Kathryn Lopez

There is something special about a mother and her love.

We seem to know it innately. We tend to reflect it in our laws, at least family law. It's one reason "women's health" rhetoric, of which we've heard so much lately, resonates to the point of drowning out the details of any policy, controversy or testimony.

But such purported respect for women, and mothers, can also ring hollow.

Take, for instance, on a superficial but jarring level, the upcoming Radio and TV Correspondents dinner. Invited this year to the Washington-meets-Hollywood gala is comedian Louis C.K., brought in, we are told, to give the event "a bit of an edge."

And with that invitation, decency fell off a cliff.

I can't even relay some of the obscene things this man has said about former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. While he contends she would "Hitler up" Washington (this, about a woman who often wears a Star of David to express her solidarity with the Israeli people), most of his venom about her has to do with a crude obsession with her most intimate body parts. He also dubs her youngest child a "retard."

This has less to do with politics than with misogyny, unless politics itself has become nothing more than a sexual power play. If it has, you might be surprised to learn that it's not the GOP that has led the way.

The current White House mandate debate is not so much about birth control as it is about effectively shutting religious citizens and entities down when it comes to contraception, sterilization and even abortion. The government is saying, "Sure, you can believe that crazy stuff, but you can't practice it in the public square." The debate is an existential threat to liberty as we've known it in America.

Meanwhile, Republicans are said to be waging a "war on women" by doing such supposedly radical things as proposing bills that would protect conscience rights (by restoring them to where they were the day President Obama was inaugurated) and offer women a look at the ultrasounds that are often a routine part of the medical preparation for an abortion. It's ironic, isn't it? In both cases, legislation is about protecting choices. Isn't "choice" what self-proclaimed women's health advocates are all about? Or is it just one main choice -- treating pregnancy as a disease -- that is really of value?

Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.