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Bruce Hagen, Bismarck, Published April 21 2012

Republicans trampling on women

I am astounded at what is going on in the Republican Party with regard to women’s issues.

First came the attacks on Planned Parenthood, the comment that women should “keep an aspirin between their knees,” and bills authorizing unnecessary medical procedures forcibly applied to women that meet the legal definition of rape.

At some point in all this, certain religious leaders and Rick Santorum came out against all forms of contraception and told women to make lemonade out of lemons if they should be impregnated through the act of rape.

Rush Limbaugh took the attacks to new heights in his ravings aimed at a Georgetown law student. He was subsequently backed up by numerous right-wing media personalities.

Then came the Republican vote against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women’s Act, which provides support for victims of domestic violence. Shamefully, our own Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D., voted along with his Republican colleagues and against women who are victims of abuse. This was followed by the Wisconsin Republican governor rolling back the clock and making it harder for women to receive equal pay for equal work.

The GOP budget pushed by Congressman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., (and championed, again, by Berg), is devastating in the way it slashes support for programs that help women of all ages.

This legislation against women is outrageous. It is a war on women. The evidence is overwhelming. It’s not even the 1950s they want to take us back to; it’s more like the 1350s – where women simply had no role in society other than to take care of men and families inside the confines of their home.

Both of my grandmothers were not allowed to vote until they were over 30 years old when the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed guaranteeing all individuals the right to vote.

Women should be guaranteed the protections of the Violence Against Women Act, which provides support for victims of domestic violence. Why did Berg choose to go down such a path against women? It will be interesting to see where this path leads come November.

Hagen was a North Dakota Public Service commissioner 1961-2000, the longest-serving commissioner in state history, and the only Democrat to serve on the Public Service Commission.

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