Wait you mean pro-life politicians think they can control women’s reproductive choices?

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.

About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
This entry was posted in Domestic Violence, Politics, Pregnancy, Reproductive Rights and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Wait you mean pro-life politicians think they can control women’s reproductive choices?

  1. JBL55 says:

    I don’t call these guys “pro-life” as “pro-forced-birth” is more to the point. After all, it’s not like they advocate against the death penalty or do anything remotely pro-already-born.

  2. So smart I wish I’d written it. Thanks, Jill.

  3. Rathi R says:

    Rightly said. This argument of seeing women as human beings is something that I have to make again and again in my classroom, with my boyfriend, with my friends from the opposite sex, with even women. What we need to understand is that men and women become from human beings. But, although men are happy with being men, women are not even given the privilege to be seen as human beings. Being respected as a woman comes a long way in the long list of our demands. No wonder, feminism is still looked down upon. If I cannot even have the rights to my own body, my own femininity, I don’t think we are anywhere close to being seen as equal.

  4. nemo52 says:

    And yet he is leading in the polls in his district. We need a massive, targeted GOTV aimed especially at women, particularly young women, who do not vote as regularly as their elders.

  5. Jenn says:

    Aaaaaaaaaaand boom goes the dynamite. Bravo!

  6. Bagelsan says:

    Gee, I’m simply shocked that a anti-choicer is not sticking to his purported values, because he doesn’t actually have said values. I’m pro-choice as all fuck, but I’m much more pro-life than a Republican could dream of being. They are too full of bitterness and misery, and that’s antithetical to life.

  7. igglanova says:

    This is one of the most revolting stories I’ve ever read.

    That is all.

  8. Marni says:

    The mind boggles at your country’s polling stats. Our men are misogynists too, of course, but pro-choice could never win a poll anywhere in the country.

  9. (BFing)Sarah says:

    You are absolutely right, Jill. Abortion is not the point. Controlling women and enforcing “traditional” “values” is the point. So shameful.

  10. DP says:

    Can we abort having sex with Republicans? We can start with the legislators and work our way down.

  11. onetinythought says:

    Well, I know that I’m not asuppos’ta make any ad hom attacks here, but could this asshole be any more of a hypocritical douche?

  12. Asia says:

    Shouldn’t the medical board in his state have some sort of ethical rules. Sleeping and coercing a patient sound like a violation.

  13. Partial Human says:

    Typical vile conservative hypocrisy. He’s “pro-life” like his fellow Repukelican Charlie Fuqua is “pro-life”:


  14. Pingback: Links 10/12/12 | Mike the Mad Biologist

  15. Sam says:

    “Dry-fire” is the proper term for firing a firearm without ammunition. It does not diminish the fact that he likely committed assault and/or brandishing. Why the scare quotes?

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