Is The Journal Gazette being a little tough on the state here?
News that Indiana finished 43rd among the states for women’s quality of life will come as no surprise to State Rep. Linda Lawson. The Hammond Democrat has watched as the legislature has become increasingly hostile on the very issues defining the survey.
“The General Assembly is the nastiest, meanest place I’ve ever been in, and I’ve seen a lot,” Lawson told participants at a Women and Gender Studies Conference last month at Indiana University Northwest.
Buying into such rankings requires us to believe that there are "women's issues" that must all be dealt with in a certain way, as opposed to individual rights, which should be equally applied to all. And when you look at some of the criteria -- whether or not Planned Parenthood is funded and whether insurance companies are required to cover birth control -- a more apt complaint might be that the state finishes 43rd for liberal women's satisfaction. Hey, Connecticut places first in the survey and Arkansas last. Kind of a clue there, huh?
Some of the indvidual examples in the editoral have more merit than others. There's nothing wrong with chiding legislators for trying to make doctors tell women an abortion would increase their risk of breast cancer, a medically unproven assertion. But citing Rep. Bob Morris' assertion that the Girl Scouts are a radical organization as proof of anything seems misguided. He was, after all, shunned and ridiculed from all sides, including his own party.
But I dunno. In this day and age, we've come so far toward treating men and women the same that it's hard to believe the aggregate results are anything but the sum of individuals exercising their judgment. Does "women's education" really lag here, as the survey claims? If so, in what way is it because men are trying to keep women down? I can't know, however, what it's like to wake up every morning facing this state with a woman's point of view. Would I feel oppressed or blessed with opportunities? I don't disagree with Linda Lawson about the nastiness of the General Assembly, but I tend to think that it's a general nastiness, rather than an anti-woman nastiness. But then what would expect a man to think?