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THE CAPITOL CONNECTION: Will women’s rights survive?


RIGHT NOW, IT’S BETTER TO LIVE in New York State or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts than it is to live in Texas. It’s pretty apparent to me that there is a rampant disease circulating in Texas that makes people really crazy. Maybe it’s mosquito-borne, maybe it’s political in the sense that too many people in Texas hate the “others.”

In New York, we have laws that protect a woman’s right to choose and have control over her own body. In Texas, a bunch of old white men want to continue the caveman tradition of having ultimate control over women. Years ago, New York passed a law giving women the right to an abortion if they wanted one. Why did they do that? Perhaps because women in New York have attained the kind of liberation that at least so far, their sisters in Texas can only dream of. Interestingly, a good deal of the impetus for New York’s protections for women was supplied by Governor Andrew Cuomo, who eventually left office after having been accused of treating women in an unacceptable fashion.

Why is it so different in those caveman states? For one thing, Texans voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump, the admitted sex addict who instructed men how to subjugate women. I’ve always believed that people in this country are divided based on which side of the Civil War their ancestors fought on. Those ex-Confederate states that once believed in slavery are what I might call the “Trump Belt.” These people, or at least a majority of them, have never moved far philosophically from the odious ex-slave owners that preceded them. They often elect Republican governors who mirror the Trump line. They have moved away from the old Republicanism, which celebrated names like Bush and Rockefeller, and now have brought us to those who are scared to death of Donald Trump and his poison. If I am reading it correctly, the New Trump-led group has conquered the “old” Republicans. Whereas the Bushes and the Cheneys were once despised by Democrats, this current political arrangement has spawned a quiet alliance between the Democrats and the Bush-type Republicans.

This leads us back to the question of abortion. Texas is Republican. New York is Democratic and many of the Texas Republicans are women. You ask how that could be? Well, my best guess is that the politics of our time are much like religion. If you believe in the Republican or Democratic Party, it’s often like an allegiance to a religion and it really doesn’t matter that you ought to be opposed to your party’s stand on a matter like abortion. I have believed for a long time that our political socialization often comes from our parents. I remember the day that I told my mother I was going to vote for Eisenhower in a school election and she said, “No, dear, we’re Democrats.” Sure, there are those who deviate from their parents’ politics, but some states sure do seem to be perpetually Democratic or Republican.

Now we have a Supreme Court that could well be on the verge of overturning Roe v Wade. Some women will suffer grave consequences if that terrible group of so-called justices do that. People from Texas will travel to New York and other places to seek reproductive care. Of course, the misogynist Trump states will continue to allow those old men to call the shots. It’s part of the game. Also, you had better believe that this court will not allow a woman’s right to choose anywhere in the United States. Abortion rights are symbolic of what this country might face if Donald Trump or one of his ilk takes over.

These are scary times and the issue of women’s reproductive rights is right at the top of the list of scary things we will see if Trump triumphs.

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