While our two organizations, Concerned Women for America and the Women’s Liberation Front, could hardly be farther apart on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage, we share a growing concern over much of the political left’s recent policy agenda for women.
A flurry of lawsuits is pressuring the Department of Defense to allow service members to identify into being recognized as a member of the opposite sex. This endorses the misguided notion that it would be safe to allow frontline combat troops to have inaccurate medical information stamped onto their dog tags, and completely disregards the physical privacy and dignity of female service members who would be required to share sleep and shower facilities with male colleagues.
The serious ramifications of forcing the military to falsify official records of sex doesn’t only open all branches of the service to civil rights liability, it creates immediate risks for the brave women who volunteer to serve our country.
For civilians, global news stories about the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders were quickly followed by stories from every part of the world about an increase in family and intimate partner violence against women. Yet the left continues to press for a version of the Violence Against Women Act that would make federal funding for women’s shelters and prisons contingent on allowing men to identify into being allowed to stay with women, instead of other men, on the basis of gender identity.
Both of our organizations include women who’ve survived domestic violence, as well as members deeply committed to women’s crisis shelters. We are appalled that this still-inadequate measure to ensure the safety of the most desperate, at-risk women is being derided as “exclusionary,” when approximately three women a day are murdered by current or former partners. Not even this means of preventing a leading cause of women’s deaths can now be for us.
Further, as the country has mainly joined to condemn the brutal killings of unarmed black people like Breonna Taylor and George Floyd at the hands of police, the righteous anger over these injustices is being used to demand the decriminalization of violence committed by members of the public —including rape and domestic violence — under the name of “prison abolition.”
Evidence-based analysis of what works to curb ongoing intimate partner violence, in both Minneapolis and High Point, N.C., indicates that arrest and police monitoring of offenders works best to reduce future violence and murders.
Are all of our nation’s local police forces deploying best practices in addressing domestic violence or rape? Hardly. But not getting what you want overnight is a poor reason to give up. Men like R. Kelly, Daniel Holtzclaw, Larry Nassar, and Harvey Weinstein needed a firmer criminal justice response, not a mediation session with the very communities in which they operated without restraint for so many years.
Many left-leaning organizations are also now promoting the decriminalization of pimping and sex-buying. Prostitution is a notorious crime against women and trafficked children. As the campaign organization Nordic Model Now explains, “Prostitution inherently contradicts the prostituted person’s absolute legal right to reject sexual advances and activity for any or no reason.”
The powerful American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), with hundreds of millions of dollars in funding at the national level alone and an issue portfolio large enough to be its own political party, leads the way on these and other policies harmful to women. Through popular social media accounts of national staff lawyers and the lawsuits brought by state affiliates and the national organization, the ACLU’s policies towards women are almost a caricature of those attitudes of the Vietnam-era male left that inspired the revolt of Second Wave feminists.
The ACLU and its state affiliates have variously opposed bans on female genital mutilation and child marriage, supported the sale of women’s bodies in surrogacy and prostitution, supported the full legalization of filmed prostitution, worked to end female-only sports for girls and women, demanded an end to indecent exposure and voyeurism protections for women in locker rooms and shared showers, looks to end women-only scholarships and business grants, and seeks to erase the very recognition of sex under the law.
What’s next? Are they going to come for our right to enter contracts under our own names — for housing, banking, or employment — without the permission of a male guardian, too? How do they feel about our right to vote? Because it appears that’s the direction they are headed.
Just this week, demonstrators claiming to represent the demand of every reasonable person for a fair and accountable criminal justice system toppled the Forward statue outside the state capitol in Madison, Wisconsin. The statue was funded by suffragists to commemorate women’s right to vote and was cast by a woman at a time such a prestigious commission would have been hard for a female artist to come by. Given that Forward was torn down at the same time as a statue of a Union war veteran, supposed demands for “progress” seem to be devolving into iconoclastic anarchy, and that’s never good for women.
The left has been telling women for a generation that they’re our best chance to build our hopes for justice and equality into a new edifice of rights and protections. But if that were true, they would stop chipping away at the foundations of existing rights and protections we never agreed they could destroy.