Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma argued on Monday that he had the right to lecture women about whether or not they should get abortions because he had impregnated his wife and “had something to do with the birth.” During a debate on the Senate floor about whether or not to defund Planned Parenthood, Lankford argued that the “culture has been wrong” to allow abortion. He said that it was “entirely reasonable” to take Planned Parenthood’s funding and “commit it to organizations who do full women’s health.”
Sen. Barbara Boxer, however, said that she was bothered by men like Lankford lecturing women about reproductive health. “I just don’t like lectures by men about what it’s like,” Boxer told Lankford. “I’m pro-choice and I just have to say, using pregnancy as a political football doesn’t sit well with the people I represent and the people of this country.”
“We have to respect one another,” she continued. “I respect your view entirely. I’m asking you to respect mine. Keep Uncle Sam out of my private life and my children’s and grandkids’ and your’s .Families will make these decisions with their God, with their doctor.”
Boxer concluded by calling the effort to defund Planned Parenthood “a continuation of the Republican war on women.” Lankford countered by calling abortions a “men’s issue.”
“I’m a dad of two daughters,” he said. “I had something to do with the birth as well, and was also there. I was there during the sonograms. My wife and I are extremely close. And to be a dad of two daughters, I’m very passionate, not only about my own wife, but about my mom, who’s a cancer survivor – multiple-time cancer survivor – I’m passionate about my daughters having every single opportunity.”
“So this is important to us as well,” Lankford insisted. “This is not just a women’s issue, this is a men’s issue as well. Because this is a family issue. And the family is extremely important to all of us.” In the end, the measure did not past the 60 vote threshold necessary to overcome a filibuster, failing with a 53-46 vote.