Donald Trump is a well-documented sexist ass. Even many conservatives stopped disputing that fact in the wake of last week’s GOP debate, after which Donald Trump, angry that moderator Megyn Kelly was allowed to ask him actual questions, retweeted a guy who called her a “bimbo” and made an apparent reference to her menstrual blood. (Trump denies it was a period joke.)
A lot of Republicans, eager to run Trump out of the race, are making hay over this. But the truth of the matter is that while Trump has a big mouth, he is, policy-wise, one of the least anti-woman candidates in the 2016 Republican field. That isn’t saying much. Trump would like to ban abortion. He also says he would allow exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother. He shouldn’t get any cookies for this – he’s turning a cold shoulder to millions of women who need abortions for financial or personal reasons. But that’s how bad things are on the right: acknowledging that women who have been raped deserve access to abortion makes Trump less radical than the people he’s running against for the Republican nomination.
Here is how pathetically low the bar has been set.
Prior to last week’s debate, Huckabee started talking about how, if he was president, he would overrule the Supreme Court’s decision upholding abortions and instead force women, by fiat, to carry unwanted pregnancies to term. When Rolling Stone‘s Matt Taibbi asked Huckabee if he would deploy federal troops to force the whims of his newly minted anti-choice dictatorship, Huckabee said, “We’ll see when I’m president.”
He then doubled down on his fantasies of an anti-choice coup during the debate, saying, “I think the next president ought to invoke the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the constitution now that we clearly know that that baby inside the mother’s womb is a person at the moment of conception.”
Someone might want to tell Huckabee that those amendments, which grant the right of due process and equal treatment, are there to protect the human rights of people, not fetuses.
While on CNN defending his decision to denounce rape and incest exceptions in proposed abortion bans, Rubio defended his unsourced allegation that “science” says life begins at conception. A fertilized human egg “can’t turn into a donkey,” he said. “Could it become a cat?” he asked, sarcastically.
He loved this idea so much that his campaign ran an ad featuring a picture of a cat with the line “Human life won’t become a cat.”
If you need an abortion because you can’t afford a baby, you’re in a bad relationship or you were raped, you’re out of luck in Marco Rubio’s America. But if you’re gestating a litter of kittens? He’s got you covered.
During the debate, Walker affirmed his belief that abortion shouldn’t be permitted even if a woman will die without it, citing vague “alternatives.” He clarified what he meant in an interview with Sean Hannity. “It’s a false choice. There is always a better option out there,” he said. “I’ve said for years, medically there’s always a better choice than choosing between the life of an unborn baby and the life of the mother.”
Yes, I’m sure Scott Walker, college dropout, can offer a better diagnosis and course of treatment to a sick pregnant woman than her OB-GYN. Without even examining her!
It is true that you don’t have to choose between the woman and the fetus in these cases. As Irish doctors did in the tragic Savita Halappanavar case, you could always let both die instead. That does, technically, qualify as an alternative to abortion – though many of us would dispute the claim that it is, to quote Walker, “a better choice.”
It might surprise people to know that Planned Parenthood was not particularly controversial in Republican circles until a few years ago. Bush especially would like primary voters to forget his family’s long-standing support for giving the organization money for STI treatment and contraception services. (Planned Parenthood has not used federal tax money for abortion since 1976.) Though Bush slashed millions in contraception funding in Florida, many on the right still worry he has lurking sympathies for those who want to have sex without having a baby.
Which is why, in the weeks prior to the debate, anti-choice websites started raising a stink about Bush’s time as the a Bloomberg Family Foundation director, from 2010 to 2014, when the foundation worked with Planned Parenthood to improve maternal health services and contraception in underserved countries. This work in preventing unintended pregnancy and helping women survive childbirth was apparently so scandalous that Megyn Kelly asked Bush about it during the debate.
Bush denied knowing anything about the money – because being “pro-life” in 2015 means denying women not just contraception, but life-saving interventions during childbirth.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump has toyed with the idea that it might not be a bad idea to let Planned Parenthood keep offering affordable contraception and STI testing. This caused an outpouring of rage at Trump from conservative media.
So there you have it: Every Republican but Trump supports yanking federal funding for Planned Parenthood’s non-abortion services like contraception, even though 99 percent of women will use contraception at some point in their lives. But somehow we’re supposed to believe that Trump is the only real misogynist in the race.