Monday, August 27, 2012

The Extreme Right's Seemingly Savage Position on Rape

I offer this advice sincerely.
To all GOP male politicians running for office this year:
Do yourself, your party, and especially the women in your lives a huge favor and stop discussing sex or reproduction in interviews under any circumstances. In the space of two weeks you've managed to collectively paint yourselves as absolute savages on issues of women's health. 
First there was Todd Akin, who asserted women who were being raped could flip some biological switch that would prevent them from becoming pregnant if the attack were "legitimate." The horrifying implication for any rape victim who conceived being she must have, on some level, not resisted enough. 
Then in discussing Akin's refusal to step out of his tight Senate race because of that comment, Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan casually referred to "rape" as a "method of conception." He was explaining why he opposes abortion rights even in the case of rape, but the means by which he sanitized rape to make his point revealed an alarming degree of disassociation.
Then first-time Senate candidate Tom Smith (R-PA) stepped in it during an interview at a PA press luncheon today:
Mark Scolforo, Associated Press: How would you tell a daughter or a granddaughter who, God forbid, would be the victim of a rape, to keep the child against her own will? Do you have a way to explain that?
Tom Smith: I lived something similar to that with my own family. She chose life, and I commend her for that. She knew my views. But, fortunately for me, I didn’t have to.. she chose they way I thought. No don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t rape.
Scolforo: Similar how?
Smith: Uh, having a baby out of wedlock.
Scolforo: That’s similar to rape?
Smith: No, no, no, but… put yourself in a father’s situation, yes. It is similar. But, back to the original, I'm pro-life, period.
As asked about Smith's comment, "What are the odds that Smith would have gotten this question in an Akin-less world?" Probably pretty slim. 
But that's kind of scary, actually. The notion that either many GOP leaders truly do hold barbarian opinions about sex and reproduction, or that they've spent so little time thinking about those issues that not only are they shockingly inarticulate in expressing their position, but they would seem to have no business at all legislating on such matters.
Many are calling for them to keep talking about the topic, because the more they do, the weaker their chances of getting elected become. While I see the wisdom of that, I'd rather they work out their positions in private. I'm actually rather sure that many of them would realize themselves how brutal they sound if they listened to their thoughts out loud. Honestly, I suspect many of them are not anywhere near that savage.


Blogger William Miller said...

"I'm pro-life, period." The religious right's interest in a woman's life starts at conception (whatever "method" that takes) and ends at childbirth. Period. The vast, magnificent concept of "LIFE" is whittled down to this narrow, ignorant and completely politically driven definition. This is the is the only life they're talking about and it doesn't apply to the messy, complicated issues of the already living.

8/27/2012 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger Roberta said...

One thing I have always found amusing is that these are the very same people who support the death penalty. HUH?

8/28/2012 08:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wrote out five different things here and deleted them all. It's hard to put into words how disappointed I am that my representatives are letting these extremists challenge common sense and decency this way. I believe that, if their daughter or wife was raped and found herself pregnant, they would not hesitate to find the best doctor out there to perform her abortion. I am glad though that these idiots keep talking. It keeps their views in the limelight and exposes the GOP leadership's true identity: very extreme and lacking of compassion.

8/29/2012 10:58:00 AM  

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