Mitchell: Shimkus disses women in debate over health care


Wednesday was International Women’s Day.

But apparently someone forgot to tell Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill.

Shimkus, who has been in Washington for two decades, made such an outrageous comment during the debate in the House Energy and Commerce Committee over the GOP’s revised health plan, the exchange went viral.

When asked what mandate in the Obamacare bill does he take issue with, Shimkus said: “What about men having to purchase prenatal care?

“I’m just … is that not correct?” Shimkus said. “And should they?”

NARAL Pro-Choice America, a woman’s rights group, posted the exchange on Twitter.

Shimkus is well past the age of worrying about prenatal care, although there are a lot gray-haired men married to women nearly half their ages.


The father of three, he apparently has a short memory if he thinks a benefit that improves the health of newborns and the well being of expected mothers is a woman’s burden.

When answering a question from a middle-aged man with no intention of having children, Nancy Metcalf, an insurance expert for “Consumer Reports” explained it this way in an article published several years ago:

“Health insurance, like all insurance, works by pooling risks. The healthy subsidize the sick. Those risks include any kind of health care a person might need from birth to death — prenatal care through hospice,” she said.

That’s the textbook explanation.

But what happened to compassion?

The idea that a man who came from a woman would object to paying for a health insurance policy that includes coverage for diseases or conditions that primarily affect women is insulting.

But I’m not surprised.

“De n***** woman is de mule uh de world,” said Zora Neale Hurston in her acclaimed novel, “Their Eyes Were Watching God.”

I’d say that “women,” period, are the “mules of the world.”

That became clear when then candidate Donald Trump was elected president despite getting caught bragging about grabbing women by the “p—y.”

I’m still not over that.

In the not too distant past, a lewd comment like that picked up by a hot mic would have sunk a political campaign.

Now, men have a license to dismiss the rights of women.

Despite more than half of the voting population being female, this longtime congressman felt comfortable questioning the need for men to pay for prenatal care.

I could not reach Shimkus by phone on Friday.

But among the provisions in the Republican plan that lawmakers want to drop is the requirement that plans cover “essential health services.” That would include pregnancy, maternity and newborn care, all provisions that impact women of childbearing age.

At the same time, the new plan would also defund Planned Parenthood.

So besides pushing their anti-abortion agenda, the GOP’s revision of affordable healthcare would make it tougher for young women to access birth control, and more costly for women to deliver and care for newborns.

NARAL called the GOP Health Care Bill an “insult to Americans.”

“The GOP obsession with repealing the ACA and defunding Planned Parenthood is a perilous one that comes with a high cost to the public, and to the GOP’s future in politics,” NARAL said in a statement.

“Rest assured that NARAL’s 1.2 million member-activists will stand up to this latest GOP attack on our health care,” the pro-choice group said.

It is worth noting that this rude assault on health care will not directly affect men.

And you can be sure; no one is talking about eliminating coverage for Viagra.

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Mitchell: Shimkus disses women in debate over health care

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