COLUMBIA, MO—Worried that the remaining legal protections in his state will be fully dismantled by the time he can run for office, University of Missouri senior and aspiring politician Andrew Lipian told reporters Monday he hopes the government will leave at least a few women’s rights for him to gut one day.
Lipian, a 22-year-old political science major, noted that Missouri is already down to just a single abortion provider and has no laws guaranteeing maternity leave, which has reportedly left him concerned that there will be no statutes defending women still on the chopping block for his generation of lawmakers.
“When I look at how many victories the anti-abortion movement alone has scored these past few years, I honestly have to wonder which women’s rights, if any, will still be around when I’m elected,” said Lipian, who estimates that in the eight to 10 years it will take him to win a seat in the Missouri General Assembly, every law on the books supporting women could be repealed. “Ever since I was in high school, I’ve dreamed of stripping the state’s equal pay act of its teeth, but the people in office now may well beat me to it.”
“I just want to tell our current legislators, ‘Hey, leave a little bit for me,’ you know?” he continued. “The rest of us would like to have some pro-female policies to undermine, too.”
Since he first began voting in 2010, Lipian observed, he has supported candidates who promised to curb welfare subsidies to single mothers, raise the burden of proof on women claiming discrimination in the workplace, and allow employers to opt out of paying for birth control. He said he sometimes regrets the votes he has cast, however, worrying that the success of the very officials he helped to elect may deprive him of the chance to strip half his state’s population of its rights during his own political career.
According to the would-be lawmaker, his best shot of realizing his dreams may be to relocate to another state, one where the legislature hasn’t already enacted a law that makes women wait three days before receiving an abortion and then requires them to undergo counseling that pressures them to forgo the procedure. While Lipian said he was not pleased with the idea of leaving his home state, he admitted it would be an “amazing opportunity” to move somewhere with a progressive political climate, such as California, where he could nullify a wide variety of laws, from overturning affirmative consent requirements to have sex on campus, to removing key provisions of legislation that subsidizes health care for low-income women during pregnancy.
“At this rate, I’ll be lucky if I get to help create a school voucher program aimed at circumventing Title IX,” said Lipian, remarking that he was first inspired to go into politics after learning in a history class about the failure of the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s. “There may be more hope at the federal level, though. If I could get elected to Congress, I might get a chance to do something really far-reaching, like watering down the Violence Against Women Act even further and maybe stripping it of its funding entirely.”
“Call me a dreamer, but I believe that if I put my heart into it, I can still find a way to make a difference,” he added.