Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Republicans' Rationalizations for Rape

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." Todd Akin, Republican Senate candidate from Missouri.

Right now Akin sits on the Republican majority's side of the House Science Committee but he has no clue about the science of human reproduction. Nor does his Republican House colleague Steve King.

Republican Congressman Steve King: "I’ve Never Heard Of A Girl Getting Pregnant From Statutory Rape Or Incest"

Todd Akin and Steve King coauthored a bill in Congress last year that would limit a rape victim's access to abortion to women who were victims of "forcible rape". In other words a woman or girl would be expected to carry her rapist's child to term if he didn't break her arm or her nose, or maybe if he said thank-you afterwards.

The other co-sponsor of HR3, this draconian restriction of reproductive rights that redefined rape? Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's running mate.

Today's Republican Party (which is writing these issues into their national platform as we speak) values a fertilized egg (in many cases an egg that has not even been fertilized yet but may if contraceptives are not available) values its rights above those of women and girls who have been assaulted. A single cell, a sperm cell, a infinitely small bundle of cells, created by a criminal assault, trump the rights of a living person. Women and girls have a lower status than their male assailants in the estimation of this modern Republican Party. Rapists' rights to parenthood are sacred to the GOP.

It isn't only Republican men who hold these medieval beliefs. This prominent Republican said rape can be a blessing from God.

"If God has chosen to bless this person [the rape victim] with a life, you don’t kill it." Sharon Barnes, Vice President, Membership Committee, National Association of Republican Women and a leader in Missouri Republican politics. Rape a blessing?

When asked what she would say to a young girl who has been raped by her father, Nevada Republican and Harry Reid's opponent in 2010, Sharron Angle said carrying her rapist's child to term would be like making lemonade when life gives you lemons.

This narrowing and redefining of rape is nothing new to Republican politics. Republicans have a history of rationalizing and excusing and defending rape and rapists, basing these rationalizations on old myths and good-old-boy fairy tales. They've carefully instructed their candidates and spokesmen to use certain terms that put the burden back on the rape victim and narrow her rights and her options, that make the rape victim responsible for the crime.

"When pro-lifers speak of rape pregnancies, we should commonly use the phrase "forcible rape" or "assault rape," for that specifies what we're talking about. Rape can also be statutory. Depending upon your state law, statutory rape can be consensual, but we're not addressing that here .... Assault rape pregnancies are extremely rare." John C. Willke, president of the National Right to Life Committee, 1999

Untrue. He should have known better then. We certainly know better now.

"A series of state lawmakers have made similar arguments since at least 1988, when Pennsylvania state Rep. Stephen Freind (R) argued in a debate on abortion that the odds of pregnancy from rape are "one in millions and millions and millions," because "when that traumatic experience is undergone, a woman secretes a certain secretion which has a tendency to kill the sperm."

The Republican Party is spending its billions of dollars advertising myths and false beliefs. Their objective? To revise our medical standards back to the middle ages.

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