Kansas Governor Brownback hadn’t read the now 71-page piece of legislation egregiously dubbed the “Women’s Right to Know Act” and the “No-Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” but that didn’t stop him from declaring he would sign it into law if it arrived on his desk. Being a “pro-life” governor, his eager willingness to approve any anti-choice legislation echoes the GOP’s tired political posturing against women’s reproductive rights.
Just so Brownback knows, HB 2598, would require women to hear the fetal heartbeat before getting an abortion. It would also force doctors to lie to patients seeking abortion by telling them that abortion causes breast cancer and allow doctors to withhold information from their patients if the doctors believe doing so would prevent the patient from continuing with an abortion.
Despite the bill’s serious repercussions for women’s reproductive health, Brownback didn’t feel he needed to read the details. His actions and the actions of other GOP leaders are evidence that the “pro-life” movement is so polarizing that any piece of legislation written in its name is automatically given credence and is infallible.
Brownback’s absurd and dismissive attitude was met by irreverent voices on the ever-growing social forum of Facebook. Both men and women called the governor out for acting as an expert on women’s bodies and women highlighted its inappropriateness by asking for his “expert” advice and opinion on reproductive medical issues. Brownback’s Facebook page is overwhelmed with posts poking fun at his ostentatious move but the posts also make some sharp political commentary. While mainstream media has consistently ignored women’s voices, Facebook has provided the perfect place for women to feel empowered to speak on these issues. And they have.
Many of the comments on Brownback’s page are tongue-in-cheek questions and statement about the biological function of women’s bodies.
“Every time I see my own menstrual blood I am overcome with sadness at the thought of an egg being destroyed! When do you plan on making menstruation illegal? My poor eggs never had a chance…”
“I need help quickly and I heard you are a better expert on women’s health than an OB/GYN…I had an IUD inserted and now I have an ugly bloody discharge with mucous and I’m running a fever and am shaky. I have no insurance. What should I do and where should I go?”
“I am going to be near the ocean and I wonder if it will be ok for me to go swimming as I will have my period – will I just attract sharks?”
This isn’t the first time that pro-choice advocates have used the “sarcasm bombing” technique. Just recently, Virginia State Senator Ryan McDougle who had supported the mandatory ultrasound bill, faced a page filled of snarky comments from different women and pro-choice advocates seeking women’s health issues advice.
And now, even Texas Governor Rick Perry’s Facebook page is getting snark-bombed by the advocates holding him accountable for cutting funds to women’s health programs.
Facebook and other social media sites have become the perfect place for women’s rights activism. First off, it is a great space to spread and gather information. By choosing a humorous way to highlight a serious issue, more people are aware of what’s happening to women’s reproductive rights state-by-state. And, they feel empowered to speak up about it because they can access these discussions in the same space that they would communicate with their friends. Also, women rule social media. Sure, women have limited access in almost every other sphere – but in social media, women are tops. In a study done by Rebtel, it was found that women are utilizing social media far more than their male counterparts.
And while GOP leaders continue to smother women’s reproductive rights – expecting to get away with it – women’s rights advocates are now using these means to fight back.