In Case You Were Wondering…

In case you were wondering whether women will save America, as Morton Marcus and I argued in our recent book, or whether the GOP has radicalized a sufficient number of female voters  to prevent a Blue Wave and block necessary reforms…

A few days ago, I wrote about the misnamed “Moms for Liberty,” and noted that the activism of rightwing women isn’t a new phenomenon. And that’s true–a “quick and dirty” list of reactionary women’s organizations  would include at least the following:

  • The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), which has  historically attracted conservative-leaning women and  supported right-wing values.
  • The National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW), which serves as a grassroots network supporting Republican Party candidates and their increasingly radical policies.
  • Concerned Women for America (CWA) is a (truly scary) conservative Christian women’s organization supporting a fundamentalist list of “traditional family values”– it  opposes  abortion, same-sex marriage, and LGBTQ rights, among other positions.
  • Turning Point USA (TPUSA) isn’t an exclusively female organization, but it has a significant female following. It focuses its efforts on those “liberal” college campuses.

And of course, we now have “Moms for Liberty.”

On the other hand, there is an unmistakable and growing gender gap in American electoral politics: the Pew Research Center’s analysis of nationally validated voter data reported that, in 2020,  57% of women supported Biden, while 42% supported Trump. (I personally find it difficult to understand why any sentient American would support TFG, let alone 42% of women, but facts are facts….)

When it comes to policymakers, the differences between male and female legislators are pretty stark. On the one-year anniversary of the Dobbs decision, the Guardian ran an article–with pictures!–of all state-level legislators who had voted to ban or dramatically restrict abortion, and as the headline pointed out, they were “mostly men.”

To be precise, there were 1292 Republican men, 214 Republican women, 53 Democratic men, 11 Democratic women, and 2 independents.

Those numbers do reflect a considerable gender gap, but one that–I would argue–doesn’t reflect some inherent aspect of gender identity so much as individual experience. If American males had lived under a government that controlled what they could do with their bodies, while allowing women to control theirs, the gap would probably be reversed.

As I have repeatedly argued, Americans aren’t arguing about whether or not an individual woman should be able to abort a fetus. The issue is far more fundamental: What should be the limits of government authority over individual citizens?

“Moms for Liberty” is such a ridiculous title because giving government at any level–school boards or state legislatures or federal agencies–the authority to tell parents what their children can read or learn is the antithesis of liberty.

Giving government the power to force women to give birth, handing over to government the power to overrule the medical judgments of doctors and the considered decisions of parents, allowing government to overrule businesses’ decisions about diversity and  inclusion–handing such broad authority to government is the opposite of liberty.

Our government was founded on the libertarian principle that people should be free to make their own decisions about their lives–their goals, their beliefs, their telos–so long as the individual is not harming the person or property of someone else, and so long as they are respecting the equal rights of others.

We can certainly argue about the nature of the harms that justify government interference, but that principle precludes defining “religious liberty” as the privileging of  (selected) Christian beliefs. It precludes imposing the policy preferences of legislators on businesses that are otherwise behaving lawfully. It precludes empowering some parents to dictate to others what their children may read or what medical interventions are appropriate. It absolutely precludes forcing women to give birth.

Actual liberty demands a lot of people–first and foremost, the ability to live in a society where people who don’t always agree with you have the same right to personal autonomy that you do.

Women and men who understand the fundamental nature of the MAGA assault on liberty will vote Blue in 2024.


  1. Roe vs Wade was for first term abortions primarily. The movement to claim women should have the ability to abort up to full term without a medical reason or unjust cause of rape goes against the science that the child who is viable should be aborted. There is a sliding scale in relation to abortion and its approval.
    We can certainly argue on what books should be read in our schools because any author can ascert anything in the pages of a book. This is up to parents and the voter how children are to be educated and what books should be presented. How things have changed since my parents were sent a permission slip for us to engage in discussions about sex. Now parents are being deemed terrorists for showing up at school boards ? Liberty requires all people to participate, but the parent has the ultimate control and democracy itself is being challenged if parents don’t have control over what their kids learn

  2. The Republican party got its electoral fingers burned in 2022 by alienating many women on the subject of abortion. So now they’re working to recapture some of the female voters they lost through the misnamed “moms for liberty”, and loudly scapegoating LGBTQ people for political advantage.

    As Eric Hoffer and George Orwell pointed out, centrally-organized hatred is one of the easiest and most obvious ways to motivate a political movement. Hitler and others have demonstrated the practical application of this theory. Evidently the brain trust of the modern day fascist party has decided that a group making up about 10 percent of the population is a better target than one that makes up half the population.

  3. I would have to disagree with John S, who seems to speak from a male perspective regarding women’s health. There are many reasons a woman needs to control her own health care decisions. One overarching reason is that way way way too many men putting forth laws regarding women’s healthcare have no or limited knowledge about a woman’s body, about pregnancy risks and complications, and few are medical professionals. (Think small business owner, auctioneer, realtor, lawyer, etc.)

    As far as a small group of parents dictating what schools can and do teach? So many of these people who cry and whine have not spent time in a classroom and many don’t have children in school. As someone who has spent much of my life in classrooms around the world, these groups are political mechanisms that do not have a basis in reality. Teachers don’t have time to do all of the things they are accused of. They are busy people! The war against public education is brutal and won’t end until the nonsense being spouted by these fringe groups is stopped. And that happens at the ballot box. And Indiana is a prime example of the toll such extremism can take.

  4. Im thinking about writing a book paralleling “The Emperor Has No Clothes” titled “ The Nibbling President still has Teeth”. When will it end? If a parent has problem or is offended I will make the claim you have no right to deny my viewpoint. Of course the title is crass, uncaring. The title is offensive. So are many newer books that are being presented in our schools today. Parents objecting to them is a democrtic right whether I agree with them or not.

  5. Let’s hope women can save the country! Unfortunately, Democrats have chosen to use men engaged in cos-play as women as their brownshirts.

    This is alienating women.

  6. John S. Sure, I have no right to deny your viewpoint. But you have no right to force an elected school board to impose your viewpoint on my children.
    And the same goes for abortion.

  7. Trans-women (men posing as women) will have Healthcare long before genuine women. Democrats will see to it that it happens in such order.

  8. John S – You have the right to decide what your children read, but not mine. And I do not know anyone who believes aborting a baby at full term is okay.

  9. And Ian, just which political party is DENYING health care to segments of society? Which political party believes it knows more about obstetrics than doctors? Not the Democrats. It’s the Republicans. And how has your party, the fascist Republicans, gone about denying health care to women and trans people? Through their gerrymandered state legislatures and their corrupt Catholic Supreme Court that’s how.
    Sell your crap someplace else, but don’t try to sell it to me.

  10. Ian; what about health care for trans men; women who became men? Chasity Bono who became Chaz and others who required the very specialized medical care and the psychological therapy required for full adjustment to the change? Women need psychological therapy to adapt to the change (no pun intended) after hysterectomy surgery which drastically changes their lives.

    Joy Reid and Vice President Kamala Harris provided a map of Texas showing the mass numbers of counties which no longer provide OB/GYN treatment for women to remain healthy during wanted pregnancies and to deal with the problems which can and do occur. Also the toll a pregnancy takes on a healthy woman’s body with physical and hormonal changes which often causes serious effects on their physical and mental lives post pregnancy. Not to mention the drastic toll a miscarriage takes on women, who lose a much wanted and loved baby, for the rest of their lives. Texas doctors are refusing to treat impending miscarriages, either to save or end the pregnancy safely, because they could face arrest for providing any form of treatment. Democrats have been fighting Republicans for decades for decent health care for women for decent basic health care as well as birth control and that battle has no end in sight.

    And, Ian, your term “men posing as women” is highly offensive. And it is primarily old white men making these observations and the decisions.

  11. Ian, you are correct, and it’s sad to watch.

    TFG should attract single-digit support from women, but this country has many stupid people who are easily conned.

  12. Debbie,

    Well said. When I started writing novels in 2015, I reflected on what I knew, what I experienced and what I saw from others including parents when I taught science. The outcome and distillation of the knowledge and experience led me to feature strong women with independence leading the way. In turn, those women became attractive to the male characters I created. Granted, my creations were from whole cloth, a cloth woven from the threads of the great women in my personal life and those from all of history.

    In my books, men NEVER got away with subjugating women in any way. Yes, this is somewhat idealistic, but Republican men continue to subjugate women for the sake of their fetid politics. This book-banning bullshit is right out of Joseph Goebbels’ playbook of how to have a fascist dictatorship. No, marginally educated, non-reading parents do NOT have the right to whine to the school boards and “demand” that certain books be removed.

    So, once again Republican strategy comes to the rescue of sanity, fairness and decency all in the name of power and answering to their paymasters in corporate/banking America.

    For some enjoyable and entertaining idealistic stories about how things should be, please visit my website, for a clearer view of life in America.

  13. I’m not a Republican. Liberals need to get it through their dense skulls that when someone disagrees , that in itself doesn’t make that someone a Republican. This is why independents are getting turned off by Democrats. What was once a party for working people has become the party of Karen and pedophiles.

  14. Tori Bowie (Olympic gold winner) died recently

    She was 32 and was home alone when she went into labor at 8 months and both mother and child died. She was a healthy woman who died in childbirth because she didn’t have access to healthcare when she needed it.

    “Preeclampsia is a sudden spike in blood pressure,” according to the National Institutes of Health. “Eclampsia is more severe and can include seizures or coma.”

    That baby was wanted but didn’t survive even an 8 months gestation. If she had access to help, they would have preformed an abortion and both the mother and baby may have survived.

    But never mind, the right leaning men know more than doctors and will decide when and if a woman gets healthcare including an abortion where neither one would have died. I’m so sick of hearing these men claim that abortions aren’t necessary! This example blows that b.s. out of the water.

  15. Ian: you may not be a Republican, but you demonstrate their mindset: if you don’t like it, blame it on Democrats. Where is the evidence that transgender will be given priority for medical care instead of women?

  16. Right wing women have been banning school books since at least the 1970s. Norma and Mel Gabler of Texas had a well-organized group of mostly women to censor textbooks there. Because Texas was the largest textbook market in America, publishers of textbooks nationwide used the Texas standard for textbook adoption.

    Phyllis Schlafly formed the Concerned Women for America group which opposes not only abortion but also birth control. I cannot understand why their opposition to birth control has not received more attention for the last 50 years. That affects nearly 4 times as many women. Opposition to birth control has never made sense to me. The best way to prevent abortions is to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

    Schlafly’s group has also been very active in book banning and opposition to public schools for 50 years. Their notoriety waxes and wanes, but their conservative agenda remains the same. They are very dedicated to reducing our liberty.

  17. If those on the conservative end of the populous would believe in science half as much they do their bibles, they might be interested in the genetics that produce “men posing as women.”. It’s not a pose, but a difference in genetic makeup. Hard to grasp, if you have never contemplated genealogy, but there are no simple answers. We have thousands of unknowns about genes and chromosomes, how they work together, and what every little difference might mean. My advice is to “buckle up, buttercup, we’re in for a bumpy ride,” until we learn a lot more!

  18. “First, do no harm.” That is a medical concept, and it ought to translate to the political world, as an ethical
    concept as mentioned by Sheila: You are free to do as you like, as long as you harm no one else, and respect
    the rights of others in so doing.
    Our problem, not just mine and yours individually, but the problem for ALL of us comes in when religion is
    brought into the governmental picture. Then we get into the issue of wanting what we interpret as MY god’s
    requirements to inform everyone else’s lives…regardless of what harms are done.
    Interpretations, as in “There are no coincidences.”

  19. Right you are, Aging Girl, though we all know these Republican used car and insurance salesmen elected to state legislatures in gerrymandered districts who decide womens’ reproductive health lives are far smarter than medical doctors in such matters, and it’s not just such representatives, i.e., we all know that Tucker Carlson and tfg are much smarter than Dr. Fauci because all of those people (Fauci included) are part of the deep state and are members of a secret cabal determined to end the America we know and love. Retch!

    We have politicized education, so now it’s medicine’s turn. It is important to politicize institutions because that is the means by which government removes genuine citizen authority (see school board putsches) over such institutions and assumes their control – and in the case of school boards > under the pretense of the assertion of “parental rights!” Bill of Rights? Constitutional limitations on government overreach? Whut’s thet? We don’t even punish (or haven’t yet) our 1/6 treasonous instigators other than some slobs on the scene who answered the call of the instigators, an event the equivalent of the Reichstag arsonists in then Nazifying Germany some ninety years ago. We now have used car salesmen telling the gentry to refuse shots and pills and a football coach who is deciding military policy under cover of an arcane Senate rule.

    Let’s hope these used car salesmen, 1/6ers and coaches don’t decide to take on the Air Traffic Controllers next.

  20. In other related news, did anyone see the recent data that said black women are almost 3 times more likely to die in childbirth than white women? And the number was staggering: 12% of white women die during childbirth. “Other women” of color have about an 18% chance of dying during childbirth.

    Those data not only speaks volumes about the state of our health care system (tragically poor) but also how that greed-oriented system is racially unequal to boot.

    We can whine and gnash our teeth about this or that issue regarding abortion and women’s rights, but we have a SYSTEMIC problem that people like Ian choose to not grasp.

    As with our failing condominium, fixing the leaks for years rather than replacing a broken and obsolete A/C system creates a catastrophic episode where 11 stories of people are baking during the hottest week of the year. Oh, and the only elevator is broken due to the extra heat. THAT is what happens when entire systems are ignored while whiners like Moms for Liberty thrash about over things they don’t understand.

    And here, Todd is wrong. The Democrats will do no such thing. They may be incompetent at branding and campaigning, but they’re not ideologically driven to insanity like Republicans.

  21. Ian: ” Liberals need to get it through their dense skulls that when someone disagrees , that in itself doesn’t make that someone a Republican … What was once a party for working people has become the party of Karen and pedophiles.”

    Just – wow!! That’s not only one of the most hypocritical pot/kettle comments I’ve ever read here (and that’s saying a lot), it’s one of the most offensive. I will not miss seeing you here in the least, Ian. Pedophiles. Really?? Who the hell do you think you are?

  22. Democrats, like democracy, advertises its goods and services to an unbranded audience.

    Republicans, as a counter advertising strategy, appeal to a heavily branded audience chasing a slight majority, enough for power, if insufficient for good Constitutional governance. They have no plan for governance but hope to monetize power.

  23. I don’t know who John S. or Ian are but I hope that the women in their lives realize how dangerous both are to their well-being.
    As Prof. Kennedy has repeatedly pointed out, “Our government was founded on the libertarian principle that people should be free to make their own decisions about their lives–their goals, their beliefs, their telos–so long as the individual is not harming the person or property of someone else, and so long as they are respecting the equal rights of others.”
    That means that minding your own business and shutting up about things you will never experience until and unless you can demonstrate harm by force to you directly. If you are not willing to grant the same rights to others as you demand for yourself, the right to full bodily autonomy, the right of free exercise (or not) to worship, the right to vote and the right to equal treatment before the law, then you are not what you pretend to be.

  24. With regard to John S, anyone who objects to what the “system” prescribes for children’s education, has the option of home-schooling. Let them turn out carbon copies of themselves.

    With regard to Vernan’s comment. I saw recently a statement that said that overall, America’s health care system ranks somewhere between those of Yemen and Somalia.

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