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Editorial: 3 Dangerous Side Effects of the Election for Women

By HERWriter
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1. Sacrifice of Reproductive Health Choices

Reproductive justice is the issue that stands to take the largest hit in our nation’s swing towards conservatism. This election has significantly lowered the number of policy-makers and governors who believe that a woman should retain the rights to make decisions about her own body (Planned Parenthood 2010 Scorecard and Voter Guide). They are taking steps to criminalize and greatly limit access to the possibility of abortion around the nation even in the case of rape, specifically targeting low-income minority women. They also wish to reverse the legislation and disband the services that make birth control options available to women at low cost. (Nancy Keenan, director of NARAL Pro-Choice America: www.prochoiceamerica.com)

Women can expect to experience the dizziness and nausea associated with the inability to choose their own destiny or protect their families, futures and well-being.

2. Decline of Health Education Opportunities

Along with the promised anti-choice, anti-woman, anti-family legislation mentioned above, this new cohort of politicians is seeking to reinstate the dangerous Abstinence-Only education curriculum, a program which has proved to be not only ineffective, but also counter-productive to preventing early pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (Keenan). Our children and students will be fed largely inaccurate, unrealistic, religion-based information about their bodies, feelings and choices. (Neville, www.rhrealitycheck.org)

Students of all ages can expect the burning, itching and emotional upheaval associated with inadequate information and the consequences of ill-informed choices.

3. Restricted Access to General Medical Services
(See www.healthcare.gov)

Republican leaders were able to gain control in the election due in part to voters’ dissatisfaction with health care reform. The new conservatives in our government are interested in overturning this revolutionary legislation, a step that will leave many women, families and communities hanging in the limbo of uninsured, under-insured and overlooked once again (Muskal, LA Times).

- Recently graduated students would lose the ability to remain on their parents’ insurance until age 26.
- Patients with pre-existing conditions can expect, once again, to go uninsured and forced to pay out-of-pocket for exorbitantly expensive procedures and services.
- People will no longer have access to the free preventative services offered by the Affordable Care Act: they will again have to pay for important tests, screenings, check-ups and counseling sessions that have been proven to improve health and reduce instances of dangerous illnesses like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and mental illness.
- Senior citizens who require a variety of medications will again be plagued by the Doughnut Hole, forced to pay out-of-pocket for life-saving drugs rather than given rebates and coverage for these expenses as promised by the Affordable Care Act.

All U.S. citizens can expect to feel a tightening in their wallets and the shortness of breath associated with insurance coverage uncertainty. Many will also experience subsequent symptoms caused by dodging annual check-ups, going without medication and avoiding doctors’ advice because of the inability to pay for their health care.

We have chosen a bitter pill and an uphill battle, America. The consequences of electing politicians who are not concerned with providing services to vulnerable populations, who are against funding the crucial, effective programs/organizations that fight health inequalities, injustice and ignorance, and who look at women’s health as a bargaining chip rather than an integral issue in the sustainability of our nation, are dangerous. But we can fight these side effects. Women – stay informed, stay strong and stay empowered. Our country’s health depends on us!


1. “Your Health Care Explained.” US Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.healthcare.gov/index.html

2. “2010 Scorecard and Voter Guide.” Planned Parenthood Action Center. http://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/elections-politics/2010-elections.

3. Keenan, Nancy. “We Can’t Give Our Opponents An Inch” (Update). NARAL Pro-Choice America. http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/government-and-you/ November 3, 2010.

4. Muskal, Michael. “John Boehner vows to dismantle healthcare 'monstrosity'” Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/2010/nov/03/news/la-pn-election-fallout-airwaves-20101104. November 3, 2010.

5. Neville, Will. “Bait and Switch Politics: Welcome to the 112th Congress” http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2010/11/03/bait-switch-politics-welcome-112th-congress November 3, 2010.

Add a Comment7 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

*Regarding the

Sorry for the typo right off the bat

November 15, 2010 - 8:53pm
EmpowHER Guest

Regarding for the disappointing election results, no candidate ran on women's issues. Sure it was on their websites and if you asked them they would try to score some political points with stock answers. However, voters will give incoming Tea-Partiers a very short leash and if they become hypocrites they won't be given a second chance for a decade; they won because they won the moderate vote. It's kind of hypocritical to complain that the government is in your business and telling you how to live your life and then try to control another's reproductive rights (though it's kind of what Republican's do).

I think, and I could just be too optimistic, that right-wing Republicans will try to avoid issues that will affect their elect-ability with the moderate voting block for as long as they can. If they start drifting from what they nationally ran on I think people will turn on them really quick. Yeah most of them ran on overturning Health Care Reform and perhaps it was passed too hastily, but most Americans DO want Health Care Reform and I think that's at least something to be optimistic about. If Republicans repeal Health Care Reform and do not replace it with something equally beneficial, they are screwed. Democrats also have control of the Senate and the Presidency, so there is only so much anti-women candidates can do to set back your hard work. If Obama regains popularity, I could see Democrats regaining many of the seats they lost.

If it makes you feel better North Carolina, which has laws requiring abstinence only education that are decades old, has acknowledged it doesn't work and has been trying to diversify their sex education over the past year or so.

November 15, 2010 - 8:51pm
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for your comment! While I respect your opinion on many of these issues, I must disagree. The fact is, no matter what got these right-wing candidates into office and no matter what platforms they made explicitly public - most conservative, religious-right politicians make policies and that are dangerous to women.

I wonder what part of the article you thought was hypocritical? I certainly hope I didn't convey that being pro-choice, pro-family and pro-woman means that I am necessarily pro-abortion. I simply believe it is a woman's right to choose and not the government's place to tell her what to do with her body. The bottom line is that our newly elected officials want that power - and that is not safe, not healthy and not democratic.

I definitely agree that it is likely that liberal seats will be won again in 2 years during the Presidential election. And I certainly hope you are right that Tea Party members will be kept on "short leash" by voters, and really that all politicians are kept on a short leash! Our representatives should be held accountable for their actions no matter their political leanings.
(Shout out alert: This is why Russ Feingold was such a fantastic Senator - he made choices based on his constituents' opinions and needs, not just the party leanings.)

I am happy North Carolina is making important changes! Comprehensive and science-based sex education is one of the best tools for empowering students to make healthy choices. Let's just hope North Carolina's new politicians don't try to reverse these efforts in the next couple years!

Keep reading and expressing your opinions! I appreciate your feedback!


November 15, 2010 - 10:21pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Hannah Cutts)

The "your" in "It's kind of hypocritical to complain that the government is in your business and telling you how to live your life and then try to control another's reproductive rights" does not refer to your article in any way. I was referring to the politicians who professed that they would get the government out of the voter's personal business. I agree that each of the three consequences you warn of are very real and do pose a serious threat; I am just taking a more optimistic view.

I forgot to mention before that in order to take away reproductive rights they would have to convince the courts to overturn Roe v. Wade and Griswold v. Connecticut. Despite both of those cases been under constantly targeted, neither have been overturned and pro-life advocates do not have the votes in the Supreme Court to achieve that goal. I admit that one flaw in my logic, which is pointed out in the blog post I sent you, is that while the Supreme Court will not ban reproductive rights they will restrict them. Several other attempts were saved by John Paul Stevens brilliant logic, who unfortunately is not a justice anymore.

Speaking of Mr. Awesome Russ Feingold, my professor in my grad school class tonight made the comment that it's easy for a congressman to vote in favor of something so heavily politicized as the War in Iraq and asked if we knew a politician who actually stood up to what they believe in when it was politically unpopular. To which I responded that Feingold stood up to the War in Iraq and the PATRIOT ACT (which no other Senator did in 2001).

November 15, 2010 - 11:22pm
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

You are right again - the devil is in the details. Even if politicians are unable to get Roe v Wade overturned in the Supreme Court, there are countless other ways that conservatives who believe it is their place to make a woman's personal decisions, can restrict access to important health services. Mandating abstinence-only sex education is one of these ways. Cutting funding for free birth control to women who cannot otherwise afford it is another. Putting research that specifically targets women's health issues on the back-burner is a third. These politicians just don't seem to believe or understand that a woman's health predicts her family's health, which predicts the health of our communities in general. When representatives vote for legislation that ultimately erodes a woman's power, freedom and well-being, they are inherently crippling society for generations to come. (See what your professors think about that radically feminist statement!)

Phew! Mr Awesome Russ Feingold sure is awesome, isn't he? I'm glad you are sticking up for our midwestern politicians.

Thanks again for all your comments!

November 16, 2010 - 5:44am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Hannah Cutts)

Not a problem, your posts are always intriguing. And I agree, there are many ways to conservatives can set back progress. I think the real danger is in the steps the new Congress won't take and the programs they won't prioritize. And unfortunately, it does look like everyone is going to get their funding cut, especially the military (which Gates has already volunteered to do several times) and social programs since they are the too biggest pieces of the deficit.

As for my professor, he is a former and long time Democratic staffer and based on what he's said in case I doubt it will phase him. And I have to stick up for practical Midwesterners while I can; I don't want you guys to be left with Bachmann...

November 16, 2010 - 6:43am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

*Despite both of those cases being constantly targeted

Sorry for yet another typo, it's late

November 15, 2010 - 11:40pm
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