1. Other absurd Republican contributions to the “rape doesn’t lead to babies” myth. As Anna North reported earlier this year, other Republicans paved the way for Akin’s recent statements. In 1995, Republican Henry Aldridge stated that when a woman is raped, “the juices don’t flow,” and in 1988 another Republican congressman stated that women emit “a certain secretion” that stops pregnancy when they are raped. (Which has led many of us to wonder, which is it, guys? Do these mythical juices flow, or do they stop flowing, when a woman is raped?)
2. The daddy of all these rape theories. The National Right to Life Committee’s John C. Willke’s claims in an article that the “trauma” of rape prevents pregnancy — i.e., he “basically just makes shit up,” writes Katie J. M. Baker at Jezebel.
3. GOP donor asks “Want contraception? Put an aspirin between your knees.” This line, now a total cultural punchline, came from Foster Friess, who was a big donor to Rick Santorum before moving on to support Romney. The video clip featuring Friess’ comments and Andrea Mitchell’s flummoxed response went viral this spring.
Friess: This contraceptive thing, my gosh it’s such inexpensive, back in my days we used Bayer aspirin for contraception, the gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.
Mitchell: Um, excuse me, I’m trying to catch my breath from that Mr. Friess, frankly…
4. GOP lawmakers seek to legally redefine rape as “forcible rape” so fewer women will qualify as victims. Remember the media firestorm around the “war on women”? One of its major fronts consisted of congressional shenanigans around the definition of rape in the noxious H.R. 3 “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion” bill. These efforts included Akin and VP candidate Paul Ryan and were aimed at siphoning off the number of abortion-funding exemptions so that only the rarest few qualified. What offended women most — and eventually scuttled the bill — was the idea that the government could weigh whether your rape “counted” or not.
According to the bill, there would be exemptions only for something called “forcible rape.” (Presumably, this is the same thing Willke called “assault rape” and Akin called “legitimate rape,” as opposed to what Willke called “consensual” “statutory” rape.) After a public outcry, Smith retreated from his first draft of the bill and reinstituted the Hyde language, though an additional provision was added later to clarify that the bill will “not allow the Federal Government to subsidize abortions in cases of statutory rape.” Akin and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan were co-sponsors of the bill, along with 225 others.
Since Sunday, the Romney camp has been trying furiously to distance itself from Akin, but these two names together as co-sponsors of this bill may come back to haunt Paul Ryan.
5. Another GOP lawmaker (surprise, surprise) worries that women will claim rape just to get abortions. This March, Iowa Senator Chuck Winder, who had already proposed that women go through two forced ultrasounds, including one at a right-wing “crisis pregnancy center,” went a step further by voicing his concern that women might use the “rape issue” to go abortion-crazy. Quoth Chuck: “Rape and incest was used as a reason to oppose this. I would hope that when a woman goes into a physician with a rape issue, that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage or was it truly caused by a rape.”
6. Pundits and lawmakers: Forced ultrasounds are okay because women already consented to be penetrated when they got pregnant. Remember the bill in Virginia that would have mandated certain kinds of invasive ultrasounds for women seeking abortions (the kind that already exist in other states?). Well, ultraconservative pundit Dana Loesch, who has already come to Todd Akin’s defense in this round, was hostile to the basic concept that every time a person’s body is penetrated, it’s mandatory to ask for consent. “They had no problem having similar to a transvaginal procedure when they engaged in the act that resulted in their pregnancy,” she said. Sadly, Loesch’s idea was not so far out of the norm: several Virginia lawmakers basically said the same thing.
7. When women sign up for the military to hang out with aggressive dudes, they are asking to be raped. Notoriously anti-woman Fox News talking-head Liz Trotta wondered of enlisted women who were assaulted, “What did they expect?” She also blasted feminist calls for infrastructure and support to help the increasing number of women in this position. And refused to apologize.
8. Santorum and Huckabee are all about rape victims taking one for team “Life.” Let’s not forget our Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, respectively, think rape victims should “make the best” of it and see the unwanted child as a gift and sometimes cool people are conceived in rape.
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