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Republican Women Are Upset. I Don't Care.
This nightmare is exactly what they worked and voted for
When South Carolina advanced a version of their abortion ban without exceptions for rape or incest, Republican Sen. Katrina Shealy laid into her male colleagues, saying the law disgusted her and “was made up by a legislature full of men so they can take a victory lap and feel good about it.” Republican Sen. Sandy Senn also opposed the legislation. “If what is going on in my vagina isn’t an unreasonable invasion of privacy for this legislature to get involved in, I don’t know what is,” she said.
Videos of the two women have gone viral over the last week, shared on social media and mainstream news outlets, with people lauding them for “bravely” speaking up against such a cruel law.
I have a request: Can we not?
These are women who spent their careers enabling misogyny, supporting a party that sees women as less than human, and voting for legislation that limits other women’s human rights. (Sen. Shealy co-sponsored a near-total abortion ban just last year!)
This post-Roe nightmare is exactly what Republican women worked and voted for. So they don’t get to act surprised that children will be forced to give birth. They don’t get to be furious that—as yet another seemingly shocked lawmaker put it—the law treats women as “baby machines.” And these women who threw the rest of us under the bus certainly don’t get to be congratulated for doing the absolute bare fucking minimum after the worst has already happened.
I mean really: What exactly did they expect? That they could align themselves with men who would just as soon not have female legislators at all, and that the women of this country would be fine? That they could support law after law rolling back women’s rights but that when finally given carte blanche, their male colleagues wouldn’t try to erase every bit of progress we’ve made? Spare me.
The same is true for women who always voted Republican, now suddenly horrified by our post-Roe reality. These past few months, I’ve read story after story of women who were anti-abortion until they found themselves unable to get medical care for a life-threatening pregnancy or severe fetal abnormality. While I have an incredible amount of empathy for anyone whose health is endangered by their pregnancy—I’ve been there and know how awful it is—these are women who only started caring about abortion once it impacted them personally.
Being selfish your whole life doesn’t mean you deserve praise once you realize shit might get awful for you, too.
You can argue that this is exclusionary or alienating. Maybe it is. But right now, in this moment of nonstop medical crises and devastated women, I don’t really care. And if my very justified anger is enough to stop someone from doing the right thing and casting a vote to stop this horror-show—then their political turnaround wasn’t very sincere to begin with.
Besides, Americans already want abortion to be legal, and voters already believe the bans are unnecessary and cruel. This fight isn’t about having enough people on our side—but stopping those who would force laws onto voters who don’t want them.
And while I understand why people are sharing videos and stories of Republican women speaking up—they believe there’s power in showing how even conservatives find the bans inhumane—the truth is that we don’t need them. The laws that these women enabled, and their already-pervasive and brutal consequences, speak for themselves.
Obviously, my feelings on this aren’t just political, but personal. Feminists predicted everything that’s happening right now. For decades, we screamed from the rooftops about the consequences of making abortion illegal, just to have women like the ones who are now-shocked say we were being hysterical or extreme. They mocked and dismissed us—then voted over and over for laws they thought would never come for them or the people they care about.
I’m not willing to make these women feel better about what they’ve done. I’m not going to applaud Republican voters for their too-little, too-late regrets, or be grateful for the weaseling showmanship of female legislators who will just go on to pass abortion bans they find more palatable. Thanks to them, I have bigger things to worry about.
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