Yes, we are all very disgusted that Scott DeJarlais, a “pro-life” Republican Tea Party Congressman and doctor, slept with a patient, got her pregnant and then pushed her to have an abortion. Pro-life! Except when a pregnancy is inconvenient for him personally.
According to his website, Rep. DeJarlais “ran for office because he wanted to bring common sense and hometown, conservative values to Congress.” Family values like cheating on your wife and then encouraging your mistress to have an abortion — a procedure you will help her out with when you have time, according to telephone transcripts. To be fair, you are a Tennessee state congressman. You are a very busy person. You can’t just take time off of your busy day to go sit at some godforesaken abortion clinic, holding the hand of some broad who you’ve talked in to undergoing an invasive medical procedure. You have a schedule to keep! You have been busy getting a 100% rating from the National Right to Life Committee, voting to block Planned Parenthood from receiving any federal funds for things like contraception and cancer screenings, and voting to allow hospitals to refuse to provide abortion care to women who will die without it. Your website makes clear that you believe “All life should be cherished and protected. We are pro-life.” You also believe that “Marriage is traditionally defined as being between a man and a woman and we feel this distinction is important to the wellbeing of the American family.” Or at least between one man and several different women, right? Values! Protect the well-being of the American family!
Here’s something else cool about Scott DeJarlais: Not only does his website bio page involve both errant commas and some really weird phrasing about his kids that implies that the girl child sort of belongs to her brothers (“Scott and his wife Amy, have three children: Tyler, Ryan and their little sister Maggie”), but you would never know that Scott DeJarlais actually has another kid from his first marriage. That child is apparently no longer part of the DeJarlais family.
And here’s something ELSE cool about Scott DeJarlais: During his extremely messy divorce from his first wife, who left him after one of the times he he was caught cheating, he allegedly threatened her, “dry-fired” a gun outside her bedroom, and used suicide threats to guilt her into staying. Which is basically Abuser 101 behavior. Oh and he’s admitted to having four affairs.
But back to the abortion. 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.
The Scott DeJarlais scandal is right out of the pro-life playbook. He doesn’t see his mistress as an individual with the right to make her own decisions about her body and her life; he sees her as an inferior, whose presence has shifted from “fun” to “inconvenient,” and whose decisions he now has the right to dictate. When his wife was no longer properly subservient enough to tolerate his crap, he allegedly got violent.
These are, in fact, traditional values. And Scott DeJarlais is sticking to them.