First we had “legitimate” rape and magical vaginas that repel the sperm of rapists.
Then we learnt that certain girls “rape easy.”
Now another Republican in the USA has made another unfathomable comment about rape that makes you wonder why any American woman in possession of her sanity would even consider voting for Mitt Romney.
Pregnancy that results from rape, according to Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, is… wait for it… God’s will.
Republican senate candidate, Richard Mourdock said pregancies from rape were “something that God intended to happen.” Image via The Atlantic.
The Washington Post reports today that Mourdock said in a debate about abortion last night: “I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God. And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
Deeply offensive rape comments from Republicans no longer seem like clumsy faux pas from loose cannons but rather a deeply worrying trend.
In August Missouri Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin landed himself in hot water when he said that victims of “legitimate” rape rarely fall pregnant because their bodies have a way of preventing the pregnancy.
He said, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
It was a statement so wrong on so many levels that it fed debate for weeks.
Then a couple of weeks ago Wisconsin representative Roger Rivard was caught saying that “some girls rape easy,” the context being that his father gave him advice that consensual sex with some girls could quickly turn to “rape” afterwards.
Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan fell over themselves running away from the remarks, withdrawing their endorsement from all three candidates.
And it would be easy to write all this off as supreme idiocy if Paul Ryan hadn’t promised in the Vice Presidential debate on October 11 to overturn the landmark courtcase Roe V Wade if the Republicans are elected.
Roe V Wade is a complicated ruling but in short, if overturned it would mean the beginning of the end to access to safe and legal abortion.
I’ll say it again: the end to safe and legal abortion. In the year 2012.
According to Planned Parenthood, Vice President Joe Biden has “made it clear that the Obama administration understands that every woman should be able to make her own personal health care decisions with the counsel of her family, faith, and health care provider.”
That is the voice of reason that seeks to maintain the status quo. Republican policy, on the other hand, has wider implications for women’s reproductive rights around the world as Romney has also vowed to reinstate the “global gag rule” which restricts funding to poor countries if it might be used for abortion, or even used to give women advice about contraception.
According to the New York Times a Romney/Ryan ticket would “promote policies abroad that would affect millions of women in the world’s poorest countries, where lack of access to contraception, prenatal care and competent help at childbirth often results in serious illness and thousands of deaths yearly.
“And the wreckage,” it says, “would begin on Day 1 of a Romney administration.
The global gag rule was “the odious restriction that has been used to deny federal money for family-planning work abroad to any organization that provided information, advice, referrals or services for legal abortion or supported the legalization of abortion, even using its own money.”
This means they refuse any funding which might possibly be used to help women control their own fertility. These men are promising to wind back the clock on women’s rights, not only in their own country but wherever US funding may reach.
Twenty years ago as an Australian working in New York City I travelled to Washington DC to march on the Capitol with three quarters of a million men, women and children to protest the possibility that Roe V Wade would be overturned in a Supreme Court challenge.
I carried a sign that said “KEEP YOUR ROSARIES OFF MY OVARIES” and chanted with hundreds of thousands of people about keeping abortion safe and legal.
We felt later, when Roe V Wade was upheld, that we had won and that women’s reproductive freedom – which is at the foundation of all other feminist freedoms – was enshrined.
Now, again, the men who think we can’t take care of our own bodies seek to legislate against them, and to keep us down.
It is nothing short of terrifying.
MORE ARTICLES BY LUCY CLARK
*Lucy (Editor of The Hoopla) is a journalist and editor with almost thirty years experience in newspapers and magazines in Sydney, London, and New York. She has been published in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Daily and Sunday Telegraphs, Vogue Living, Australian Art Review, and Gourmet Traveller. Most recently the Books Editor of the Sunday Telegraph, she has also contributed to the non-fiction books, Australia Through Time, and What Women Want. You can follow her on Twitter: @lucykateclark.