August 22, 2012

Do Republicans Revere Rapists?

A little while back, we listed out some of the problematic things that the Republican Party has actively promoted; things like increasing the national debt, limiting our civil rights, violating the Constitutional prohibition against establishing religion in our government, de-emphasizing the sciences in education, and obstructing effective governance.

Sure, the GOP claims to be against all those things, but in fact they've been actively working to make all these things happen.

But we only touched upon the contempt that the Republican Party expresses towards women.  But it's out in the lime light, now that Tod Akin has blurted out a shockingly ignorant opinion - and elicited support from the more extreme fringes of the GOP - there is little room for doubt that today's Grand Old Party is setting out to deny women any rights over their own reproductive system.

BTW, the "ignorant opinion" is not the belief that a woman should be forced to carry a baby that is the result of rape to term - although I do find that a loathsome opinion.

No, it's the defense of that loathsome opinion with an argument knitted out of whole cloth and bolstered by bald-faced deception. 

“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Mr. Akin said of pregnancies from rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”
-- 08/19/012
Of course, there isn't a medical doctor worth his salt that would make such a ridiculous statement.  Millions of women wind up pregnant as the result of their rape.  There isn't a magic gate on her cervix; her body doesn't erect a barrier to sperm.

But please, don't take MY word for it:
Each year in the US, 10,000–15,000 abortions occur among women whose pregnancies are a result of reported rape or incest. An unknown number of pregnancies resulting from rape are carried to term. There is absolutely no veracity to the claim that “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down.” A woman who is raped has no control over ovulation, fertilization, or implantation of a fertilized egg (ie, pregnancy). To suggest otherwise contradicts basic biological truths.  
-- American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Akins then tried to clean it up.  He didn't mean to use the word "legitimate."
 "[I was] making the point that there were people who use false claims, like those that basically created Roe v. Wade."
-- 8/21/12
So, he didn't mean that there's legitimate rape or to imply that sometimes rape is OK, he just meant that women usually lie about getting raped so they can get an abortion

And the sad part about it is that he really believes that that is not an offensive position; and worse, neither does a large number of Republicans in his home state.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Sharon Barnes, a woman AND a Republican AND a Missourian, came to Akin's defense, referring to the results of rape as "God's Blessing" of the violent act against one of his children.
“The congressman is totally, firmly, solidly pro-life,” Sharon Barnes, a member of the state Republican central committee, said, adding that Mr. Akin believed “that abortion is never an option.” ...she added that “at that point, if God has chosen to bless this person with a life, you don’t kill it.”

“That’s more what I believe he was trying to state,” she insisted. “He just phrased it badly.”
-- NY Times, 8/21/2012
No, Ms. Barnes, he didn't phrase it badly.  It's the belief that if you're the victim of a violent rape you should be forced to bear the rapist's child that's the issue.  Many of us believe that a woman should be able to choose what goes in and what comes out.  I understand that your religious views don't permit you to grasp this.  And really, that's fine.  As long as you don't try to force me to live according to your religious beliefs.

But the thing is, making the rest of us live by your religious beliefs is exactly what you're doing.

Huckabee's Right Hook
Conservative pundit and former Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee also defends Mr. Akin and his view that women should be forced to carry the child of the man who brutally attacked them.
“Ethel Waters, for example, was the result of a forcible rape,” Huckabee said of the late American gospel singer. One-time presidential candidate Huckabee added: “I used to work for James Robison back in the 1970s, he leads a large Christian organization. He, himself, was the result of a forcible rape. And so I know it happens, and yet even from those horrible, horrible tragedies of rape, which are inexcusable and indefensible, life has come and sometimes, you know, those people are able to do extraordinary things.”
-- 8/20/2012
So, that makes rape just fine with Mr. Huckabee.  It's not a gross violation of a woman's body, it's a channel to bring really neat people into the world.

This isn't an issue that just popped up; the entire Republican Party is rotten with people who simply assume that women's views simply don't enter into the equation, and has been for quite some time

Any resemblance to Hannibal Lector is coincidental, probably
Back in March, Chuck Winder of Idaho, the sponsor of that state's "double ultra-sound bill" (raped women must undergo an invasive ultrasound procedure in which their vagina is penetrated and they are forced to look at the image of the result of the violence perpetrated against them before they can have an abortion), simply assumes that women lie about it.
"I would hope that when a woman goes in to a physician with a rape issue, that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage or was it truly caused by a rape. I assume that's part of the counseling that goes on.”
-- The Spokesman-Review, 03/09/12
Let's tally what these Republicans have said about rape so far:
  • Women can't ever get pregnant from rape, because we don't understand the human reproductive system.
  • And they are probably lying about getting raped to justify their abortion.
  • When your rapist impregnates you against your will, it's a blessing.
  • Even though you were raped, the child of the vicious thug who violated you might be a nice person.
  • You weren't raped, you lying slut.
Something to consider about every statement made so far; not one of them address the actual victim: the woman who was raped.  Not one of these Republican pols seems to care about the woman who was brutalized; they only care about the child of a violent criminal.  Even though Mr. Akin did call for us to "punish the rapist," he concluded with "...and not the baby."  But what about the mother, Mr. Akin?  Why must she suffer?

And they haven't dealt with the reality of the results of being raped.  "Save the baby" is all they've considered.

Chicago lawyer Shauna Prewitt bravely steps into the fray, and recounts her own experience of being raped in college:
"You see, nine months after my rape, I gave birth to a beautiful little girl. You could say she was conceived in rape; she was. But she is also so much more than her beginnings. I blissfully believed that after I finally had decided to give birth to and to raise my daughter, life would be all roses and endless days at the playground."
-- CNN 8/22/12
Perhaps you think that she is justifying everything the Radical Right has been saying;  she accepted the life as a blessing, and moved beyond the origin of the seed.

But Ms. Prewitt learned what these politicians haven't been addressing; that even if you accept that life begins at conception, the story of a pregnancy does not end with a birth; especially not for victims of rape.
"It would not be long before I would learn firsthand that in the vast majority of states -- 31 -- men who father through rape are able to assert the same custody and visitation rights to their children that other fathers enjoy."
-- CNN 8/22/12
So even if a woman decides to accept "the blessing" and carry the child to term, to try to convert a sadistic act of humiliation and degradation into something postive, these same thoughtless legislators have done absolutely nothing to end the cycle of pain and abuse perpetrated by rapists.  How is it that felons can have parental rights to offspring they forced onto their victims?  Can it be that these misguided right wingers hope that the woman will come together with her abuser and create a family unit? 

It's time to recall that one of Paul Ryan's failed bills was one he co-sponsored with Mr. Akin.

Two peas in a pod.
Representatives Ryan and Akin, in fact, have voted in lockstep on abortion matters since Akin joined Ryan in the House in 2001. Moreover, they teamed up on a controversial bill defining life as beginning at conception.
-- Christian Science Monitor, 8/21/12
I am forced to conclude that yes, it seems that the Republican Party, or at least a significant part of it, appears to favor the rights of rapists over the rights of their victims.

Remember, when you vote for a party, you vote for everyone it in it, and support its entire agenda.  Be very certain who and what you stand for when you vote in the next election.

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