“Rape is rape. And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we are talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people and certainly doesn’t make sense to me. So what I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women.” –President Barack Obama 8/20/2012
Earlier this year, Republicans expressed faux outrage over the charge they were waging a “War on Women”. That debate eventually faded, but thanks to Representative Todd Akin, the “War on Women” health rights, waged by Republicans months ago, has returned.
Congressman Todd Akin of Missouri won the Missouri Republican Senatorial Primary a week ago, but National Republican figures are already asking him to drop out of the race over his most recent outrageous statement on rape. Akin said, on a weekend radio show in Missouri, the following:
“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… 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 on the rapist and not attacking the child.”
National Republicans were quick to dismiss Akin and his statement, but a majority of them share his ideology. Last year, Akin, and the Republican House majority, including Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan supported legislation that would have narrowed the laws banning federal funding for abortions from all cases of rape to cases of “forcible rape”. Eugene Robinson, of the Washington Post, recently wrote an article (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/eugene-robinson-todd-akin-comment-brings-war-on-women-back-to-prominence/2012/08/20/c4570fae-eafd-11e1-9ddc-340d5efb1e9c_story.html) on the issue:
“The statutory rape of a child by an adult would not fit the definition the House Republicans tried to impose; nor would the rape of a woman who was drugged, say, or who had limited mental capacity. Never mind the fact that, as far as criminal law is concerned, rape is rape. Never mind the fact that all rape, by its very nature, is “forcible.”
Akin’s assertion about “legitimate” rape is really nothing but an attempt to blame the victim. It stems from the view that the only true victim is a woman who is raped while violently resisting a ski-masked assailant who came in through the bedroom window. Anything short of that, she must have been asking for it.”
Republicans, in public, may condemn congressman Akin’s statement on rape, but the legislation they have supported suggest otherwise. They have pledged to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood which provides millions of health exams to women each year, they declared that they would repeal “Obamacare” which provides millions of women with free health services including mammograms and access to birth control, and they supported legislation that would re-define rape leaving hundreds of thousands of vulnerable women on their own. The Republicans also incorporated, into their national agenda, a pledge to support a constitutional amendment that would ban abortion without any exclusion to rape or incest.
If you do not like abortions than do not have one, but it is not up to men or politicians to decide what decisions a woman can make over her own body. Like President Obama said “rape is rape” with no exceptions, Republican Congressmen Todd Akin, Paul Ryan, and the members of the House who voted to re-define rape seem to think otherwise.