by Frank Schnittger
So what is it about Republican men which makes them so obsessed with and so expert on the subject of rape? And what is it about Republican male politicians who insist on raising the issue of no exceptions for rape in their anti-abortion legislation proposals even when it polls so badly and threatens to hand winable Senate seats and perhaps the Presidency to pro-choice democrats? (H/T for charts below to Brainwrap on Daily Kos here and here)
More beneath the fold...
Todd Akin has already all but lost his senate race to Claire McCaskill because of his remarks quoted above - a race which should have been a shoe-in for a Republican pick-up in ultra conservative Missouri. Richard Mourdock is now threatening to do the same in Indiana jeopardising his early lead in the race. And the prominence of the issue cannot but help reinforce President Obama's already strong lead amongst women voters more generally.
Let us take the most charitable view: Republicans generally, and more particularly tea party activist fundamentalist Christians are absolutely sincere in their belief that life starts at conception and that abortion is morally wrong even whilst the embryo is still absolutely dependent on the mother to sustain its life. The rape may be wrong, but the killing of an unborn child even when it is a tiny embryo is an even greater wrong. Women who have been raped and become pregnant have a moral duty to bear the child even when they have been severely injured or traumatised and must bear the consequences of their torment every day of their pregnancy. This is more or less the position of the Catholic Church and many fundamentalist protestant churches.
It is the stark brutality of this position, the risk of suicide or self harm, and the absolute injustice of this outcome which makes Republican politicians come out with all sorts of outlandish rationalisations for their position: That the life of the mother is rarely if ever at stake, that pregnancies resulting from rape are rare (because the female body has some kind of natural defensive mechanism against unwanted pregnancies - Akin), and that many so called rapes aren't really rapes at all. Some have even proposed legislation mandating intrusive vaginal scans of all women seeking an abortion even when there is no medical reason to insert a scanning wand into the uterus - a new form of legally enforced medical rape?
But the bottom line is that it represents the imposition of one person's religious views on others who do not share it, it represents the criminalization of the victim of a crime, and it reflects a highly selective and tendentious interpretation and implementation of Christianity itself. The Ancients who wrote the bible had no concept of conception, much less a theory that life should be considered to begin then. And what of the prohibition on divorce which is much more explicit in the Bible? Honoured only in the breach. Christians make much of God giving us free will and that becoming a Christian is an act of a free conscience. So where is the toleration, never mind the championing, of the free will and conscience of others?
I have no difficulty with those who oppose abortion and apply that to their own lives. Typically, however they seek to impose that view on others whilst giving themselves a free pass on many other issues far more explicitly condemned by their own faith.
So what is the economics and psychology of this attempt to roll back the tide of Women's Liberation which has become ever more entrenched since the 1960's? Why are Republican men (in particular) threatened by the emergence of equality for women. Many of the same Republican legislators also voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 which guaranteed equal pay for equal work. Are less educated Republican men particularly threatened by the emergence of women in the workforce as their employment attainment grows in response to their often better academic achievement?
And why the re-emergence of contraception and birth control as an issue in the Republican Primaries - is this an attempt to prevent sexually active women from having independent and successful careers? It seems any woman, not under the immediate authority, control and "protection" of a man in a marriage and busy having kids is a threat to these men.
I will leave it to the experts on this blog to decide...