Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona

Rubio & Kasich: The Myth of the Republican Moderate (video)

burkaI was appalled by last night’s Lawrence O’Donnell Show on MSNBC.

O’Donnell and his guests were discussing the “moderate” policies of Republican Party Presidential contenders Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Ohio Governor John Kasich. (For the record, several months ago, I considered these two to be more moderatethan the rest, but recent developments have changed my opinion. They’re not moderate; they’re just not crazy scary like Cruz and Trump.)

Since when are War on Women Warriors considered “moderate”?

In one of the GOP debates, Rubio infamously said he would “restrict a woman’s right to choose nationwide and worldwide.” This type of male-privilege-dominated US foreign policy has forced 1000s of rape and incest victims to have their rapists’ children– like the Boko Haram girls.

According to the Huffington Post, 200 of the 700 women and girls who were freed from enslavement by Boko Haram were “visibly pregnant” after months of serial rapes by multiple soldiers. Because of the Helms Amendment, these girls and women were offered “dignity kits” with sanitary napkins, shampoo, and underwear when they were rescued but could not be offered safe abortions. From the Huffington Post

The policy in question is the Helms amendment, which prevents American aid from being used to pay for abortions. The domestic equivalent, the Hyde amendment, makes exceptions so that federal programs like Medicaid can be used to fund abortions for women who are the victims of rape and incest, or whose lives are in danger. But when it comes to Helms, the U.S. government does not allow any exceptions at all—not even for women who are raped in conflict or who would die without the procedure.

Because the U.S. is the single largest donor to women’s health programs, the Helms amendment drastically restricts access to safe abortion all over the world.


Kasich is aligned with the other “Christian” misogynists in the GOP stable of presidential candidates. The rallying cry to “defund Planned Parenthood” has arisen from the GOP debates, and all of the Republicans jumped on board.

Isn’t it enough that state legislatures have passed 100s of bills to put women’s health clinics out of business and to restrict a woman’s right to make choices regarding her health, her body, and the number of children she bares? Isn’t it enough that in states where Medicaid was not expanded and in which nearly all women’s health clinics have been closed, we see an increase in illegal abortions and an increase in premature death among women?

 Mother Jones and other news outlets recently reported that hundreds of thousands of Texas women have attempted to induce abortions themselves because of restrictive laws.

“This is the latest body of evidence demonstrating the negative implications of laws like HB2 that pretend to protect women but in reality place them, and particularly women of color and economically disadvantaged women, at significant risk,” said Dr. Daniel Grossman, one of the study’s co-authors and a professor in the department of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at the University of California-San Francisco, in a press call Tuesday morning.

Amy Hagstrom Miller, the president and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, an independent abortion provider in Texas and the lead plaintiff in the HB2 case currently before the Supreme Court, reiterated that Texas has seen a rise in self-induced abortions since abortion restrictions like HB2, and that terminating a pregnancy with DIY methods is not healthy for women.“Nobody should be denied safe and compassionate care based on her zip code,” said Hagstrom Miller. “But that’s exactly what’s been happening.

Now, the Republicans want to defund the one organization that provides affordable sexually transmitted disease (STD) screening, contraception, pregnancy tests, GYN services… and, yes, legal abortions?

This week Kasich signed a bill defunding a Planned Parenthood in Ohio. I find this ironic. During the debates, Kasich has referred multiple times to his faith instructing him to care for the poor and the sick; he uses this rationale to justify expanding Medicaid in his state. Many poor women use Planned Parenthood and other public health clinics that could also lose funding in Ohio now.

What right do we have to doom these women and girls and their babies to a life of poverty, strife, and… most likely… domestic violence? That is NOT a moderate position. This isn’t even the 1950s Mom and apple pie moralism we usually hear from right-wing politicians; it is medieval.

Reality check: if you want to stop abortions, make contraception free and sex education free and mandatory for boys and girls.

In 2016, it is open season on all women, including the one running for president.

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The Tucson Progressive: Pamela J. Powers

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals–not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election.

My platform focused on economic reforms to grow Arizona’s economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, grow local small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs.

In the Arizona House, I was a strong voice for fiscal responsibility a moratorium on corporate tax breaks until the schools were fully funded, increased cash assistance to the poor, expansion of maternal healthcare benefits, equal rights, choice, unions, education at all levels and protecting our water supply.

After three terms, I retired from the Arizona Legislature in January 2023 but will continue to blog and produce my podcast “A View from the Left Side.”

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