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  • Jan Flynn

The GOP Has a Woman Problem

But there’s an easy answer!

Think back to January, 2023

It was a honeymoon idyll for the American patriarchy. A time of Republican triumph.

With the corpse of Roe v Wade barely cold, the side effects of its demise hadn’t had time to reach the mainstream media. No mouthy woman OBGYN had yet popped off about a 10-year-old rape victim in Ohio who’d had to go to Indiana for an abortion (what the lady doc callously termed “health care”).

And the whole Kate Cox thing — admittedly, it looks pretty bad when a respectable, married, even white mother of two can’t have her life-threatening, fatally flawed pregnancy terminated in her home state of Texas — hadn’t happened yet.

Good times.

So cheery were Repubs all over the nation, in fact, that when the Idaho Legislature — always a lot of fun — began its 2023 session, Jack Nelson, R-Jerome, a freshman state House rep, celebrated his appointment to the state’s Agricultural Affairs Committee with this remark:

“‘I’m a lifelong dairy farmer, retired, still own part of the dairy, grew up on the farm. I’ve milked a few cows, spent most of my time walking behind lines of cows, so if you want some ideas on repro and the women’s health thing, I have some definite opinions.”
Rep. Jack Nelson, R-Jerome (January, 2023)

You wouldn’t believe the amount of flak the poor man got for that — I mean, who’d suspect that women would object to being compared to livestock?

If he’d said that today, would anyone bat an eye?

Now that the Alabama Supreme Court has determined there is no way to distinguish between a cluster of frozen cells in a test tube and a second-grader, why whine about a lawmaker who can’t tell women from cattle?

Besides, since some women — the troublesome, woke kind, who imagine that their bodies are their own business — keep finding ways to skirt laws meant to protect them from themselves — maybe the honorable Jack Nelson was onto something.

For every red state determined to safeguard any human egg cell blessed by the penetration of a sperm cell, there’s another state offering pregnant women (or “people” as some would insist) a way to escape their God-mandated role as vessels and incubators.

Idaho, where I live, is home not only to whimsical legislators but also to one of the strictest abortion bans in the country. But there on our left border is Oregon, where surgical and medication abortion are not only accessible but where there’s a shield law that protects providers from investigations by other states.

In response, last spring Idaho’s governor signed an “abortion trafficking” bill. The new law makes it illegal for any adult to help a minor child travel across state lines to get an abortion without parent or guardian consent.

That means if Aunt Matilda lends her high-school-age niece Sally gas money, and then Sally uses that gas to drive across the state border to get herself “out of trouble” as they used to say — and Sally’s Uncle Bud (who is the reason Sally is pregnant, a detail so awkward that the rest of the family would rather keep it under wraps, which means Sally sure wasn’t allowed to go to the police and file a report as required by law if she wanted to invoke the exception for rape) — and then Uncle Bud, who may be an abusive perv but calls himself a good Christian man, finds out, Aunt Matilda could be in a world of legal hurt.

You’d think that would do the trick

Sally would stay home and have the baby just as God intended. After that, what happens to Sally, previously a 4.0 student and star volleyball player with dreams of medical school, is not the state of Idaho’s problem. She’ll have to figure out the rest on her own.

But that Oregon border is only an hour away, and a desperate knocked-up girl can be trickier than a runaway maverick calf.

Alabama has tried to go further, suggesting the use of conspiracy laws to prosecute individuals and organizations who help women of any age head out of state to get an abortion. But it seems there’s a little problem with the U.S. Constitution when it comes to telling Americans they can’t travel freely across state borders.

The Alabama DOJ has so far nixed the conspiracy-laws idea. The forces of righteousness are back at the drawing board.

Meanwhile, women keep finding ways to avoid unwanted pregnancy (and childbirth, and child-rearing) just because they don’t feel like it or they claim to have other plans. And let’s be real: they’ll keep on doing that even if things go the right way in the November election and we get a nationwide abortion ban.

Women are stubborn as ornery cows that way.

And there lies the solution

It’s right there in front of us — at least, it was right there in front of Jack Nelson as he trudged along behind his dairy cattle.

Those cows are valuable. To maintain their value, it’s vital to track their whereabouts and, to whatever extent possible, their reproductive status. After all, what kind of dairy operation are you going to have if you can’t control the movements of your girls, or tell which ones are ready for breeding, actively producing milk, or so played out it’s time to send them off to the puppy food mill?

So what does a good, protective, responsible dairy farmer do to keep his precious cows from wandering off and compromising their usefulness?

He gives them ear tags

It’s so simple it’s breathtaking, and if it works for cows, why not women? Here’s the genius part: so many girls and women get their ears pierced for earrings that requiring ear tags would be barely a stretch.

Of course, the devil is in the details. To be maximally effective and logistically feasible, ear tags would need to be color-coded.

White for prepubescent girls; red for once they reach childbearing age (determined by the onset of menses, which, yes, could be age 10 or even earlier, but that’s God’s doing, not Republicans, so don’t whine to us about it); green for pregnant; and black for post-menopausal.

The tags don’t have to look like ear tags for cows; they could be cute! Get the right influencers fired up on TikTok and Instagram and you’d have very few pockets of resistance to deal with.

Here’s a further idea: ear tags could be enhanced with chemical sensors able to detect reproductive changes and switch to the appropriate color automatically, thus circumventing a wayward female’s attempt to conceal her status.

It’s only a small step from those period trackers gals have on their phones. Of course, that still leaves the problem of women moving freely about the country.

The solution there is bar codes: ear tags encoded with the girl’s, or woman’s, location, age, and marital status. There’d be a tracking app that would connect to state authorities. And maybe to the woman’s male guardian, if we get that far.

Problem solved!

When it comes to enforcement, we’ll look to lawmakers in states like Alabama and Texas — and Idaho! — for guidance. I’m sure they’ll figure something out.

It should be easy.

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