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Chuck Winder Suggests Victims Use Rape as an Excuse
"I would hope that when a woman goes into a physician, with a rape issue, that 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." — Chuck Winder, Republican Senator from Idaho
As you may have guessed (or will soon learn) Republicans are obsessed with abortion. A lot of time and energy is spent each campaign season distracting the public on whether or not it should even be legal, and under what exact circumstances. They are afraid to give any leeway to cases of rape and incest, because they believe someone, somewhere, should the law ever change from what it currently is, will lie and say she was raped to get rid of her unwanted pregnancy. Or, if she were raped, she'd terminate the pregnancy she may have planned for with her husband out of uncertainty of the parentage.
Clearly the parentage of the child is the biggest concern here, and not the stability of the potential mother (physically, mentally, or fiscally). Even if the potential child would have been fathered by the husband and was originally planned, sudden cases of trauma like being raped are more than legitimate reason to rethink ones plans or ability to bring and raise a child into this world. But who cares about the quality of life (be it of the father, mother, or child) anyway?
Liz Trotta: Women in the Military Should Expect to be Raped
As you can see, given how Republicans feel about the "right to life", their opinions on rape are very much tied up in the abortion issue. But how about some comments where pregnancy has nothing to do with the act or the outcome? Enter Fox News pundit, Liz Trotta.
In 2006, the Pentagon released a new report revealing that sexual assaults have increased 64% in the US military since women have been allowed to participate in combat. Rather than be shocked and appalled, Fox News pundit Liz Trotta had the following to say about it:
"The sexual abuse report says that there has been, since 2006, a 64% increase in violent sexual assaults. Now, what did they expect? These people are in close contact, the whole airing of this issue has never been done by Congress, it's strictly been a question of pressure from the feminists."
What should the female soldiers expect? It could not possibly be that they want to be treated with equality and respect. No, that would be asking way too much. Rather, they should expect to be raped by their fellow soldiers and deal with it. Trotta goes on to berate the women—these "feminists"—for their need to seek counseling after the event, as it isn't the mission of the military to protect the soldiers, but to ensure the safety of the nation's citizens.
When host Eric Shawn suggests that we should want to protect all military personnel from illegal activity, all Trotta can do is scoff and say, "Nice try."
I must say my favorite part about her little diatribe, however, is the statement that some women are "being raped too much" as if women can be raped "too little" or "just the right amount.
Todd Akin and Legitimate Rape
As you may have heard by now, Todd Akin is a US Representative currently running for the Senate in Missouri who had a few choice words to say about rape when asked about whether or not abortion should be legal in the cases of rape. Rather than say "yea" or "nay", he cites nameless doctors as evidence that women cannot become pregnant when raped—at least, not if it is a "legitimate rape"—or if the could be, it would be quite rare. There are multiple issues to be had with this statement, including the words "legitimate" and Akin's misunderstanding of how the female anatomy works. After all, if women released magical spermicidal secretions during rape, wouldn't we all know about it by now? Oh, because it's not true. In fact, over 32,000 pregnancies are caused by rape each year. That's not exactly rare.
Furthermore, the question of "legitimacy" is one that women in this country have been battling for quite some time. When is rape ever legitimate? The answer is: never. When is rape a real thing and a crime? Whenever a woman says "No." It's quite clear, and the levels of grey that politicians and assholes like Akin try to give to the crime are mind numbing. Date rape, "forcible" rape, etc., are all forms of rape, and they are all illegal. It shouldn't matter if the victim stopped struggling half way through. Resigning one's self to pain and suffering is not consent.
ND Republicans Attempt to Make Post-Rape Abortion Class AA Felony
Now here's a group of Grand Old Party members that make Representative Akin look like a beatified saint. Back in 2007, Representatives Ruby, Bellew, Damschen and Wald, along with Senators Andrist and Tollefson, attempted to make abortion not only illegal, but comparable to homicide in the good state of North Dakota. They gave no provisions for victims of rape or incest, and included language to condemn any doctors who “aids, abets, facilitates, solicits, or incites" the woman getting the abortion to also face penalties.
House Bill No. 1489 read thusly:
Thankfully, the measure failed, but supporters of the bill continue to have successful political lives, including Representative Rick Berg who is currently running for Senate.
Paul Ryan, Rape as an Alternative Form of Conception
In this interview, Paul Ryan—currently running as vice president on GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s ticket—says he is very proud of his pro-life track record and that while he will back Romney's choices, he personally believes how a woman conceived should affect a woman's ability to get an abortion (which I agree, it shouldn't, a woman's ability to terminate a pregnancy should be up to her). And why is that? Because rape is just an alternative "method of conception." It's just like in vitro and sperm donation, only without the ability to choose your partner or enjoy yourself.
And this guy is running on the presidential ticket, meaning if Romney wins, he'll be second-in-command. How absurd is that?
Clayton Williams Suggests Victims Enjoy It While They Can
"Well, bad weather is like rape: if it's inevitable, you might as well relax and enjoy it." — Clayton Williams, GOP Gubernatorial Candidate, March 24, 1990
Clayton Williams, a Texas oil-man running for political office under the Republican banner. At the time of his comment, he held the lead against incumbent Ann Richards. After a series of gaffes, including this one, he eventually lost the race. To this day, Williams says he was joking. After all, the quip wasn't made while discussing rape; rather he said it while actually discussing the terrible weather Texas was having that year. It is unknown how Williams actually does feel about rape, but after failing to apologize or understand why the comment could, and did, cause such a stir, one can only assume there is some truth to how he believes victims should handle the situation.
Mike Huckabee Lauds Americans Conceived Post-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. "— Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas Governor
After Todd Akin made his scientifically inaccurate claim that women cannot get pregnant from rape, Mike Huckabee came to his defense. While Huckabee did not say Akin's statements were accurate in anyway, in fact he gave accounts of several people he personally knew who were conceived through rape, he nevertheless suggests that the rapes that occurred were defensible because the people born from those crimes are often "extraordinary" human beings, citing televangelist James Robinson and gospel singer Ethel Waters as proof.
While it is not my place to deny Huckabee's claim that wonderful people have and will continue to exist due to rape, it is certainly a stupid statement to make and will cause some obvious issues. Not only does he indirectly state that rape has been beneficial for society—as these good Americans would not have existed otherwise—, he also ignores correlary statistics between the ruling of Roe v. Wade and the decline in violent crime, also known as the Donahue-Levitt Hypothesis. Additionally, I could very easily give more than two examples of terrible people who were born under ideal circumstances, would you then claim that all planned and desired pregnancies should then be terminated? No, because that's stupid. Whether or not a fetus has the potential to be an awesome or terrible person despite its parentage is not the point. It never has been, and straw man arguments like that are little more than a distraction.
Tom Smith Compares Rape to Pre-Marital Sex
As a father, Tom Smith a Republican running for the Senate in Pennsylvania, wants to let you know that he understands the plight of the rape victim because his daughter became pregnant out of wedlock. Although he agrees that it isn't rape, he says "it is similar" from the "father's position." As if the father's position is the one that matters when it comes to a woman's vagina. While there are certainly worse things to have been said from members of the Grand Old Party, the sheer lack of empathy for women or understanding of what it is to be a victim of a violent crime versus a consenting partner in a sexual relationship is baffling. Not only does it miss the point completely about why people even talk about "the rape issue", he totally throws his daughter under the bus because he didn't approve of her actions and makes it about how her willingness affected him. There is an ocean of difference between a planned pregnancy and an accidental one, but there are light years separating consent and rape, no matter the zygote creation outcome.