Sunday, May 21, 2023

Is Vickie Sawyer a Republican Feminist?


To hear Vickie Sawyer, Republican state Senator from Iredell (Dist. 37), tell about the behind-closed-doors negotiations that went on between House and Senate Republicans about how much abortion to ban, and how, you might deduce that she was the leading feminist in that coven of deciders, a warrior for "exceptions" to the new bans.

According to the interview Sawyer gave Will Doran from WRAL News, "Many of her fellow Republicans were initially opposed to allowing exceptions for issues such as rape, incest or medical complications, Sawyer said, adding that she fought hard to get those added into the final compromise. 'If you ever knew how hard those meetings were,' Sawyer said. 'How hard I fought for that rape exception, that incest exception. And how hard that was to get across the line.' "

No. We believe you! We're familiar with folks with that single "pro-life" issue to their name. They don't take prisoners.

Some of Sawyer's Republican colleagues wanted proof of rape -- did the woman report it? -- before they would allow the rape exception into the law. Sawyer told reporter Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan of the News and Observer, "I was very adamant about not having a reporting requirement because I did not want a young woman who was raped to have to go through anything else. So for me, that was a big deal.”

I had to look more into who Vickie Sawyer is and discovered, first, on her website, that you won't find a whisper of allegiance to any of the raw meat, hard-right conservative issues that we automatically associate with the Republican caucuses down in Raleigh. She really does appear moderate or at least totally indifferent to pushing all the regular conservative buttons.

She mentions -- just a passing, brief mention -- that she grew up in a trailer park in rural Davidson County, and I might want to read more into that than I should -- that maybe she learned some toughness but also some understanding and compassion for people -- especially women -- who are "seeing it hard." How different that background may have tempered her, compared to, say, Virginia Foxx, who likes to brag about how poor she was without any trace of humility.

But before I get carried away, I have to note that Sawyer is also a soldier in the GOP army, so she was duty-bound to do something against abortion. It's the price of admission to that political party. Plus she was a prime sponsor of the Fairness in Women's Sports Act, which passed the Senate in May and which will ban transgender girls from competing in female sports events -- an issue I really think is a loser for Democrats. “This bill is not about being anti-trans," Sawyer said during debate. "This bill is about being pro-woman. If we want to talk about uncomfortable, let’s talk about how young women’s lives are put in danger by having to play a sport they love against someone who’s three times as strong as them.”

Sawyer was first appointed to the senate in August 2018 to fill out an unexpired term. She had already won a Republican primary for the seat in May against her principal rival, the notorious Bob Rucho, who had previously been in the senate and chose not to run for reelection in 2016 but wanted back in in 2018. Sawyer easily beat him, since he had kind of a volatile reputation. So she's in her 3rd senate term. She and her husband run a big insurance firm.

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