For about four years now, the Professional Left in Washington has been engaged in a desperate campaign to convince the American people that conservatives are engaged in a “War on Women.” You’ve probably seen the political ads or heard the rhetoric from television commentators. Their goal is to label anyone who is pro-life and believes taxpayer money shouldn’t be spent funding abortions is “anti-woman.”
Well, I’m a pro-life conservative, and I’m a woman. But, I haven’t declared war on myself.
Honestly, I find this whole line of attack pretty insulting on a few levels. First, they assume that reproductive issues are the only ones that matter to women. That is obviously not true. I care about issues that all Americans – men and women – care about: our economy and job growth, affordable food and energy, health care policy that makes sense. Actually, as a mom who buys the groceries, puts gas in the car, and takes kids to the doctor, I see the real-life impact of these policies.
But, this tactic is also offensive because there really is a “War on Women” going on today, but it isn’t a political one. It is a real war raged in countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan and others where women and girls have been subjugated to brutal oppression for generations.
Amber Barno, who served as a combat helicopter pilot in Afghanistan and Iraq, makes this very point in a thoughtful piece published in The Federalist this week. She details the acute instances over the last several months of women being sexually exploited and even enslaved in Iraq and Syria by the unrelenting terrorist group, ISIS. Over the years, we’ve heard too many stories of women being persecuted for simply trying to attain an education, with the most recent being the Nigerian girls abducted by Boko Haram.
Just last week, 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. You may recall Malala was shot in the face by Taliban militants for promoting education rights for girls in Pakistan. She survived and has persevered in her pursuit of education rights for girls despite threats that she and other Pakistani women face daily.
I hope Malala winning the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize is a reminder to all of us about what the real “War on Women” is, and what it is not. Instead of playing political games with such loaded terms, we should find ways to help truly oppressed women and girls across the globe.
Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives.