By Rita Henley Jensen
WeNews Editor in Chief
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Olympia Snowe is bailing from her lonely GOP outpost and Republicans are trying to limit reproductive rights every which way they can. But Rita Henley Jensen is still mighty optimistic about women's prospects in November.
(WOMENSENEWS)--It's the GOP's Super Tuesday today but last week's news that Olympia Snowe was bowing out of the Senate shows how un-super the Republican Party has become for a moderate woman like her.
And therein lies the source of my optimism about what will happen in November. The push-back movement is underway and growing.
Snowe, one of two pro-choice Republican senators, seems like a relic from an entirely different time in her party. She has been a reliably pro-woman voice in the national Republican Party for 34 years; 40 years if you toss in the years she spent in the Maine legislature.
Two days after she announced she would not run again she was the sole Republican to vote against the Blunt amendment. Defeated in a 51-48 vote, it would have permitted any employer to refuse to provide insurance for contraceptive or other health care based on "moral objections."
Her decision comes on the heels of major supporters of the Republican presidential candidates demonstrating enormous contempt for women's health.
"Conservative" talk radio host Rush Limbaugh made repeated attacks on a Georgetown law school student last week, calling her a "slut," and a "prostitute," among a host of similar insults. When his advertisers began bailing, Limbaugh issued a statement over the weekend that he described as an apology and on Monday insisted he was sincere.
The advertisers used strong language on their way out. Not so for the candidates. Mitt Romney, often described as the most moderate in the pack, said Limbaugh's rant against Sandra Fluke did not include "the language I would have used." Ron Paul, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich were even more tepid.
And Foster Friess, a key backer of Rick Santorum, got nostalgic during a mid-February national televised interview for the days when "they used Bayer Aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly." Santorum wrote it off as a joke.
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