In a speech hosted by the Montana Federation of Republican women on Friday, Attorney General Tim Fox decided he was best positioned to tell women about the “war on women,” telling the crowd that the real practitioners of the war are those who provide access to legal reproductive health services in Montana:
Fox said the real war on women is being waged by what he called “the abortion industry.”
“It’s a well-financed special interest that fights to preserve taxpayer-funded subsidies,” he said. “In the United States today, more than 3,000 children are aborted every day,” Fox said. “How many of those are girls? These children are the most vulnerable, the most defenseless among us and they’re killed in the womb.”
Fox, seeming to ignore the special interest money that funded his own campaign in 2012, also attacked the idea of contraception mandates, asserting the bizarre right of insurers and corporations to not include contraception coverage.
In particular, Fox attacked reproductive rights advocates for working to overturn parental notification laws, going to far as to argue that parents needs to “consent” to their daughter’s decision to have an abortion:
The attorney general said “the abortion industry” in Montana “is spending considerable time and resources trying to overturn Montana laws requiring that parents be notified and give consent before their daughter has an abortion.”
Fox called that “a war on parents – on mothers – who have a legal and moral right to be involved in their lives of their children.”
Parental notification laws have long been used by the right wing as an effort to undermine legal access to abortion, because even those who support abortion rights are tempted to think it’s reasonable to require parental notification. What those people ignore—and what politicians like Fox try to exploit is the fact that some teens absolutely cannot seek consent, as Lorie Chaiten, director of the Reproductive Rights Project for the Illionois ACLU points out:
Forced involvement cannot conjure love and support where it’s absent.
“If you talk to people who actually work with dysfunctional families, when they hear about this law, they gasp,” Chaiten told Truthout. “We see young women who have been beaten and kicked out of their homes; young girls who have seen older sisters kicked out, whose families would force them to carry to term because of religious beliefs. These fears are quite real.”
In the end, consent laws make access to abortions more difficult, increase complications, and encourage late-term procedures, while increasing the vulnerability of teenagers unlikely to access the courts when family pressure makes abortion difficult.
While it was certainly magnanimous of Attorney General Fox to deign to tell women the real nature of the war against them, he’d do better to listen to the concerns of Montana, who don’t want their their health decisions made by an Attorney General and his right-wing staff.