Though two men from the most conservative wing of the Republican party dealt the death blow to the GOP Senate health care bill on Monday night, it was three Republican women who effectively halted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s next attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
In the days since, these GOP women ― Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) ― have received both an outpouring of support and an ugly backlash online. Unsurprisingly ― and depressingly ― much of the aforementioned backlash seems wrapped up in the gender of the three senators.
Collins, Murkowski and Capito have not only been labelled traitors to the Republican party and RINO’s (Republicans in Name Only), like some of their male colleagues who openly opposed the original Senate health care bill. They have also been referred to as “witches,” “feminazis” and “bitches” who have a “crazy look,” and are an example of why “women shouldn’t serve in government.”
Gov. Mike Huckabee even went so far on Wednesday afternoon as to make a quip on Twitter about vacuuming the three senators out of office if they “won’t stop Planned Parenthood $$ to vacuum babies from womb.” (Both Sen. Collins and Sen. Murkowski have been consistent about voicing their concerns about legislation that would “defund” Planned Parenthood. The Hyde Amendment already prevents federal Medicaid coverage for abortion services, with exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.)
As Quartz pointed out, none of the three senators being targeted are up for reelection in 2018. It’s also worth noting that just 17 percent of Americans backed the Senate GOP health care bill, and that the Affordable Care Act’s popularity has consistently been on the rise since the 2016 election.