A group of seven Iowa Republicans are making waves for trying to ban parents with minor children from getting "no fault" divorces, but their reasons can be concerning when you let them speak at length. It's all about the politics of women's pants, a problem that never seems to go away for Republicans on any level.
The new bill would prohibit parents with children under 18 years old from getting what's called "no fault" divorces, a divorce that doesn't require any evidence of wrongdoing from either party. Essentially, it would eliminate the classic "irreconcilable differences" excuse. Under the new bill, divorces would only be granted if one parent was guilty of adultery, was sent to prison, was physically or sexually abusive, or if one had abandoned the family for over a year. Additionally, parents who have lived separately for two years would also be granted a divorce.
If you listen to the bill's biggest cheerleader, state Rep. Tedd Gassman, it's all about keeping families together for the good of the children. "My attempt with this bill is to keep families together to keep moms and dad in the same homes with their children and to have those children raised by a mom and a dad," Gassman told NBC 13. But, if you let Gassman talk out his reasonings long enough, there's something about his intentions that calls back to the GOP's war on women's rights. It's not just about keeping the parents together for Gassman. It's about keeping children's pants on.
Gassman (pictured at right) told Radio Iowa why he cares about the bill so much: his daughter and son-in-law were recently divorced, and he's concerned his granddaughter will turn into a floozy. "There's a 16-year-old girl in this whole mix now. Guess what? What are the possibilities of her being more promiscuous?" Gassman told the station. "What are the possibilities of all these other things surrounding her life that a 16-year-old girl, with hormones raging, can get herself into?"
It's the local statehouse, sure, but aren't Republicans from Karl Rove on down supposed to have gotten the message on staying out of women's pants? Or is the backlash to the Todd Akin backlash prevailing? On the national level last year, first there was Akin: "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," he said. Then there was Richard Mourdock, the Pennsylvanian who thinks rape babies are gifts from the heavens: "I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen," he said. There were others, too, each more ridiculous than the last. They all lost in the national elections, disappearing into the ether forever. But there are still Todd Akins, from the laboratories of democracy in the states (these seven Iowa Republicans are presently elected officials) to Capitol Hill (Georgia Rep. Phil Gingrey said in January that Akin was "partially right") to the courthouses (a California judge said of rape in December that women's bodies "will not permit that to happen").
In other more recent statehouse news, there was also that troubling case of the female California GOP leader who defended Akin's "legitimate rape" comments over the weekend. California Republican Assembly president Celeste Greig did say Akin's remarks were "insenitive," while speaking with the Daily Democrat, but then there was this: "Granted, the percentage of pregnancies due to rape is small because it's an act of violence, because the body is traumatized," she said. "I don't know what percentage of pregnancies are due to the violence of rape. Because of the trauma the body goes through, I don't know what percentage of pregnancy results from the act."
So, while not as bad as any of the rape and abortion GOPers, Gassmen and his merry band of family defenders still can't seem to keep their legislative hands where they belong.