Difference between Romney, Ryan and Akin? Fake science
Last Sunday, an interview given by Congressman Todd Akin (R-MO) to a St. Louis television station added credence to the notion that the Republican Party is waging a war on women. Akin, who is currently seeking to represent Missouri in the United States Senate, is vehemently pro-life and justified his opposition to abortion even in cases of rape or incest by explaining that pregnancy resulting from rape was extremely rare. “(F)rom what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Akin did not explain what he meant by “legitimate” rape, but his opinion reflects that of others in his party. In his last presidential bid, Mitt Romney actively sought the endorsement of John Wilkie, former president of the National Right to Life Committee. Wilkie, hypothesizing that pregnancy from rape was virtually impossible, told the New York Times, “This is a traumatic thing. She’s, shall we say, she’s up tight. She’s frightened, tight, and so on. And sperm, if deposited in her vagina, are less likely to be able to fertilize. The tubes are spastic.” The Romney campaign called Wilkie “an important surrogate for Governor Romney’s pro-life and pro-family agenda.”
Of course, the mainstream medical community considers the theory crazy. The New York Times quoted an obstetrics and gynecology professor at the University of North Carolina as saying, “To suggest that there’s some biological reason why women couldn’t get pregnant during a rape is absurd.” A Harvard Medical School professor of reproductive biology, put it more succinctly, “There are no words, there are no words for this. It’s just nuts.”
Crazy as the science would be, members of the extreme right wing of the Republican Party use it to justify their “no exceptions” position on abortion. After all, if pregnancy can’t result from rape, there’s no need for an exception. Any woman who claims to have become pregnant from a rape could not have been the victim of a “legitimate” rape.
Following that logic, consent – even that which can’t legally be given – eliminates the “legitimate” rape. A woman who was drugged and then raped or the 12-year-old girl who “consented” to sex with an adult hasn’t really been raped. Romney’s running mate shares the same anti-abortion position as Akin – no exceptions. Many of the nearly 40 abortion bills he has co-sponsored (some with Akin) provide no exemption for rape victims. In fact, in a speech on the House floor in 2000, Ryan argued against even an exemption in legislation for the health of the mother.
Monday, the Republican Party formally adopted as a plank in their official party platform an anti-abortion stance that provides for no exceptions, even in cases of rape or incest. If the GOP has its way, the mainly male government will force female women and children to carry to term pregnancies caused by rape.
As for Romney himself, the candidate told former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee that he “absolutely” would support a personhood amendment which would prohibit abortion and provide no exceptions.
Romney and Ryan have been busy this week distancing themselves from Congressman Akin, but the only real difference between their positions is that Akin is willing to use fake science to pretend that rape and incest pregnancies don’t exist. Romney and Ryan don’t bother to feed us the fake science.
Celia Murray is a member of the Morgan County Democratic Committee.
Printed in the August 30, 2012 edition