The Scott DesJarlais brouhaha is less than a day old and already the feminists are pointing, laughing and explaining why this is about the least surprising political scandal over.
Over at Feministe, Jill says:
There’s a pretty clear hypocrisy angle here — a rabidly pro-life congressman who votes to de-fund Planned Parenthood gets his mistress pregnant and then pushes her to terminate the pregnancy. But really, this is just par for the “pro-life” course. Anti-choice organizations and politicians have never really cared about decreasing the abortion rate. If they did, they would promote policies that actually decrease the abortion rate. We aren’t talking rocket science here. Sex ed. Contraception. Healthy views of sex. Universal health care. Gender equality. BAM: Lower abortion rates. Instead, anti-choice politicians and organizations promote policies that increase the number of abortions, and they oppose common-sense efforts to promote women’s health and make abortion rare.
Why? Because abortion isn’t the point. Traditional gender roles are the point. Contraception, gender equality, education, health care and abortion rights all give women more freedom; when women have more freedom, they act on it, and they pursue roles other than traditional ones. And conservatives don’t like that.
If you assume that the belief that drives anti-choicers is the belief that women are the property of men, preferably conservative men, then DesJarlais’s alleged behavior [is] in line with that belief. He believed that it was his right and not his mistress’s to decide what happened with her pregnancy. He certainly believed his right to hold on to his marriage trumped his mistress’s right to out their relationship with her pregnancy. According to the divorce documents, he really conducted himself like he was some old school patriarch, cheating whenever he wanted while trying to control his wife through violence.
It's actually for this reason that I'm not sure this will hurt him. How many ostensibly pro-life guys don't sympathize with a man who really wants his mistress to get an abortion? Even when abortions were illegal, women whose pregnancies inconvenienced powerful people got abortions.
It might be shocking to some genuine anti-abortion voters that DesJarlais is only anti-abortion-YOU-need and not anti-abortion-HE-needs, but I think most "pro-life" people actually share his position — YOU are wrong and evil to have an abortion; I am a good person in a terrible situation, so, if I need an abortion, it's totally cool if I have one.
So, I doubt most DesJarlais supporters will switch their vote because of this. His values are still in line with theirs.