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nikki haley

nikki haley

SOUTH CAROLINA’S GOVERNOR: A DISTURBING PATTERN IS EMERGING

Amy Lazenby

By Amy Lazenby ||  There has been much talk lately of a Republican “War on Women.”  The weapons in this war range from anti-choice policies, attempts to limit birth control for women, attempts to redefine the meaning of rape, and objection to equal pay for equal work (The Lily Ledbetter Equal Pay Act).  You can read about a few more egregious examples in this excellent column by Amanda Loveday, the Executive Director of the S.C. Democratic Party.

These weapons are being fired from the right side of the political aisle, which has some pretty powerful bomb throwers. One of those helping to lob these attacks on women is South Carolina’s own governor, Nikki Haley, herself a female pioneer in the field of politics in SC, as she is our first woman governor.

A few examples: Haley replaced longstanding and well-respected University of South Carolina Board Member Darla Moore with a male political campaign contributor.  Moore is a female pioneer in the not-so-friendly-to-women banking industry, who was named one of “The Fifty Most Powerful Women in Business” by Fortune magazine (twice), and who even after Haley’s snub remained a generous benefactor to many public institutions in South Carolina.  Earlier this year, the governor stated that women “don’t care about contraception” (and then tried to walk those statements back) during a tour to promote her own memoirs instead of attending to the governance of our state.  She also vetoed legislation that would fund rape crisis centers and domestic violence assistance, referring to women who are victims of these crimes as “distractions” and “special interests.”  Fortunately, that veto was overridden by the General Assembly, much to the governor’s dismay.

This week, she insulted well respected journalist (journalism is another field in which women have fought very hard to gain equal footing with men) Gina Smith, of The State Newspaper, at a recent press conference by snapping, “Gina, I am not going to answer any of your questions.”

Why?  Because Ms. Smith dared to report on the recent nepotism scandal involving the governor’s daughter being employed by one of her cabinet agencies in the S.C. State House gift shop.  Ms. Smith previously broke the now infamous story of Haley’s mentor, Governor Mark Sanford, and his “Appalachian Trail” hiking excursion (which was actually a trip to see his Argentinian mistress) so she’s not exactly an unseasoned newbie in the field.  No matter her level of experience, Ms. Smith deserves to be treated with the same respect given to her male counterparts – not publicly humiliated and prevented from doing her job by a Governor with a personal axe to grind.

Also this week Governor Haley ceremoniously signed two bills at the Carolina Pregnancy Center in Spartanburg – a county that doesn’t even have abortion clinics – saying that she was protecting the rights of the unborn and preventing taxpayers from paying for abortions under the Affordable Care Act.

When signing the bills, Haley said “We’re not going to cover something we don’t believe in.”  

Who, exactly, is “we?”  The women who seek termination of a pregnancy in cases of rape, incest, or when their lives are in danger?  What about the women who never have to face that awful dilemma but support helping those who do?  No.  The “we” the governor must have been referring to is the people in our state government who want to exert control over women’s bodies and prevent them and their doctors from making the best decisions in their individual cases, herself included.

Another female political pioneer on a much grander scale, Madeleine Albright, the first woman to serve as the U.S. Secretary of State, has famously stated, “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”

Good luck, Governor Haley.

Amy Lazenby is a commentator for FITSNews. Follow/ contact her on Twitter @Mrs_Laz.

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