This week’s news cycle is still abuzz with news of Todd Akin’s spectacular commentary on “legitimate rape.” In a most mind-numbing interview, Akin announced on national television that legitimate rape does not end in pregnancy. Let’s examine the reasons why, beyond the realms of batshit-crazy-Right-Wing word-turds, Akin’s statement is so wholly problematic.
Representatives Paul Ryan (R-Dark Ages) and Todd Akin (R-2000 BC) were proud co-sponsors of HR-3. For those fuzzy on the significance of the nomenclature, “HR” stands for “House of Representatives” and the “3” identifies it as the third bill presented by this congress. In short, it was one of the first and most urgent orders of business of the GOP House that came to power in 2010. HR-3 contained language of “legitimate rape” and sought to revise the legal definition of rape. In essence, the bill endeavored to legally establish – yes, as law of the land – that a woman could not become pregnant due to rape. Thus, if an alleged rape victim was impregnated, said pregnancy was proof positive that she was not raped. Based on this brilliant “medical” breakthrough by unlicensed obstetricians Drs. Ryan and Akin, exceptions for rape and incest could be tossed out of state abortion law without repercussion, since this phenomenon is now deemed physically impossible. Thirteen Blue Dog Democrats and every last House Republican voted in favor of HR-3.
Dangers in this type of reasoning have far-reaching consequences that are guaranteed to thrill every career and aspiring rapist. Pedophiles are no doubt breaking out the champagne. Consider the following scenarios:
Scenario 1: A woman is unaware that she is already a few weeks pregnant when she is brutally raped by her lover’s father. She reports the rape, and he stands trial. During the trial, she finds out she is pregnant, but DNA is similar enough for paternity tests to be inconclusive. Boyfriend’s father, under the Ryan/Akin law, now has a “get out of jail free” card. He can affirm that the pregnancy resulted from their encounter, and therefore she was not raped. According to the tenets of HR-3, she had to have been a willing participant in the encounter.
Scenario 2: the general scenario is far from hypothetical – it is all too real and all too stark. According to a study conducted by OB-GYN Melissa Holmes et al, 32,000 pregnancies result from rape each year. However, according to Representatives Paul Ryan, Todd Akin and the general consensus of House Republicans who voted for HR-3, our legal system has no recourse but to set those 32,000 rapists free. In each horrific case, pregnancy is living proof that those women were not raped – they are all liars. Those women had to have been enjoying the act, since, according to Akin: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Those women were begging for it, or they wouldn’t have gotten pregnant.
In light of the voting record on this bill, there should be no doubt what the outcome would be if Republicans held more seats in the House and simultaneously controlled the senate. The male faction of the electorate might be tempted to say “rape? not my problem”; which leads me to the final scenario.
Scenario 3: Even as you hold your infant girl in your arms today, remember this – they grow up so quickly. Your sweet little precious will one day be a woman. We know too well, however, that the danger is not always so far in the distant future, as sexual predators come in all shades, and some wreak havoc while our children are yet young. But think carefully, young fathers; what would it mean if your 12-year-old is raped and impregnated. Wouldn’t such a law let a fiend walk free? For under this law, your little darling, once impregnated, was never raped and it would be a punishable crime to abort such a fetus.
What does this horrific school of thought have to do with the current Republican ticket? We know that Paul Ryan co-sponsored this foul idea. It is also noteworthy that in an interview with Mike Huckabee, Romney was specifically asked “Would you support a Constitutional amendment that defines life as beginning at conception?” To this question, Romney replied without missing a beat, “Absolutely!” You see, “personhood” is what this foul law concerning “legitimate rape” is all about. Once we establish that a fetus cannot be aborted, even in instances of incest or rape, then we have closed all the barriers to fetal personhood. Under no circumstances then, could we have a moral obligation to abort. Essentially, “legitimate rape” has the effect of “personhood”. Romney is for it – if he isn’t, well he’s a puppet anyway and will do what he’s told – Ryan wrote the law, and every House Republican voted for the measure.
Fight the War on Women – Slap Some Stew on Your Bumper: