In response to the Virginia General Assembly’s legislative assault on women— “personhood” and mandatory ultrasound legislation—Republicans, Democrats and Independents have formed a PAC called the “Women’s Strike Force.” The creation of this PAC is encouraging and suggests movement conservative politicians—and the Republicans who have gotten in bed with them—will not only lose their war on women, they may lose their jobs. As its formidable name suggests, Women’s Strike Force is not messing around.
The Women’s Strike Force PAC will concentrate its efforts on recruiting and supporting candidates to oppose any elected official who supported the recent “personhood” or mandatory ultrasound legislation. Seven of the founding members of the PAC are retired women lawmakers. They will mentor and train candidates to run against VA legislators who have demonstrated, through their voting record, that they do not respect women’s right to control their own bodies. According to the PAC’s website, all funds raised for the Women’s Strike Force will be used to unseat every Virginia Legislator who voted in favor of HB1 (personhood law) or HB462/SB484 (mandatory ultrasound law)
The creation of this non-partisan PAC demonstrates that women (and men) across the political spectrum—when it comes to women’s reproductive rights—will not tolerate a return to the dark ages. They are demanding that abortion services be available without having to submit to forced ultrasounds or other punishing and restrictive measures, and, they are fighting the ludicrous law that a fertilized egg, from the moment of conception, is a person. The personhood law would expose a woman to prosecution under Virginia murder laws for “suspect” miscarriages, and for the use of IUDs and other forms of contraception, which prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. Radical conservatives treat both zygotes and corporations as persons but are quick to deny rights to actual human beings.
The event that sparked the founding of the PAC was Virginia Republican delegate Dave Albo taking to the floor of the Assembly to joke with his colleagues that his vote for the ultrasound bill caused his wife to deny him sex. If Women’s Strike Force is successful, he, and his friends who supported the bill, will be looking for a job.
Movement conservatives, who are noted for taking the long view, have worked for decades to infiltrate state legislatures. Now that they and their opportunistic Republican friends have won majorities, their perseverance is paying off in the passage of laws designed to keep women barefoot, pregnant and home schooling. But, these days, to survive economically, most couples with kids need two adults working outside the home, as well as the ability to control the size of their family. Polls show that the electorate overwhelmingly supports birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act. For example, 98% of Catholic women have used birth control at some point in their lives, even though the church hierarchy forbids its use.
It’s impressive that the Women’s Strike Force PAC is a multi-party effort. It could serve as a model for moderate Republicans, progressive Democrats, and Independents in other states to join forces to unseat radical right wing politicians who have extreme views that are anti-woman and out of step with mainstream America.