The #WaronWomen is most recently about birth control and whether it should be compulsory for anyone with an incorrect voting record, but Democrats have been confident in their superiority on “women’s issues” long before Sandra Fluke testified under oath to her incorrect understanding of Catholic University’s policies on contraception. Whether women are having babies, not having babies, having babies at work, not having babies because of work, or not having babies and also not working, Democrats are standing behind them encouraging them to do whatever it takes to register for a government program that will assist them at doing whatever it is they do.
Unless, of course, they’re actually inside the Democratic Party, apparently. Tammy Duckworth is an Illinois Representative who is eight months pregnant. She’s also an Iraq War vet who lost both her legs in combat. She can’t travel to Washington to cast her vote for Democratic Party leadership. And when she requested to vote by proxy, the Democratic caucus, through leaders Nancy Pelosi and Rosa DeLaura, some of the most vocal critics of the “Republican #WaronWomen” told Duckworth in no uncertain terms that, unless she showed up to vote, she was out of luck.
Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, who is expecting a baby in December, is being denied a request to vote by proxy in the House Democratic Caucus leadership and committee member elections next week—even though her doctor advises she can’t travel to Washington in the late stages of her pregnancy.
The Iraq War veteran, who lost both legs when her helicopter was shot down in 2004, made the request in a letter to fellow Democrats. Her letter was read during a closed-door Democratic Caucus meeting on Thursday. But objections were raised, and the request was denied, with opponents including Democratic Steering and Police Committee cochair Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Obviously, this is all the Republicans fault. Sometime last week, they brainwashed the two female Democratic legsilators in leadership positions to ignore Duckworth’s desire to participate despite being in the unique, female position of being seriously pregnant. DeLauro and Pelosi note that voting by proxy is against the caucus rules, and according to DeLauro’s spokeswoman, “Congresswoman DeLauro does not want to set a precedent. There are many meritorious situations where the argument could be made for a waiver, including Congresswoman Duckworth’s. The question is, how do you choose?”
Well, there’s one way: limit the exclusion to women who are in the last trimester of pregnancy where travel is expressly forbidden. That seems like the most rational, even dare I say, feminst way to handle things. After all, men can’t have babies – this is a uniquely female problem – and women in this situation are clearly put at a disadvantage as compared to their male counterparts. The only other option is not to have children at all while you’re actively serving in Congress, and that’s something I suspect real feminists can’t abide. Regardless of whether a ban on voting by proxy is part of the Democratic caucus rules, a Democratic caucus that prides itself so highly on being in touch with women and their issues in the workplace should recognize that what could be considered an abjectly sexist rule needs a change.
Of course, there may be other reasons Pelosi is opening a front against Rep. Tammy Duckworth that has nothing to do with her reproductive choices.
None of the caucus’s top leaders, including Pelosi, are being directly challenged in their bids to reclaim their posts. But both Rep. Anna Eshoo of California, who is backed by Pelosi for the Energy Committee ranking member’s seat, and Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, who is backed by Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, are battling to convince a majority of House Democrats to vote for them.
Duckworth is among those who have thrown her support behind Pallone—against Pelosi’s choice of Eshoo.
In the fight between principles and politics, it seems, politics has won.
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