The Daily Escape:
Mountain Laurel with waterfall, Panther Creek trail, Chattahoochee NF, GA – May 2023 photo by Paula Johns
The Republican drumbeat to impose restrictions on women’s sexuality are growing ever louder. We’ve seen the Republicans pass laws to do exactly that in states where they have the legislative power to do so, regardless of local public opinion.
This Republican war on abortion, mifepristone, and contraception says that female bodily autonomy is a problem for most of the GOP (with some exceptions). It is pursued by Republican politicians from the lowliest state legislator to the Party’s representatives on the Supreme Court.
Some say that the Republican Party isn’t anti-woman, but the actions of Republican-led states and legislatures provide the best guide to what the Republican Party wants to do, and the best insight into the society it hopes to build. When Republicans call for a return to traditional values in family life, they mean returning to a legal and cultural place where women no longer have the freedom to leave bad marriages, the freedom to choose to have some or no children, or the freedom to obtain professional employment.
Jamelle Bouie had an op-ed in Sunday’s NYT about state GOPs efforts to gain cultural control over life in America. He outlined the “Republican Four Freedoms”, which are decidedly different from FDRs:
There is the freedom to control — to restrict the bodily autonomy of women and repress the existence of anyone who does not conform to traditional gender roles.
There is the freedom to exploit — to allow the owners of business and capital to weaken labor and take advantage of workers as they see fit.
There is the freedom to censor — to suppress ideas that challenge and threaten the ideologies of the ruling class.
And there is the freedom to menace — to carry weapons wherever you please, to brandish them in public, to turn the right of self-defense into a right to threaten other people.
And the Right continues to try to move the limits of control even further. Rolling Stone reports that:
“Republicans across the country are now reconsidering no-fault divorce. There isn’t a huge mystery behind the campaign: Like the crusades against abortion and contraception, making it more difficult to leave an unhappy marriage is about control.”
If you think that’s strange, more than two-thirds of all heterosexual divorces in the US are initiated by women. All 50 states and DC have no-fault divorce laws on the books — laws that allow either party to walk away from an unhappy marriage without having to prove abuse, infidelity, or other misconduct in court.
It took more than four decades to end fault-based divorce in America: California was the first state to eliminate it, in 1969; New York didn’t come around until 2010. But Mississippi and South Dakota still only allow no-fault divorce if both parties agree to dissolve the marriage.
Researchers who tracked the emergence of no-fault divorce laws state by state over that period found that the passage of no-fault divorce resulted in a 20% decline in suicide for married women in the first decade, and about a 40% decline since the first law passed in 1967. There also were dramatic drops in the rates of domestic violence, and spousal homicide of women.
Texas and other states are looking at legislation to end no-fault divorce. More from Rolling Stone:
“A…proposal is presently being workshopped by the Republican Party of Louisiana. The Nebraska GOP has affirmed its belief that no-fault divorce should only be accessible to couples without children.”
“At the Republican National Convention in 2016 — the last time the party platform was overhauled — delegates considered adding language declaring, “Children are made to be loved by both natural parents united in marriage. Legal structures such as No Fault Divorce, which divides families and empowers the state, should be replaced by a Fault-based Divorce.”
It’s kinda awful that Republican males seem to think that the only way to retain their partner is to legally trap them in the marriage. The GOP effort to end no-fault divorce is becoming a key piece of their agenda.
Time to wake up America! The GOP has been captured by religious radicals and wingnut social conservatives who would be happy if they could return the country to the way society was in the 1940s.
To help you wake up, watch and listen to Gloria Gaynor perform her hit “I Will Survive”, the ultimate breakup song. Did you ever notice at weddings, whenever this is played, all the women get up and dance?
This is just so bizarre (re divorce). Raised in a Catholic home where in the 50s at least, divorce was unavailable, we heard of so many women trapped in a bad marriage. In any case, over the years even Catholics accept civil divorce (so it is no longer a scandal). That some want to end no fault divorce is bizarre.