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Trisha Torrey

Why Women Can't Afford to Vote Republican

By October 30, 2012

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A few days ago, my daughter forwarded a video with a note, "Hey Mom - Remember when we were talking about how my generation never thought we'd have to defend the rights your generation won for us in the sixties?"† Attached was a link to this You Tube Video.† It actually choked me up...† See if these words sound familiar to you (they will if you grew up with Leslie Gore in the 1960s):

You don't own me...† I'm not just one of your many toys...

You don't own me...† Don't try to change me in any way... Don't tie me down 'cause I'd never stay...

Just let me be myself, that's all I ask of you...

The video is illustrated by women - mothers, daughters, older women, younger women, young girls...† in each case they are holding up a sign or piece of art which highlights a consequence of voting Republican or conservative in the national elections...

  • Republicans are OK with women continuing to earn only 70 cents for every dollar men earn. Despite doing the same work as men, women don't receive the same pay.† Romney doesn't even understand the issue, much less have a plan to fix it. That was clear during the debates.
  • Conservative Republicans want to overturn Roe v. Wade.† That means they want to be able to tell women that women are not in charge of their own bodies. Republican Big Brothers think they know better what a woman should do than a woman knows herself.† They want to remove a woman's options - because of course, they are so much smarter and know so much more than women do. Don't let them fool you. Roe v Wade is not about abortion. It's about women determining their own futures.
  • Republicans want to defund Planned Parenthood.† They would prefer that two things happen:† that women bear babies they don't want to bear (never mind that so many of the fathers just disappear, not taking responsibility for impregnating women and that we taxpayers end up footing much of those child-raising bills). And they would prefer that poor women not be screened through mammograms or PAP smears.† Just let them get sick - Republicans don't think poor women should have the same rights to health as their richer counterparts do.
  • Republications want to defund the Affordable Care Act and all the positive ways it has moved our healthcare forward.† They lie to you when they tell you it's too expensive - because according to every OBJECTIVE accounting review - Obamacare will be less expensive than a defunded health program. Period.† So no - it's not about the economy even if they tell you it is.

Women - tell me - is any of this OK with you? Is it OK that a political party wants to take away the progress we have worked so hard to achieve?† Is it possible that young women don't understand how hard their mothers fought to make the strides we've made?

Mitt Romney - he's a nice guy. That's very clear. But remember, he believes women should stay home and rear children.† That's part of his Mormonism. Men are supposed to take care of their families....† that's a part of his DNA. He can't help it - it's his belief system.

It's not mine.† Further, as a result, he just really does not, CAN not understand what the rest of us face every day.† And if he can't understand it, how can we possibly think he will treat us fairly?† And how can we possibly trust him to lead the rest of those politicians who will make important decisions about women's bodies, women's financial stability and women's futures?

And please - don't tell me that YOUR Republican congressional candidate doesn't lean in these directions.† It really doesn't matter what individual congressional candidates think, because once they get to Washington, they DON'T DARE vote against their party line.† If they do, then they are jettisoned by their fellow party members - and that's the end of their political careers.† So YOUR Republican congressional candidate's individual views don't count for squat.† You aren't nearly as influential to them as their party leaders.† Further don't forget - that no matter what decisions they make about OUR futures, and OUR healthcare, they won't be held to those decisions anyway.† Once they are elected, they guarantee themselves cadillac healthcare coverage for the rest of their lives.

So if you are female, do you really have any choice? Will your conscience allow you to push American women back into the dark ages, when (white) men ruled our worlds and told us what to do - and we were required to do it?† The law said they could.† That's what we could possibly revert to under a Republican regime.

Don't get me wrong... there are plenty of men of all colors with good hearts and good minds.† But THEY don't know what it's like to be female and treated like children, legally not allowed to make the choices we know are right for ourselves.

I lived that life when I was younger. And I don't want to live it again.

Even more importantly, I don't want my children OR my granddaughter to have to live it - ever.

And so, I will not vote for any Republican running in a national election.† I'm not willing to return to the dark ages.

And I hope you won't, and aren't, either. (Kudos to you, Leslie Gore.)

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Agree? Disagree?
Share your experience or join the conversation!


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Photo © Getty Images

October 30, 2012 at 7:26 pm
(1) Ashley says:

Lesley Gore IS an inspiration – and so is my mom, who raised me to be independent, strong, and to think for myself. The best thing I can do to honor that upbringing is to vote for whomever will protect the rights of the strong, independent, free-thinking women who come after me.

October 30, 2012 at 9:24 pm
(2) kate says:

Where’s your sympathy toward women who have had abortions and suffer years of regret and emotional pain? Women like me, by the way. Or how about concern for the young victims of statutory rape who Planned Parenthood never reported to the authorities? And please understand that to overturn Roe v. Wade does NOT mean that abortion would be eliminated-it means that the states would have a right to decide how they want to legislate on abortion.

October 30, 2012 at 9:30 pm
(3) Trisha Torrey says:

Kate – overturning Roe vs Wade means that someone else would be telling what you can, or cannot, do with your body. It’s a question of choice vs no choice. It means that you don’t get to decide in either direction – instead the government decides for you.

What makes NO sense is that the Republicans who are supposedly so anti-government, are so willing to let the government be in charge of women’s bodies – which is what would happen if Roe vs Wade was overturned.

I’m sorry for the emotional toll you’ve suffered, but I don’t think it would have been alleviated if Big Brother had told you that you had no choice but to give birth.


October 31, 2012 at 5:00 am
(4) KR says:

When faced with opposing arguments, a really strong case is made when you not only state your stance, but take the opponent’s points and refute them. Trisha Torrey’s article is, like all others, totally silent on the main issue that makes Republicans vote pro life: that is, the belief that human life begins at conception. And that if human life begins at conception, then that life is not the woman’s body, but another person’s that the woman is a custodian of for a few months. Now, Democratic-voting women, please – for the sake of integrity and your own conscience, please write an article taking this head on and answer it. It is disingenuous – and merely feminist-spin – to imply that people are against abortion to rob you of your rights to your own body. It’s the challenge: take this main point head on, and refute it.

October 31, 2012 at 8:18 am
(5) Trisha Torrey says:

KR – I first note that you have not used your name. Anonymous commentary loses points out of the gate.

But beyond that, tell me – have you ever been told you needed to have an abortion to save your life?

I have.

In 1974, before good imaging could tell what was going on in my body, I was 6 months into my pregnancy, but the doctor couldn’t hear a heart beat. After much consideration, I was told I needed to abort the pregnancy or I would likely die.

When I asked if there was any chance that the fetus was living, the doctors could not tell me yes there was, or no there was not.

I was faced with a decision… whether I would continue the pregnancy, or save my own life. My husband refused to weigh in.

But I could not do it. I waited. A month later I miscarried thousands of small tumors (they call it a Hydatidiform molar pregnancy). Both physically and emotionally, it took me a very long time to recover, including the fact that I had to go for blood tests each month for the next year.

So, no-name KR – do NOT lecture me on abortion or Roe vs Wade unless you, too, have been in such a position.

Human beings INCLUDING REPUBLICANS AND CONSERVATIVES don’t get to make the call on when life begins.

What I KNOW is that when it comes to decisions about MY body, no government should tell me what choices I should make and THAT is what Roe vs Wade is about.

The Republican stance is NOT pro-life.

Itís simply anti-choice, holier-than-thou, pro-”I’ll make decisions for you because you aren’t smart enough to make them yourself.”

I repeat my earlier statement: What makes NO sense is that the Republicans who are supposedly so anti-government, are so bent on putting the government in charge of womenís bodies Ė which is what would happen if Roe vs Wade was overturned.

Which is why I CANNOT and WILL NOT vote for any Republican or Conservative that can influence national laws and policies.


November 1, 2012 at 2:29 pm
(6) Don says:

Republicans wanted to defund planned parenthood because they get government money and perform abortion. It was using taxpayer funding for abortions that caused the whole issue to flair up. The issue of who decides when life begins is not as cut and dried as you would like to portray. If a woman has a abortion it is her choice, if a drunk driver causes an accident that kills the fetus it is manslaughter. Same age, same stage of development one is considered choice the other basically murder. Suicide is against the law, I can not smoke pot or do drugs in the privacy of my own home when it hurts no one but me. Physician assisted suicide is against the law. These are all choice issues as well that are legislated. What liberals have done is tried to turn difference in belief into a war on women, it is not a gender issue it is a theological difference in the sanctity of life. If we are going to generalize and sterotype the more accurate statement might be “How can a Christian vote Democrat?”

November 1, 2012 at 3:47 pm
(7) Mary Ann Snider says:

I was a life long democrat. I am now an independent and proudly cast my vote for Romney/Ryan. Character matters to me. If I stood in front of a class and told them they were going to do experiments, go on field trips and then turned around and assigned pages to read in class and lectured I would lose my credibility and respect with the students. My husband and I have worked hard over the years. We live within our means. I favor choice for women. Overall I believe we need to focus on jobs and stop the spending.

November 1, 2012 at 5:26 pm
(8) Jan says:

This is a very complicated issue. First off I am a Democrat and I always have been even though at times I have voted Republican. Secondly I believe I am a Christian although I am not sure how religion got stuck in politics and I don’t believe your religious beliefs should have anything to do with whether you are a Democrat or a Republican. Third I do want to say that for me I would never have gotten an abortion or suggested it to anyone. However all this being said.

I believe that all women should have the right to their own choices and beliefs and that I cannot tell someone else how to believe and I don’t think the government has that right either. My daughter takes birth control pills to control a hormonal imbalance. She cannot stop bleeding without them. When a political party wants to tell women they do not have the right to birth control and that insurance should not have to pay for it I think that it is wrong. I currently have to pay almost full price for her medication that she needs. I am hoping with the Affordable Healthcare Act that this will change.

I support Obama/Biden 100%. Because I believe they have my best interest in mind and will support me and my family.

November 2, 2012 at 1:54 am
(9) Tom Robinson says:

KR, I am not pro-abortion. I would like to see at least reduced and someday eliminated. But I don’t think anyone has the right to force a woman to carry a baby full term, especially in the case of incest or rape. I think Republicans lack of insensitivity on that issue is beyond appalling. Do you think that the fetus/baby is not going to sense how much the mother doesn’t want it, or that sensing that rejection won’t cause major emotional problems??

The way to reduce abortions is through sex education and especially family planning – something the Republicans want to eliminate. In my view, that makes them unconscionable hypocrites.

November 2, 2012 at 12:13 pm
(10) Don says:

First off not all republicans are even anti abortion, most yes, but even then I would think it would be a minority that would extend that to rape or incest. Yes there are some high profile cases of that mentality but I would question if it is the majority. The other thing I have to challenge you on is I think Republicans favor education and family planning to prevent pregnancy to avoid abortions. The issue with Planned Parenthood was they wanted PP to either stop doing abortions or stop recieving federal money. The issue was federally funded abortion not family planning and education.
I found it interesting that several times you referred to the “baby” and the emotional trauma inflicted on it by unwanted pregnancy. This flys completely in the face of the argument that it is not a life, it is not a person/baby it is a part of the woman’s body and therefore does not qualify for protection under the law. If one takes the position it is a baby as you state, but it is just better to abort it than let it suffer emotional trauma, you are basically saying it is better to kill the “baby” then let it endure birth to someone who may not want it. While I may not completely agree with Trisha I understand her argument that it is not a life/baby and therefore the mother can do as she chooses better than it is a life/baby but will be damaged so its ok to terminate it. This is a complex issue, an emotional one. Trisha if I misunderstood your position please tell me, but I took it that you challenge the anti abortion folks on the basis that a mother is not terminating a life since you do not agree that the fetus is a life yet? Or do you agree, it is a life but the mother has the right to terminate it since it is “part of her body”?

November 3, 2012 at 7:17 pm
(11) Ashley says:


Where “life” begins is far beside the point for most of us who are pro-choice. The point that is being made is that the right wing of the government has this sudden need to legislate healthcare decisions, whether they involve abortion or birth control. The original blog post is in regard to a PSA encouraging women to stand up and defend their right to make their own healthcare decisions.
We can have debates about voting your conscience all day long – (how can a Christian vote for anyone supporting the death penalty?) – but YOUR conscience, specifically, should have no bearing in MY healthcare decisions. And if you want to specifically address Planned Parenthood, they perform a valuable service, providing family planning (read: birth control) to those who need it – which ultimately has reduced and will continue to reduce the number of abortions that need to be performed. They also work to reduce the disparity in healthcare services between the high and low incomes. Poor women are far more likely to die from breast cancer, and isn’t that a shame? Thank goodness PP is around to provide free mammograms and thank goodness someone is out there working to close that treatment gap.
Reversing Roe v Wade, defunding Planned Parenthood, and/or shutting down Obamacare would take away the rights of 51% of the population. Period.

November 4, 2012 at 7:21 pm
(12) KR says:

Dear Trisha Torrey

Even your husband refused to decide on the terrible dilemma. Why? He realized it was a decision on one personís life for another. So, your husband recognized the principle that the unborn fetus is your living child.

Even for you, it was a terribly difficult decision because you, in your deepest innermost being, realized it was a decision that it was a choice between your life and your childís life.

In the case that you faced, is a life-for-a-life situation. That is why your decision was so difficult. It came down to the person’s conscience and choice. In your situation, I don’t see a right or wrong answer. So in everything I write, I am not at all referring to a life-for-life decision, like yours. So in what I say below, it does not apply to your case.

So please donít bring your different scenario to cloud the issue where the motherís life is not in danger.

It does not help the issue to couch it in language that is disingenious. Call it what it is: a woman’s decision on the living babyís life. Donít couch it as the womanís decision on her body. The baby is in the womanís body. It is not the womanís body. If you were to phrase it like that, while I would disagree with you, but I would respect you. Right now, I feel for your pain, but I disrespect the way you phrase the issues to hide the terrible dilemma faced by the people involved.

I would respect Democrats if they honestly said that they demand the right for a woman to choose whether to end her childís life, I would respect that. Instead, they couch it in spin, by saying it is a right to choose what happens to HER body. No, itís the demand for the mother to choose what happens to the BABYís body.

November 4, 2012 at 7:22 pm
(13) KR says:

Regarding Republican Richard Mourdockís comment, where he said: “And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

Hereís how I would have said it: Rape, in every case, is morally wrong. But the life, created as a result of the rape, is, by definition, sacred. It has to be that way, otherwise, if the fetus grew to a child, the argument would be that personís life lacks the same respect as any other life.

So we are distinguishing the horror of the rape, versus the inherent sanctity of any human life. There are many stories of people, who are born from rape, who lived amazing lives.

If a person was born from rape, and he/she grows up, nevertheless, they can, like all of us, stand before God and realise that their life was intended to happen. When that rape-child grows up, they can realise their life was not a mistake. Trisha Torrey, can you see that I am looking at this from the rape-childís life. Their life is precious and not a mistake. The rape was a terrible crime. But human life, in any form, is not a mistake.

If you disagree with me, work the argument from your viewpoint. If you believe the life was a mistake, imagine how that rape-child grows up thinking their life was a mistake. Whereís the human dignity for that person? Whereas, the fact is, every human being has dignity, even a person born from a terrible rape. The rape was a 100% crime, but the resulting life is 100% holy.

So, in summary, we donít mix the issues. The rape was a terrible event. The human life is always sacred.

November 5, 2012 at 7:34 am
(14) Trisha Torrey says:


The United States of America, where I live, and where the election discussed in this thread will be held, was founded on purposeful separation of church and state.

You live in Australia – different country. I don’t know what tenets were used to create your constitution.

You are right that we are talking about a woman’s right to decide whether a pinhead-sized group of cells – or her own well-being – is more important. It’s not up to you and me – or our governments – to tell her what to decide.

And THAT is what we are talking about here – a pinhead-sized group of cells. Don’t try to make this into a conversation about killing babies because that is NOT the argument.

And what I am telling you is that no government that has been founded on a separation of church and state, and which has been founded on the principle that all its citizens are “created equal” – can turn around and say “except when we tell you differently.” And that’s what any government that holds sway over a woman’s body would be doing.

So there’s your argument, Ms. Anonymous Australian. And I’ll make you a deal – I’ll stay out of politics in your country. You stay out of politics in mine.


November 8, 2012 at 2:05 am
(15) KR says:

If this were a matter of killing a pin-head sized group of cells, then – based on that – don’t give me the sob story of how your husband couldn’t make the call, and how you were so torn such that it gives you the authority to demand that others don’t lecture you.

The debate requires consistency.

Two options, actually, three options:

1 – IT IS A PIN-HEAD GROUP OF CELLS, then it is no big deal, then you and your husband were fretting over nothing but a bunch of cells.

2 – THOSE CELLS ARE HUMAN LIFE, which means it is fullyl understandable for your husband to be at the horns of a dilemma, and for you to have truly torn apart at the life-for-life decision, which you finally had to decide based on your conscience.

3 – THAT YOU WILLING TO LIVE WITH INCONSISTENCY. i.e. in your heart and conscience, you operate on the basis that it really was a human life, which caused something inside you to realise it was a really, really, really tough decision. Whereas, in your mind, you hold to a form of indoctrination that makes you think this is piddling nothing but a bunch of cells.

I’m not sure if you can look yourself in the mirror, and realise the inconsistency of your reasoning. Trish, you can’t have it both ways — even though you choose to. What is it?

Work the logical flow of thought. See how one thing leads to another.

You’ve painted yourself into a corner.

If it is a piddly pin-head of cells, what the heck where you and your husband fussing so much about it. Just kill it, and go for a movie. But maybe, you’re a human being created in the image of God, and deep down, in your deepest heart, you know what is truth.

November 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm
(16) Ashley says:

So here’s the thing KR – your argument is based on any life being considered sacred. But that’s simply not reality. The truth is that babies born of rape, a mother FORCED to give birth to a child she did not want, those babies start life out with a major disadvantage. Economists like Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner have proven, via indisputable data, that a lack of access to abortion increases the poverty rate and crime rate. The mother is a victim of rape, and the child becomes a victim of neglect. And the same people that seek to take away a woman’s access to birth control are the same people that seek to take away her access to a safe and legal abortion, and are the same people that seek to take away her access to societal safety nets to help her raise her unwanted “rape child” (as you so flippantly call it.) So forgive me if I don’t buy your holier-than-thou argument, but unless YOU are personally willing to adopt every unwanted “rape child” in the US and give them a loving home, then you have no argument. Because though you may consider their lives sacred, their mothers may not. And that would be much more unfortunate outside the womb than inside.

November 11, 2012 at 8:47 pm
(17) KR says:

Ashley, by way of background, I would say, if I do not believe in God as revealed in the Bible, I would 100% agree with yours and Trisha’s approach.

I make a distinction between primary arguments, and secondary-consequential arguments.

For instance, if a person’s unspoken primary argument is that women are inferior, from that, the person could make a secondary-consequential argument that women should not be allowed to vote, and give seemingly cogent reasons. No matter how much you argue with that person, you will not shake them of their convictions, until you can uproot the false primary-unspoken argument that women are inferior.

Yours (Ashley) and Trisha’s stance on abortion are actually secondary-consequential arguments based on the un-discussed assumption that there is no God of the Bible.

Like me, I suggest you try a mind-game and imagine that you hold the view that there is a God who created human life, and see how the argument flows.

If I do a role-play by standing in your shoes, and hold the primary argument that there is no God, then I would definitely proceed to hold the consequential views on abortion that you (Ashley) and Trisha hold. If there is no God, I cannot see any reason for resisting your stance.

If there is no God, then the fetus is a bunch of cells, no different from the fetuses of animals.

If there is no God, I would then see no objection to terminating the growing cells in the woman’s body.

In other words, I would theoretically agree with everything you (Ashley) and Trisha have said on abortion, IF my primary belief was that there was no God as revealed in the Bible.

As an exercise, I wonder if you and Trisha are able to do as I have done, and put on someone else’s thinking cap, and stand in their shoes, and work the logic and argument, on the assumption that there is a God?

Having said that, I am aware that there are some who themselves “Christians” who are also pro-choice. That’s another topic in itself.

November 14, 2012 at 1:42 am
(18) Ashley says:

KR, if you ARE from Australia, then maybe you’re not aware: there is an inherent separation of church and state, written into the Constitution of the USA.

Joe Biden (our Vice President, a devout Catholic) said it best during the VP debate: “With regard to abortion, I accept my churchís position on abortionÖlife begins at conception in the churchís judgement. I accept it in my personal life. But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews. I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that Ė women Ė they canít control their body. Itís a decision between them and their doctor. In my view, and in the Supreme Court, Iím not going to interfere with that.”

Don’t assume that you know my religious beliefs or the journey I have taken through religion in my lifetime. Regardless of what the church believes, I believe, Trisha believes, or you believe, the state has no right to interfere in the decision a woman makes with her doctor in regard to her own healthcare.

November 15, 2012 at 7:08 am
(19) Trisha Torrey says:

Ashley and KR,

While I appreciate the passion both of you bring to this conversation, I am shutting down the comments on this post.

This website is focused on patient empowerment and not on arguments about politics and religion – and that is what this has turned into.

I thank you both for your input.


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