I watch a lot of television at night. I come home, collapse onto my sofa, and turn on whatever channel interests me at any given moment. Tonight, I’ll probably check in on the Golden Bachelor to see which grandmothers are getting the ax this week. (I say this with the full knowledge that at least five of those grandmothers are younger than me.)
And in between those shows, I see a lot of commercials, most of which seem to revolve around pharmaceuticals to make my life better and companies that send food to my door because I’m too lazy to actually go to the store and buy a Lean Cuisine.
But since it’s election season, I’m now treated to a lot of campaign ads designed to influence my vote. And there are apparently no male voters this year because pretty much every single ad that I see is intent on scaring my uterus out of me.
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I’m particularly amused by the attack ads that have been run against Judge Carolyn Tornetta Carluccio, who is seeking a seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Judge Carolyn Carluccio has an impressive resume that includes work as a federal prosecutor, a public defender, and fourteen years on the Court of Common Pleas in Montgomery County. She is a Republican who somehow managed to win the votes of her Democratic colleagues to become the first female President Judge in the history of Montco.
Plus, with a name like Carolyn Tornetta Carluccio, she appeals to my Italian side. I actually met Judge Carluccio at a dinner where she was honored for her dedication to her Italian roots. It was with surprise and delight that I discovered that she, like me, is also half-Irish Catholic, something she proudly announces on her campaign website.
There is something inspiring about a person who doesn’t try to hide her background in an age where that might push some people away. For that reason alone, I admire her.
But I don’t admire her because she’s a woman, or because she did this thing first as a woman, or because I think that she will represent me, also a woman and an attorney, and Italian, Irish, and Catholic, better than someone with whom I don’t share those attributes.
And that is why I really resent those ads that want me to vote against her because of her presumed position on abortion. I don’t think Judge Carolyn Carluccio has made a secret of the fact that she is personally anti-abortion, but that doesn’t have anything to do with how she will rule from the bench if the issue ever comes before her.
It’s time to stop pandering and let women make up our own minds about what really matters.
But her opponent’s supporters seem to feel that every woman should march in lockstep behind Planned Parenthood and shun the candidate who isn’t wearing a T-shirt that screams “I’m Proud of My Abortion.” They must think that every woman who is considering her vote in the upcoming election will refuse to consider anyone who doesn’t think that abortion is a human right.
It’s insulting, and it makes me feel as if I’m not taken seriously because I might be pro-life, even though I have a law degree and almost three decades of experience under my belt. It completely discounts the fact that I can think with an organ other than my uterus.
Women care about a lot of things that don’t have to do with so-called reproductive health, the most important of which is crime. Women are more susceptible to being victims of crime than men, and we want to know that the people we elect to high public office put a premium on our safety. Carolyn Carluccio has a proven record in prosecuting felony drug and weapons cases, and that is much more important to me than where she stands on whether a woman can become unpregnant in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
I know that a lot of people disagree with me on abortion, and that’s fine. I’m just annoyed that there is this presumption that if you don’t make this topic the number one talking point with female voters, you will lose us. It’s quite the opposite: assuming that we are all pro-choice is a surefire way to lose a key demographic, in much the same way that the Democrats have traditionally taken the immigrant vote for granted during a period when that vote is becoming increasingly conservative.
So tonight, when I settle in to see which granny gets the rose and which one is sent home with a year’s subscription to AARP, I hope I don’t have to suffer through any more of those stupid ads that condemn a brilliant jurist for what they think her position is on abortion.
It’s time to stop pandering and let us make up our own minds about what really matters.
Christine Flowers is an attorney and lifelong Philadelphian. @flowerlady61