Image Credit: Flickr user Gage Skidmore via Creative Commons
Gov. Bobby Jindal may be many things to many people. Son of immigrants. Catholic. Rhodes Scholar. WASP-wannabe. Wonker. Wunderkid. Bobby Brady. Tanned.
One thing he is certainly not, if we take his political record and most recent assault on Planned Parenthood seriously, is pro-woman.
Latching onto a heavily edited, decontextualized, anti-abortion clip, released by the Center of Medical Progress (CMP), alleging that Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services of Planned Parenthood, is profiting from selling fetal tissue and human body parts, Jindal wasted little time lending the full weight of his pulpit to help mask these fabrications as “revelations”, and use them as a pretext to red-light the construction of a new Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in New Orleans.
Jindal’s political record is a laundry list of attacks on pro-choicers, reproductive rights, and the sheer existence of Planned Parenthood.
As a U. S. House Representative, he had a 100 percent vote record on pro-life legislation. As state governor, he scaled down Obamacare health coverage to exclude abortion clinics and put his signature to anti-choice bills.
He’s publicly scoffed current Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton’s recommendations to adjust religious beliefs to accommodate for reproductive rights, calling the idea “preposterous and offensive” and an infringement on “religious liberty.”
In 2014, he signed the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act (HB388), a bill which could potentially spell the end of five abortion clinics in Louisiana, since it requires abortion providers hold admitting privileges within a 30 mile radius of local hospitals.
“This bill,” Jindal said of the legislation “will give women the health and safety protections they deserve.”
For “women” read “criminals,” since, back in 2011, that was his brand of language to portray women seeking health services at abortion clinics, when he signed HB636:
“When officers arrest criminals today, they are read their rights. Now if we’re giving criminals their basic rights and they have to be informed of those rights, it seems to me only common sense we would have to do the same thing for women before they make the choice about whether to get an abortion.”
Tuh-mey-toh. Tuh-mah-toh. Aborters. Criminals. One term is as good as the other, right?
More recently, he’s been partial to boasting on the campaign trail that, in all five years of his tenure, his state has been the “most pro-life.”
Translation: of everyone in the Republican “clown car“ vying for their party’s nomination, he’s been the most vigilant in pursuing “criminals” — women who dare to own their ovaries.
And for anyone tempted to mention his watered-down “Equal Pay For Women Act” (which, ironically, applies only to state workers), keep in mind that women in Louisiana continue to make 69 cents for every dollar brought in by men.
When political scandals do not arise organically in this topsy-turvy world of ours, right-wing candidates get to work doubling-down on manufacturing some new piece of fiction, or nefarious activity, that threatens to rip apart the moral fabric of “the American people.”
In every conceivable way, all Republican presidential contestants must, and will, do their part to appease the base, differing only by minor degrees of buffoonery. Even at the expense of the base’s own good.
(Not to be outdone by Jindal, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, has signed his own “punitive anti-abortion bill”).
Social conservatives and religious fundamentalist feast on this shit for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
This tactical move of doubling down applies twofold for candidates predicted to run a race on exhaust fumes.
Every election season, when Republican candidates and conservative media come out to play, we’re treated to sweet ear-fulls of “La la la la. I can’t hear you!” to the tune of prosecuting Roe v. Wade.
Is this a sign that they’re out of touch with the modern world? You bet. But, when your goal is to maintain a delicate balance of feigning progressive solutions to serious issues and masking just how out of touch the GOP is on women’s issues and the twenty-first century altogether, who cares?
Charging abortion clinics with pocketing money from the products of terminated fetuses is nothing new. Consider Robin Marty’s observation in Dame Magazine, where she points out that groups such as Life Dynamics and Live Action have been trying to expose alleged baby killers for years.
However, something much more practical and mundane than moralizing is afoot with attacks on Planned Parenthood:
“Planned Parenthood’s political advocacy arms” Marty points out “had “near perfect ‘return on investment’” for the 2012 elections, using their fundraising gains for calls, get out the vote efforts, candidate awareness campaign and other resources, and most of that went to the presidential race. The 2016 White House race will be the most expensive ever, especially when it comes to outside interest groups, and conservatives want every advantage they can grab, especially when they can’t be sure that their own candidate will have any mainstream voter appeal.
In other words: this isn’t about caring for women or babies, but compensating an unpopular campaign platform by stopping a major source of your opponent’s cash flow.
No one lacks “mainstream voter appeal” more than Jindal. Broadly speaking, the whole right has its work cut out for it. And, while we know that a Jindal Administration is a pro-life administration, and would surely mean an expansion of the policies set in place in Louisiana, which would please his core audience, I implore readers to defer back to that sage wisdom on “doubling down” and “exhaust fumes,” glossed through several sentences ago.
The task of spotting a knock-off pro-female candidate (or official) from the genuine article is pretty straightforward. Simply point out the empirical inconsistency between policy positions and the claims — whether fact or fiction — candidate’s make about the better living conditions emerging from them. The more the two fork apart, or, in this case, the more a candidate guts indispensable heath services for women, while saying that it’s for their own good, the more you can be certain that the candidate is not the real thing, but something else.
Bobby Jindal is a knock-off. And there is nothing “healthy” or “safe” about his women-centered policies.
Knowing this, allowing it to sink in, should lead every unbiased person to pose a a very simple question to Mr. Jindal, “What did women ever do to you, Bobby?”