Just Because You’re Not Fighting Doesn’t Mean There’s No War

I had things on my to-do list today, but feel that I must comment now on the article about Sarah Davis from Sunday’s Houston Chronicle to get it out of my system.

Republican Rep. Sarah Davis discounts the Democrats’ idea of a GOP war on women even as the breast-cancer survivor ventures onto the frontlines of Texas’ battle over women’s health.

Davis said she doesn’t see a war: “I don’t think that the Republican Party has waged a war on women. I think that the concept of women’s health is being used in some regards by both parties as some type of a political wedge issue. I am a woman in Texas, and I do not feel like there has been a war waged against me.”

I’m going to say right here that I’m not worried about the concept of women’s health.

My health and bodily autonomy are not concepts to me.

They ARE me, in the most literal and intimate way. My right to bodily integrity and autonomy are non-negotiable rights as far as I’m concerned, and the modern GOP, a party of regressive reactionaries, has made it clear that they disagree.

And by voting to exclude Planned Parenthood from the Women’s Health Program, thereby turning down a 9 to 1 federal match for the program, Sarah Davis has made it clear to me that she may care about her own health, but she doesn’t care about mine.

Crystal clear.

She’s trying to position herself as a moderate on women’s health. DO NOT BELIEVE HER. Her brand of politics is not about the fiscal conservatism of funding preventive healthcare in order to reduce the burden of paying for unplanned pregnancies, over 50% of which are paid for, in Texas, by Medicaid.

Her brand of politics is from the Grover Norquist school. The brand that says government should be so small it can fit in a bathtub—and be drowned there.

That’s why she voted against the forced sonogram bill. She believes that the government shouldn’t be sticking a probe anywhere, but she also believes that the government shouldn’t be paying for anyone’s healthcare, at all, ever.*

While we might all wish we were wealthy enough to be able to afford private healthcare, the stark fact is that Texas has just about the highest rate of medically uninsured people in the country, so we have a choice. We can pay for less expensive preventive care through programs like the Women’s Health Program, utilizing expert providers like Planned Parenthood who have demonstrated that they can keep costs down. Or, we can pay for expensive last-resort care at emergency rooms and in hospitals, especially with high-risk pregnancies that didn’t need to be high risk, but which were because women couldn’t afford prenatal care.

So, Sarah Davis may not believe in the war on women. There are plenty of things I don’t believe in, like eating raw oysters or driving slowly in the left lane, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t happening.

Voters in the 134th district have a choice. They can vote for the incumbent, who is out for her own self and not willing to consider things from her constituents’ perspectives, or they can vote for Ann Johnson, who will support women’s health and Planned Parenthood, without apology and without dissembling.

*By the way, her distaste for government spending also applies to education. She’s already voted to cut billions from our state’s education budget, and she’ll do it again. Texas simply cannot afford to have someone like Sarah Davis in the legislature.

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