Hell Hath No Fury ... | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Hell Hath No Fury ...

Gov. Phil Bryant's Facebook page has probably never been so popular.

For the past day or so, dozens of women have been commenting on Bryant's Facebook page to solicit his advice for their medical problems.

Laney McNeer writes: "Dear Dr. Bryant, I currently take birth control pills to help combat my endometriosis. I am quite concerned about potential persons being murdered by my pills, since I use birth control as medicine. Can you suggest a new medicine to treat my problem and save me from a life of sin?"

Jonelle Husain writes, a little bit further down the page: "Dear Dr. Governor: I am just so grateful to live in a state where elected officials double as medical professionals. Given that I am only a woman and obviously incapable of making decisions for myself without male guidance, I will now sleep much better at night knowing you and the legislature truly have my best interests at heart."

Some of the comments respond to posts from Bryant's publicity team. For example, on a post about natural gas production, in one of the 90-plus comments, Meg Martens Henderson writes: "Hmmmm ... Doesn't the contaminated water from fracking cause infertility? Sounds curiously like birth control to me."

Some men have also joined in the comments. J.d. Simmons suggests a petition drive asking for free Aspirin to be distributed. Anthony Norris says some men "feel icky trying to explain the lady parts" to women.

"Fortunately my wife is a physician and she already knows about all that stuff, but I don't think she should speak in public, should she?" he writes.

The tongue-in-cheek appeals to "Dr. Bryant" have caught the attention of national media as well. On The Rachel Maddow Show last night, Maddow and MSNBC commentator Chris Hayes suggest that the culture wars have been a successful tactic for Republicans in the past. To keep that tactic going, however, they are wading into more extreme territory that is less popular with the political center of the party's supporters, such as mandatory transvaginal ultrasounds before abortions and personhood legislation.

In response to those tactics, Republicans are seeing a significant amount of backlash, even in their usual political strongholds, they argue. Hayes says the trend began in Mississippi, with the defeat of Initiative 26 last fall.

"There's only one abortion provider in Mississippi, right? What battles are there left to fight in Mississippi?" Hayes says (in the video at about 6:45). "… The extremism of the right has provoked a kind of awaking in women who are not formerly particularly political on this issue," and now Republicans are facing push-back at both the national and state/local levels.

Bryant's Facebook fans get a shout-out, too, (at about 9:40). "I was stunned into silence for an hour and a half going through all the comments," Maddow says, adding that people seem to have a greater awareness of what's going on politically, with regards to social issues, than they have had in the past.

In Mississippi, a group called W.A.R.—Women Are Representing plans to march to the Capitol a week from today to protest proposed legislation that would affect women's health, including several personhood resolutions proposed earlier in the legislative session.

(This post has been updated to include the correct quote from Jonelle Husain.)

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