Wednesday, August 22, 2012
The last week has been a tough week for women, especially rape victims. And it's been a very revealing one.
It blew up when Rep. Todd Akin, a Missouri Republican running for Senate, argued that women don't get pregnant from "legitimate" rapes—as opposed, we guess, to those in which they are somehow at fault, or that some would say imply consent or if they're a minor being seduced by an older man.
There is nothing real in this. It's all a lie.
What's more, it's the latest version of a lie that Akin, and other House members including Reps. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Alan Nunnelee of Mississippi have pushed in their quest to make it impossible for women to get an abortion.
This one is about limiting the number of rape victims who can terminate pregnancies resulting from rapes, including those by older men who seduce children old enough to get pregnant. The men know that rape victims and their families are a weak point in their quest to outlaw abortion (not to mention many forms of birth control and in vitro fertilization).
The scuffle really came to life when these men and other House conservatives tried to pass a bill that would allow abortion for "forcible rape" cases—but not those in which young women were victims of statutory rape and other so-called questionable kinds. In other words, Congress wants to decide if your rape was real and whether or not you have to carry a resulting pregnancy to term.
This is nasty stuff. It was also abhorrent when Nunnelee stood on the floor of the House last year trying to defund Planned Parenthood (which helps women with much more than abortion, including effective birth control). He declared that Planned Parenthood protects those "who have raped our granddaughters."
Ironically, Nunnelee tried to change the definition of "real" rape to "forcible rape," with Akin, Ryan and others. Only Democrats voted against the bill, which passed the House, but thankfully stalled afterward.
What would that mean for those granddaughters? A dirty old man could convince her to have sex, get her pregnant, and she'd have to have his child. This is Akin's thinking, along with more than 200 members of Congress.
Make no mistake: These men are not trying to protect your daughters. They are playing politics with women's lives. They all must be called out for it.