Thank you, men!

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The Kentucky House Floor, January 2017

May 22, 2019 Edition

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Let’s face it, ladies. It’s time we say a big, old thank you to men.

In recent weeks, a number of male-dominated state legislatures have passed bills regulating a woman’s right to end a pregnancy: Kentucky, Utah, Mississippi, Ohio, Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri, and Alabama.

In a 25-6 vote in Alabama, 25 men passed a bill that would give doctors who perform an abortion 99 years, or life, in prison. And if you’re a girl or woman who’s been the victim of rape or incest, too bad, no exceptions, no matter if you’re 12 or 25.

The men have spoken, and you will carry that fetus—your rapist’s, your father’s, your uncle’s—to term, and by golly you’ll be thankful they made you do it.

This is what we’ve expected all along, is it not? Consider the language we use: She wanted it. She asked for it. She went and got herself pregnant. She came up pregnant.

Note the mysterious absence of men in these scenarios. Huh. Surely an oversight.

Back in Jan. 2017, I spent a Saturday in the Kentucky House gallery listening to (mostly) elderly men on the House floor sharing long, meandering, personal stories of their wives’ and mothers’ pregnancies and childbirth, quoting both related, and often glaringly unrelated, biblical passages. This, following the declaration by Sen. President Robert Stivers. “One had a choice early on to make a decision to conceive or not,” he stated. “Once conception starts, another life is involved, and the legislature has the ability to determine how that life proceeds.”

By “one” he means the woman, right? That once a woman has decided to conceive—Decided? Wait, does he not know how conception works?—she loses her rights and the state legislature takes over? Well, shoot fire. Let’s all stand up and say thank goodness for Sen. Stivers, because if there is anyone women want making decisions about their bodies and their lives, it is the predominantly male (107 to 31) Kentucky state legislature!

I’m reminded of that Neil Sedaka song from the 1970s.

Bad (ba-a-ad) blood (blo-o-od)
The woman was born to lie.
Makes promises she can’t keep
With the wink on an eye.

Bad (ba-a-ad) blood (blo-o-od)
The bitch is in her smile.
The lie is on her lips
Such an evil child.

Now, lest you think we women have it made here in the Commonwealth, look out, because the great state of Texas is giving us a run for our money. There are 139 men vs. 42 women in the Texas legislature and, like Alabama, there are no exceptions for rape or incest, but there is a staggering added bonus: State Rep. Tony Tinderholt has introduced a bill in which doctors and nurses, along with women seeking abortion care, would face murder charges. And guess what you get with a murder charge in Texas? The death penalty.

Of course, none of this comes as a surprise, certainly not to me. Men here in Kentucky often ask my husband things like, “You let her travel all by herself?” and, wink-wink, “You help her write all those articles, don’t you?”

I’m 53 years old, but by gosh, I think these fellas might be onto something. I mean, if a woman can’t manage to travel by herself or string together 700 words for the newspaper, surely we can’t trust her with the big stuff, like medical decisions, am I right?

So thank you, men. Truly. A great, big, hearty thank you for never letting us forget who’s in really charge.

And thank you especially to the proud men of the Kentucky, Utah, Mississippi, Ohio, Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri, and Alabama state legislatures, men who continually argue that stricter gun laws won’t stop people from getting guns while insisting that stiff abortion laws will miraculously stop women from ending unwanted pregnancies.

You guys rock.

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