Scott Walker doesn’t care about women

Scott Walker, college dropout and Republican candidate for president, has steadily eroded abortion rights in Wisconsin since ascending to the governor’s office in 2010. In 2011, he approved a state budget that defunded Planned Parenthood. In 2013, he signed a bill that would require doctors to show women seeking abortions an ultrasound picture of the fetus, a measure he recently defended by referring to ultrasounds as “just a cool thing that’s out there.” Also in 2013, he signed off on legislation that required abortion providers to seek admitting privileges at nearby hospitals — a law that was later struck down in court.

But now, with 2016 approaching and a wider socially conservative base to pander to, Walker is poised to sign what is arguably the most extreme anti-abortion legislation in Wisconsin to date. According to the Huffington Post:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said this week that he would sign a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy that does not contain exceptions for rape and incest victims, if the bill reaches his desk. The measure also contains a less-discussed provision that would allow the father to sue the doctor for “emotional and psychological distress” if he disagrees with the abortion, regardless of his relationship with the woman having the procedure.

Wisconsin Assembly Bill 237 would ban abortions after 20 weeks “postfertilization,” which doctors would measure as 22 weeks of pregnancy since pregnancies are usually measured from the woman’s last menstrual period. If the bill becomes law, doctors who perform an abortion after this time could be charged with a felony and fined up to $10,000, or face up to three and a half years in prison.

Anyone who has thought critically about reproductive rights knows that anti-abortion advocates’ appeals to protecting a “culture of life” have nothing to do with life and everything to do with puritanical repression of the female gender. This bill, coupled with the parental consent law Wisconsin currently has in place, is about as clear a confirmation as you’ll get.

Perhaps the most insulting aspect of Walker’s legislation is the fact that it acknowledges and legitimates the so-called “emotional and psychological distress” of fathers while turning a blind eye to the much more real, immediate distress of women who choose to seek an abortion in an overwhelmingly hostile climate, who are constantly subjected to verbal harassment, invasive interventions of the state and other types of unwarranted pressure, both public and private. But of course, to hear Wisconsin Republicans tell it, we wouldn’t want any legal protections in place for women seeking abortions. They might get it in their heads that Scott Walker and his anti-abortion ilk actually care about them. Perish the thought.

And of course, Walker has no problem mansplaining the psychology and decision theory behind not including a rape or incest exception for his 20-week ban. The governor was quoted by TalkingPointsMemo as saying: “I mean, I think for most people who are concerned about that, it’s in the initial months where they’re most concerned about it.”

And then the concern wears off and that biologically-programmed maternal joy kicks in. So while unplanned and unwanted pregnancies cause deep mental anguish for fathers, they’re easy decisions one way or another for mothers. If you haven’t made up your mind by 20 weeks, Scott Walker’s pretty sure you want that baby.

This whole thing would be laughable if it weren’t so serious. The recent barrage of restrictions has left Wisconsin with only four clinics that offer abortions, and 95% of all Wisconsin residents live in a county without such a clinic. Meanwhile, though Walker has yet to formally announce his candidacy for the 2016 presidential race, polls show he’s gaining ground among conservatives, and may even have a strong shot at being the nominee. One can only hope that this most recent piece of legislation and Walker’s eagerness to sign it expose the governor for what he truly is: an anti-abortion extremist.

Jonah Allon is a senior at Tufts University from New York City. He has worked for the New York League of Conservation Voters and was a volunteer on President Obama's 2012 campaign. He primarily writes on the environment, reproductive rights and public policy.

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32 Responses to “Scott Walker doesn’t care about women”

  1. Cristiana taylor says:

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  2. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    I never said I didn’t understand. I taught school for enough years that I can un-garble anything.

  3. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    If you’re so worried about my views on the subject, just read the comments below. I have a question for you. Your first comment was barely coherent. There were capitalization and punctuation mistakes. There was also trouble with verb tense. This last comment was fine. How does that happen?

    I grew up in rural North Carolina, and your comments remind me of so many students in my high school. They were capable of coherent writing, but chose to write like backwoods men. What’s the point of writing like an uneducated fool?

  4. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Is this your day to lie for Jesus?

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  6. Bill_Perdue says:

    Scott Walker is a union busting, pro war misogynist.

  7. woodroad34 says:

    Winter is coming! Store up all the dragon-glass! It’s the only thing that will stop a Scott Walker!

  8. aka_m says:

    Argue your point and keep your grammar lesson. My issue was with the “don’t like them, don’t have one” comment. I won’t have one and I don’t want to pay for someone else to have one. Your choice? Your wallet.

  9. aka_m says:

    What are you talking about? I did not edit anything.

    If you don’t understand that is a pretty sad commentary on your reading skills.

  10. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Your edit is somewhat better. Maybe it’s worth a D+ or a C-. You should have let it alone. Obviously, I first thought you didn’t proofread. This time you did proofread, so I must assume that’s the best you can do. That’s even sadder.

  11. FLL says:

    Wildly off-topic: Here is a link to the YouTube video of a crowd of about 150 celebrating a gay equality march in central Kiev on the banks of the Dnieper River, with LGBT activists filming and photographing the events throughout. :35 through 1:10 shows smoke bombs going off in the distance with police rushing in that direction. At 1:15 the crowd applauds as police rush in the direction of the smoke-bomb-throwing neo-Nazis and police and medical workers treat an injured policeman. At 2:53, four policemen pass the cheering LGBT crowd as they carry off one of the skinhead neo-Nazis (who curses the crowd). 5:25 shows the policeman on the ground with a neck injury. 8:30 shows the blood on the ground from the injured policeman. 8:40 and 8:55 shows smoke bombs on the ground that the neo-Nazis were setting off. 25-30 neo-Nazis who confronted police were arrested. Compare this with Russia, where LGBT marchers are arrested and the neo-Nazis are left in peace. Compare Putin’s statements with this weekend’s statement from Ukrainian President Poroshenko concerning today’s gay rights march: “I don’t see any reason to impede this march because it’s a constitutional right of every citizen of Ukraine.”

  12. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    I find your inability or unwillingness to proofread to be sad. Your meaning is garbled because of the lack of clarity.

    I also wonder what you are trying to hide by keeping your comments private.

  13. aka_m says:

    Don’t worry, I won’t have an abortion (bless with two kids so far :) There is still the issue of the fascist that want to force me to pay for them. (seems to be the term used around here) Safe, legal and rare (ala bill clinton) has become- convenience over standards, forced participation (forced to fund pp) and celebrated as a woman’s best friend. It’s sad, really.

  14. 2karmanot says:

    I just love it when get angry Becca! Brava!

  15. 2karmanot says:

    Indeed Becca. What’s next in Heir Walker’s plan? mmmmm could it be Lebensborn to produce more Teapublicans for Wisconsin’s glorious new future?

  16. Indigo says:

    In the “not caring” camp, the women do not stand alone. There’s the unions, the farm subsidies, the students, the alternative culture that once graced Wisconsin’s good name, the gay community, the human rights community, and even, dare I say so, the sensible folk of Wisconsin who somehow got saddled with this not-caring governator. All in all, apart from a squawk of monied teapublicans, I don’t see that he represents anyone.

  17. Skye Winspur says:

    Walker is very canny about hiding behind certain women (his lieutenant governor for example, and spokeswomen from ‘Pro-Life Wisconsin,’ an anti-abortion group) when the misogyny of his policies is challenged.

    If it were up to women alone, Walker would almost certainly never have made it into politics in the first place. Alas, there are a lot of jealous promiscuous men in Wisconsin, encouraged by their Catholic bishops to think that their sperm deserves the rights of personhood.

  18. BeccaM says:

    I know, hon. Every few weeks or months, Pogden swings by to leave his little troll droppings. *shrugs* I kind of figure the worst thing we can do is not to fight back against his particular brand of ignorance, misogyny, and far-right radicalism, because it often feels like we didn’t fight nearly hard enough when it was time to get the ERA passed.

  19. Colin says:

    Excellent answer Sis , but as you well know, it is not going to do any good.
    You see , we are “those” people . Automatically taken as half commie and dirty before the conversation even begins. Yet many would have no problem whatsoever in defending the Duggars and would defend any cult so long as it was a ‘Christian’ one.
    Brow beating women almost to the point of hypnotism was tried and true in this country for years . The act of empowering wimin is seen as sacrilege . Anything that they can do to turn back the clock makes them more ……..comfortable.

  20. Colin says:

    I would be very surprised if he answered anyone Jonah , it’s not their style.

  21. Colin says:

    I really do not expect you to comment on any of the responses that people have posted.
    What FLL and Becca said were both good and true statements. And my advise to you would be to educate YOURSELF before writing about a subject.
    The answer has always been there and is quite simple. If you do not believe that a woman has a right to an abortion , don’t have one. If people who belong to a particular church do not believe that abortion should be allowed then by all means do not allow it, IN YOUR OWN CHURCH. Leave the rest of us alone.

  22. FLL says:

    I always take note when people shred the English language into unrecognizable bits. I think that’s the case with the term “pro-life,” which implies that all abortion amounts to murder. Wht you mean to say is that all abortions should be made illegal. However, I don’t think this is an isolated instance of misusing English. I see it when so-called conservatives (i.e., fundamentalist Christians) talk about how they believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Well, that’s not what they mean at all. If same-sex marriage were legal nationwide, those same fundamentalist Christians would still be able to hold their own beliefs about marriage. What they really mean (but won’t say) is they think same-sex marriage should be illegal. Use our common English tongue correctly. Say what you mean.

  23. BeccaM says:

    People like you, Pogden, aren’t ‘pro-life.’ If you were, you’d be in favor of universal and free access to pre-, peri-, and post-natal healthcare, as well as pediatric healthcare access. You’d be in favor of paid maternity and paternity leave for new parents. You’d be in favor of living wages, so that families don’t have to hold down multiple full- and part-time jobs just to get by. You wouldn’t be constantly looking shred what’s left of the social safety net. You’d also be adamantly against the death penalty.

    But you’re not, are you? By the way, you obviously just pulled that “every bit as much” assertion of your ass. Here’s a citation:

    And the numbers? In that survey, it’s 54% of women vs 46% of men who identify as being pro-choice.

    According to a new Gallup poll, 50 percent of Americans now call themselves pro-choice, including 54 percent of women and 46 percent of men. Only 44 percent of respondents labeled themselves pro-life, the lowest response in more than five years.

  24. BeccaM says:

    I’d say it goes further than ‘not caring.’ Walker’s entire agenda as governor has been aggressively anti-women.

    For him to be firmly in the ‘forced pregnancy’ camp comes as no surprise at all.

  25. Houndentenor says:

    Every bit as much? Really? Citation, please.

  26. 2karmanot says:

    5 4 3 2 1 Pro Life bots arrive

  27. 2karmanot says:

    “Walker has no problem mansplaining” and with a High School degree! Republican Presidential material for the American Empire. After all, we’ve had eight years of an Ivy educated moron, la Petite Dubya, and look where that got us.

  28. Jonah says:

    Ok, a couple of points I’d like to make in response:

    1. You mean anti-abortion, not pro-life. Labeling opponents of abortion as “pro-life” implies abortion advocates are “anti-life,” which reduces the entire debate to black and white when in fact it’s much more nuanced. Pro-abortion advocates aren’t against life – far from it. We just believe the rights of a fetus shouldn’t trump a women’s right to determine her future.

    2. I’d like to hear you defend a 20-week ban using facts about pre-natal development when licensed doctors have come out against it:

    And in case you were wondering, yes, this is the author of the piece.

  29. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    I have several concerns about your comment. First, please supply the link to the information concerning women supporting abortion measures ever bit as much as men. We know that women can be influenced by their religion as well as men. As a gay man, I’m aware of the damage some religions can do.

    I hope the information that you have breaks down the data state by state, because I would be quite interested with the correlation between abortion rights and states that have the death penalty. I know few people that are anti-abortion, but the ones I know have little concern about the children after birth. If they have to live in poverty, so be it. If their lives are ended by lethal injection, no problem.

    Also, the break down of the information by age would be interesting. I look at clips of Republican candidates speaking to audiences, and I have seldom seen that much gray hair anywhere.

    Personally, I am anti-abortion, but pro-choice. I have no right to tell someone what they can do or not do with their bodies. Of, course I am gay, so I have no dog in the fight. Although, I did spend many years trying to get my husband pregnant.

    That is rather condescending of you to suggest that Jonah needs more knowledge of pre-natal development. How do you know that he doesn’t? Do you personally know him?

  30. pogden297 says:

    “Anyone who has thought critically about reproductive rights knows that anti-abortion advocates’ appeals to protecting a “culture of life” have nothing to do with life and everything to do with puritanical repression of the female gender.” Really? Then why is it that women support these pro-life measures every bit as much as men? Why don’t you take a class on pre-natal development and see if you can better figure out the pro-life position before guessing as to pro-life motives? It might be a good idea to become educated about an issue if you’re going to write about it.

  31. UncleBucky says:

    “Scott Walker doesn’t care about women”

    Clearly, this man must be billboarded, flyered and talked about with women all around Wisconsin.

    He’ll likely never make it past the primaries or even sooner, but this nut needs to be shelled.

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