by Samantha Goldman
from World Can’t Wait
We may have forgotten what a Dark Ages mentality looks like in office with George Bush’s departure, so Republican office holders are reminding us.
Now that both Democrats and Republicans are introducing state legislation restricting abortion rights, a key part of the GOP’s strategy is to compete based on who can be more anti-woman.
The theme, it seems, of this year’s Republican campaign is Rape: You Asked and God Delivered. For them, giving birth in any circumstance isn’t redemptive enough for Eve’s sins. We have to get raped and say “thanks” to God.
All of this is part of an ideology where women exist subordinate to and in the service of men’s’ existence and will. Publicized apologies for outrageous statements are not policy changes. These statements are projections of the world that these powerful men would like to see.
Here is some of the rape-lovin’ rhetoric of the GOP:
● Paul Ryan - “I’m very proud of my pro-life record, and I’ve always adopted the idea that, the position that the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life.” – referring to rape as a “method of conception” when asked if it should it be legal for a woman to be able to get an abortion if she’s raped.
● Todd Akin - “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways of shutting that whole thing down.”
● Richard Mourdock - “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.”
● Rick Santorum - “I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you… rape victims should make the best of a bad situation.”
These guys aren’t arguing with pro-choice beacons. Mourdock’s opponent, along with many democratic incumbents and candidates, are anti-choice!
These statements shock many. But should they really? As disgusting as this brand of morality is, some feel that this is just a “strategy” the GOP is using to win over those outraged by Obama’s “abortion loving, birth-control dispensing, reign.” In reality however there is no option within the electoral process for women. Our basic rights to control our bodies, or not to be blamed and shamed is not up for a vote. Despite what Obama supporters would like us to believe, these past four years have been a horror and have shown a dangerous trajectory. It is only through this overall context of the War on Women that the impact of these comments becomes starkly clear. State legislation aimed at limiting birth control and abortion has been proposed and enacted at unprecedented rates. The legislation that has passed includes but is not limited to: state sanctioned rape through vaginal ultrasounds, anti-science mandatory counseling prior to abortion, increased waiting periods for abortion, and gestational limitations. An analysis by the Guttmacher Institute found that 2011 saw the most restrictions on abortions passed through state legislatures ever: 135 anti-women laws were enacted.
Men like Mourdock are urged to apologize by people who want to move on. We women are told to just laugh and move on but really, why SHOULD we? They are told to stop talking about rape and we are told to let the issue rest. Why should we stop talking about rape?! In a country where every two minutes someone is raped, why should we not talk about it?!
What these men running for political office are saying isn’t laughable or stupid, it is criminal and a slap in the face to half of humanity. Rape is a brutal criminal act which takes away your feelings of safety, identity, and a piece of your humanity. It is a crime that in our society rape is the subject of jokes and mostly those “jokes” are not sanctioned.
That we live in a society that laughs at, gets off to, legitimizes and even celebrates one of the most heinous crimes, should be discussed. We should be talking about rape. Victims should have the mic, not these men who use their public pulpits to perpetrate the crime. We should be screaming and sharing. We should be talking about rape and about how to get to a world where rape doesn’t exist.
Not in the ballot box, but in the streets on November 17, we will together be standing up against the war on women, against the “you asked for it” logic, against the idea that rape is some loophole to get abortions, against the idea that rape is punishment from God for the sins of women, against the idea that women’s rights are some kind of bargaining chip—take it or leave it.
In the streets together we will launch a sorely needed counter offensive. Stop the crimes of this government! Stop patriarchy!