Whether it’s Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett telling women seeking abortions they can just close their eyes to deal with mandatory ultrasounds, or a Georgia House rep regaling his colleagues with stories about delivering dead cow and chicken fetuses in order to justify women carrying dead human fetuses to term, the past few months have been rife with shockingly inept, old white men proposing shockingly inept things about women, vaginas and female health. We figured it would be a good time to look back. Oh, and in the spirit of sex positivity, we will try to use the word "vagina" as many times as possible throughout this retrospective. Vagina.
1) Santorum Super PAC donor Foster Friess reminiscing on aspirin as contraception back in the day, ("The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn’t that costly”) will forever remain a classic in the collection of horrifying and ridiculous things old white men have said about vaginas.
2) Perhaps the most ridiculous thing a person can say about vaginas is not being able to say the word “vagina” at all. Last month, Virginia State Delegate David Albo acted out this late-night bedroom scene with his wife for fellow lawmakers: After watching a TV segment that criticized Albo’s support of a bill that would mandate transvaginal probing for women seeking abortions, Albo’s wife refused him sex. As counter-intuitive as this episode might sound, Albo then couldn’t even bring himself to use the word “vaginal” in the charade, instead referring to the procedure as “trans-v blah blah blah.” For the love of love tunnels, if you can’t even say “vagina,” there might be more than one reason your wife doesn’t want to sleep with you.
3) Georgia state Representative Terry England used an Old McDonald analogy when discussing whether a woman should have to carry to term and deliver a stillborn fetus, rather than have an abortion.
“Life gives us many experiences…I’ve had the experience of delivering calves, dead and alive. Delivering pigs, dead or alive. It breaks our hearts to see those animals not make it.”
But farm animals don’t get abortions, so women shouldn’t either, right? Yes, that makes perfect sense. England then shared something a chicken farmer told him: “You tell those folks down there that when they quit killing babies, they can have every chicken I’ve got.” I’m still not sure why a “salt-of-the-earth” chicken farmer should be making decisions on what goes on inside a woman’s body, or why it should mean anything to a room of mostly male legislators, unless "women : chicken :: men : chicken farmers." Puke.
4) In one of the latest examples of sheer what-the-fuckery regarding old white men and legislating women's health, last week Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett argued that requiring non-transvaginal ultrasounds for women seeking abortions is totally cool, as, you know, a medically unnecessary procedure meant to manipulate you into having an unwanted child isn’t at all invasive. He said, “I don't know how you make anybody watch, okay? You just have to close your eyes, but as long as it's on exterior, not interior."
Tom Sawyer/Mean mean pride (AP)
5) As we're well aware by now, more than 100 advertisers have dropped spots on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show since he made wildly idiotic claims about third-year Georgetown law student and activist Sandra Fluke’s sex life, calling her a “slut,” and demanding that she fork up a sex tape for excessive, taxpayer-subsidized boning. But maybe even more ridiculous than all of Limbaugh’s misogynistic vitriol is the fact that he didn’t even know how birth control worked. Limbaugh seemed to be under the impression that the amount of birth control pills a person buys is related to how much sex she has, hence the “A woman goes up to congressional committee and says: I’m having sex so damn much, I’m going broke,” comment. Of course, everyone who doesn’t live under a rock knows that a birth control pill has to be ingested daily, consistently, for it to be effective at any given time.
6) There’s no way Rick Santorum could escape this list. On people with vaginas in front line combat: "I do have concerns about women in front line combat. I think that could be a very compromising situation where... where people naturally, you know, may do things that may not be in the interests of the mission because of other types of emotions that are involved." Later, Santorum clarified that he didn’t mean that women’s emotions would prohibit them from fulfilling their duty, but that men’s emotions regarding women on the front line could hinder them from fulfilling theirs. Right. Because when men kill other men, or see fellow male soldiers die, there’s no emotional conflict whatsoever.
7) Rick Santorum, round two. Last month, the presidential hopeful told Fox news host Chris Wallace that he didn’t support the Komen foundation, as it was an organization with ties to “cancer and abortion,” implying the false claim that abortions cause breast cancer. But it gets worse. In New Hampshire, lying to women about abortions is in the process of becoming a law. Last week, New Hampshire’s House of Representatives passed a bill requiring doctors to tell patients seeking abortions that the procedure causes breast cancer, despite the fact that the link has been rejected by the National Institutes of Health, American Cancer Society and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
8) In Frederick County, Maryland, two representatives from the Board of County Commissioners explained their decision to cut funding from Head Start, an early education program, arguing that people with vaginas and low incomes really ought to suck it up and stay at home to take care of the kids rather than work. After all, what’s the problem? Their wives did.
Douglas Graham/Roll Call/Newscom
9) Virginia Governor Bob “lol my bad” McDonnell claimed he didn’t initially read or fully understand a bill he signed that would make invasive transvaginal ultrasounds mandatory for women seeking an abortion.
“After talking to lawyers and doctors on my own, after we started hearing some concerns in the legislature, I personally looked at it. I mean, normally a governor would review these hundreds of hundreds of bills when they get to your desk. You’re so busy advocating your own agenda, you don’t read every legislator’s bill.” [CBSnews.com]
Of course, McDonnell did go ahead and sign a reworked version of the bill, one that still mandates ultrasounds, albeit not the 10-inch-long probe kind, that women have to pay for out of pocket.
Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue West, a Kansas anti-abortion group.
10) In Kansas, a pending anti-abortion bill would tax women seeking abortions, making no exception for rape victims. “Why not slap a $100, $200, $300 tax on an abortion?” Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue West, the largest anti-abortion group in Kansas, asked earlier this month.