a meaningful way. With that being said, I don’t think its fair to generalize “feminist now a days” who are “envious” of other women. I don’t know where exactly the logic is behind that; I think what women are is angry about the policies that Sarah Palin continues to support. They are anti-woman, and they are destructive to woman’s health. There is nothing wrong with the feminist community pointing this out. In fact, we do it all the time – particularly when male politicians support policies that seek to disenfranchise women, we shouldn’t hold back on mounting the same criticism just because Sarah Palin is a woman and happens to have inspired a large group of people.

    The problem that I take with your statement is where you call women “envious.” As if any time a woman critique’s the actions or belief’s of another woman, she must be catty and jealous. Thats the same kind of rhetoric that is used to poke fun and discredit woman who have strong opinions, particularly in politics.

    I don’t know about all the women reading this post, but I, as a gay man, am most certainly not envious or jealous of Sarah Palin. I hate fishing, I think hunting is repulsive, I strongly disagree with abstinence only education, and I most certainly would never live in Alaska. I’m not sure what there is to be jealous of? :)

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