Not Just a Crazy Person Ranting: Why Todd Akin's Comments Matter

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Not Just a Crazy Person Ranting: Why Todd Akin's Comments Matter

By Cindy Davis | Think Pieces | August 27, 2012 | Comments ()

todd akin.jpeg

Friday night I watched Bill Maher and his panel discuss the hullabaloo over Representative Todd Akin's recent controversial comments, and--having felt upset by them all week--I posted a Maher quote on my Facebook wall: "Here's the only thing you need to know about Todd Akin and human anatomy: He's an asshole." At the time it expressed my likewise feelings, which I hadn't yet felt fully able to express. Saturday morning, I read a response someone had posted; it made me realize that maybe there are too many people who don't understand why Akin hit us so hard.

"does this ever get tired? a crazy person said a crazy thing, and it changes nothing in your electoral race, yet out of all the many issues facing your nation, all i read about is nutface and his crazy rape comments..."

Clearly you've never been raped, my friend.

This is more than just a crazy person saying a crazy thing. This is a crazy person saying a crazy thing that reached out and slapped us so hard in the face, we cannot abide its implications.

Rape is a stigma that can't ever be erased. The memory of it sits in the back of your brain like a little time bomb, waiting to go off at any moment--you never really know when. You could be watching a movie when something triggers it, see a color, smell a scent, hear a noise, or be positively glowing with happiness in your lover's arms and whammo--there's your attacker's face in your head. Or something he said echoes in your brain. Or you are suddenly gripped with a feeling of utter helplessness. And that's it, you're stuck back in that moment until you can find a way to trigger the brainwash fluid and turn on the wipers full force, so the flood of memories will stop and you can feel the sunshine on your face again. You do everything you can to stamp down the brain dirt back over the hole where the memory escaped; you jump up and down, pack it with the back of a spade to be sure it's buried. But it will escape again, it always does.

Rape is the crime that (unimaginably) leaves everyone asking, "Did she (I) do something (to provoke it)? Could she (I) have done something (to get away)? Was it her (my) fault?" Rape is the thing where, when you go to report it, you instinctively feel shame. You don't even know why, but you do. Maybe it's because in some cases, when you do overcome your fear and your shame to make yourself tell someone what happened, the first question you're asked is "Are you sure?"

"I'm sorry, what did you just say?"

"Are you sure?"

And what he's thinking but not saying to your face is: Because there you are and you don't look to be beaten or injured, no blood is running down your face, you have no ripped clothing, and the person you're accusing is--you know--an upstanding citizen, or a nice guy. I mean, is this rape even LEGITIMATE?

By definition, rape is penetration without consent. If you drug someone and have sex with her without her consent, that is rape. If someone is asleep, passed out or drunk and you have sex with her without her consent, that is rape. If you intimidate, threaten or otherwise place someone under duress to have sex with her, that is rape. If she says "No," and you have sex with her, that is rape.

Never mind the lunacy that is Todd Akin's idea of how pregnancy can or cannot occur, the crux of his offensiveness lies in this idea that there are legitimate--and therefore illegitimate--rapes. The ire women feel is over the inkling that some outsider should qualify her rape. The fear and disgust is because women know that conservative groups around the country are already hard at work to take away control of our own bodies, and Akin's comments almost take that to another level. Now you're going to tell me that this man sticking his penis into my vagina without my permission has to be validated? By whom? By what? Is there a machine? Will there be a panel of crusty, middle aged men to tell me if I've truly been violated? Will there be a measured insertion point? Must I be beaten to a pulp? When will my rape finally be complete?

While some may write off Akin's comments as the ravings of "one crazy man," in light of Mitt Romney's abortion policy (as opposed to the Republican party's platform), rape--and its definition--could become a linchpin of women's rights. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, who will decide on the official meaning of rape? Will Romney appoint a rape legitimization panel, or will conservatives push him to add terminology such as "forcible" to manipulate women into the tiniest corner? Who will these decision making men be? Will they ever have been raped, ever gotten pregnant, ever felt morning sickness, ever carried a child in their bodies for nine months, ever have gone through labor or birthed a child? Can we afford to continue letting politicians impose their religious morality upon what is supposed to be a secular nation?

Paul Ryan has already voted to cut off federal funding to Planned Parenthood and he co-sponsored a bill that would have limited funding abortions to victims of "forcible rape." He sponsored a personhood bill that would have required a woman to have an ultrasound and view her fetus before being allowed to have an abortion. Romney has stated that he would "Eliminate Title X family planning programs benefiting abortion groups like Planned Parenthood." Ryan's budget proposal would overhaul Medicaid, reducing funding by $810 billion over the next ten years and instead giving states fixed federal grants. This would allow state legislators to choose what costs are covered and if Ryan's home state is any indication, family planning agencies can look forward to shutting down.

It is imperative to pay attention this election cycle, to read between the lines and to understand what the candidates' goals are. We can't afford to ignore Akin's comments, nor the people who furnished the basis of his ideas, and their connection to those on the presidential ticket. Romney has clearly laid out his plan.

"I am pro-life and believe that abortion should be limited to only instances of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.

I support the reversal of Roe v. Wade, because it is bad law and bad medicine. Roe was a misguided ruling that was a result of a small group of activist federal judges legislating from the bench.

I support the Hyde Amendment, which broadly bars the use of federal funds for abortions. And as president, I will support efforts to prohibit federal funding for any organization like Planned Parenthood, which primarily performs abortions or offers abortion-related services. .."

Cindy Davis

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • dahlia6

    I’m not arguing that men can’t understand and empathize. I’m
    arguing that I wish they would, a lot more than they do. And yes, men are
    drowning out women’s voices. Why is it that men are making our policies?
    Remember the recent meeting about women’s rights, that was made up of nothing
    but male religious figures? Why were women not allowed on that meeting? Or the
    two female representatives who were soundly drown out in the Michigan HoR, one
    even prevented from speaking until further notice because she dared use the
    word vagina, during a discussion on women’s reproductive rights? Women are not
    being allowed to talk about this very important issue to us. Men are doing all
    the talking. That’s the point I’m trying to make. Maybe instead of being so
    adamant about being heard, they should allow us to speak for ourselves. I’m not
    saying I want men to shut up completely. I want them to let us into the arena
    of the discussions of our own bodies. Realize that this is our issue. Our
    bodies, which is what this all boils down to.

    As a white women, I’m not going to tell an African American
    how they should feel about their lack of resources and opportunities, even
    though I’ve grown up in a poverty stricken and educationally deficient area. I
    can commiserate with them, to an extent, but I realize that even though I grew
    up poor, I live in a world where the odds are heavily slated in my favor. That’s
    what I want men to understand. I’m not saying that every man on earth has the
    world handed to them. I’m saying they have access to resources and
    opportunities that no one else does simply by virtue of their ingrained status. A man's opinion is valued inherently more than a woman's. That's why there's no such thing as male hysteria.

    As for my anger, I’m not apologizing. I am angry. I’m tired
    of women being spoken for, and I’m tired of our bodies being considered public
    property. I’m tired of rich white men telling me how I feel, what I should
    feel, and how I should express it. I’m not sorry for anything else.

  • Thank you Cindy.
    I also have not publicly discussed my feelings in the post-Akin fallout for similar reasons. But the thing that makes me more angry than I care to acknowledge is that a week after the Akin bomb VP candidate Ryan supported the same position and it recieved virtually NO coverage. It is not ONE candidate, this thought structure is part of the party platform.
    I am not a republican, nor am I a democrat. I have no party affiliation. This is not a bash the right platform for me. This is a rights of my body/ what government should legislate issue for me. I do not believe that the government should legislate morality. We are not a Christian nation. We were not intended to be. I love the Constitution and I denounce what this type of platform means to that document.
    As to politicians and rape. Stop it. Stop pontificating about something you obviously do not understand. I was never raped, but I was physically attacked and threatened with sexual violence when I was 14 years old. I am now nearly 30 and have yet to fully recover, it affects every relationship I have ever been in. I have a right to access to healthcare and I have a right to access care specific to my reproductive needs. FULL STOP.

  • blacksred

    I openly admit that i will never understand the mindset of pro-life supporters who are ok mandating that a child be born yet cringe and fight just as hard to cut those same social services for that child once it is here. I would MUCH rather a child's life be ended before it has ever been subjected to abuse,hunger and poverty.

  • Classic

    I don't understand how we as a nation can go into Iraq and Afghanistan to fight for democracy and freedom of all those countries inhabitants and we in this country are still trying to limit women's rights. It boggles the mind.

    We go around yelling that Al Qaeda and the Taliban are religious fundamentalists who want to restrict what men and women in their country can do and how awful and backwards thinking that these people are and how much better democracy is when we are still using religious beliefs as a way to govern in this country.

    Also not everyone in this country is a Judeo/Christian. To go around and say well that is the majority religion of many in this country and to make that what religion we should all follow when thinking of creating laws to pass or veto is just dumb thinking.

    Frankly by that same argument we should let the Islamic Fundamentalists opinions run rampant in those countries since hey they do have the majority religion in both of those countries. Who cares if they want to limit women's rights to have opinions, not be fully covered, go to school to learn how to read and write. They are just women.

  • Guest

    First, many pro-lifers oppose abortion on medical grounds and are not religious.

    Second, for pro-lifers abortion is not just a matter of one person's rights. They see it as involving a separate human being. Even the legal system prosecutes the murder of a pregnant woman as a DOUBLE murder.

  • Classic

    Um you oppose abortion on medical grounds? What? You don't have every women's medical history in a file somewhere do you?

    Also there is this pesky little thing called free will. If I want to have an abortion I am allowed that right. I don't have to justify it to you, Congress, or anyone else since it's my body let me do with it what I will.

    And how come all pro-lifers start that argument that murder of a pregnant women is seen as double murder? You are talking about a specific thing. The Unborn Victims of Violence Act actually does discuss abortion and how abortions cannot be prosecuted.

    As much as I hate using wikipedia as a source, it's better than nothing

    (c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the prosecution—(1) of any person for conduct relating to an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on her behalf, has been obtained or for which such consent is implied by law;(2) of any person for any medical treatment of the pregnant woman or her unborn child; or(3) of any woman with respect to her unborn child.

  • dahlia6

    They'll ban abortions, but they'll support the death penalty? Those inmates are someone's baby too. Oh, and potentially a rapist, but who gives a shit about that?

  • Guest

    This can easily be turned against the left: They think taking the life of murderers is inhumane, but they'll support partial birth and third trimester abortions.

  • Guest

    This can easily be turned against the left: They think executing criminals is inhumane, but they'll support third trimester and partial birth abortions.

  • Guest

    I'm personally pro-choice and an independent, but here are a few quick comment about this "forcible rape" thing.

    First of all, the bill in question was also supported by several democrats. But more importantly, the term forcible was only meant to exclude 'statutory rape' such as cases where a 19-year-old has consensual sex with a 16-year-old but is charged with a crime based on age of consent laws. Ryan's position which opposes federal funding for abortion in such cases is also agreed upon by most Americans. So I don't agree that it's "extreme" unless most Americans including at least half the women in this country are also "misogynists" and "extremists".

    As much as I may disagree with them, I also recognize that according to just about every poll around 50% of women in this country support Romney's stance which calls for limits on abortion. And I highly doubt half of American women are conservative republicans! A lot of this talk about 'war on women' or efforts to tie Akin's stupid remarks to Romney are more about exploiting abortion for cheap political points than anything else.

    You don't have to vote for Romney and I still don't know if I will, but this idea that most women in this country are on one side of the abortion issue and evil republicans are on the other is a complete distortion.

  • AngelenoEwok

    Except that people who oppose abortions and favor restrictions... well, those people also HAVE abortions.

  • I_Sell_Books


  • Kati

    Re: rape not resulting in conception:
    Re: Akin is the only Republican who looks at rape like an inconvenience for women:
    Re: abolishing abortion in all cases:
    OK, give me your address and I'll drop the baby off in 40 weeks.

  • Abell

    First, Cindy, I have nothing to say in response to your suffering. If I could think of something that might be of value, I would offer it.

    Secondly, I'm a white, male, Catholic Republican. So, I don't really expect the rest of this to be well received. There's a few layers of difficulty here, and I'm going to break them out by paragraph. At no point am I going to defend Akin, but, I do have issue with a few of your positions. However, before all of that, I do not seek to belittle rape, or claim that it's not a big deal, blame the victims, or anything of that sort. Rape is evil and those who commit it are evil. I have no qualms making such an absolute statement. Please remember that.

    So, legitimate rape. I'm going to try to not sound callous, and I hope you know that I say this in good faith. The outrage that you voice about there ever being a question of degrees of rape lies within our legal system, and I don't think that the outrage, though understandable, is productive, or even warranted. Rape is a felony offense, like murder, assault with a deadly weapon, etc. In our legal system, a felony conviction requires evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. The burden of proof lies on the accuser, and the state. This is a good thing. The choice is between a system that regularly lets criminals go free and a system that regularly imprisons innocents, and we chose the former. Secondly, eyewitness evidence, in this case, the word of the victim, is not enough to overcome the reasonable doubt. It can corroborate other evidence, multiple eyewitnesses, physical evidence, etc., but, that's it. So, with rape, we have a crime that has very little evidence, unless reported right away, and nothing more than, best case, the accuser's word against that of the accused. The legal system is arrayed, rightfully so, against the accuser and, as much personal suffering as that has caused you and numerous victims of rape, assault, murder, I prefer it to the alternative. As such, it is the policemen's and the prosecutor's responsibility, terrible as it is, to ask, "are you sure?"

    Hopefully, I still have enough goodwill left to ask you to consider the Christian position. Laws are based on morality. We believe that it is wrong to kill because of our moral system, be it derived from a religion, or an atheist humanist philosopher, it is a moral system. The separation of Church and State that this country enjoys prevents us from declaring one religion's views law and forcing everyone else to obey them, but it doesn't force us to discount those views when writing laws either. Christian morality has a place at the table, as does Islamic morality, Hindi morality and moral systems derived from Kantian metaphysics, if there's enough Kantians to get someone elected. The requirement is that these laws may not supersede the laws of the state, such as the Constitution and subsequent Amendments. For example, allowances within the Bible to hold slaves cannot be instituted as law in the US due to the 13th and 14th amendments. However, condemnation of murder does have a place in our legal system and is based on, amongst others, Christian moral beliefs.

    So, presume that you're a Christian, (I am), and that you believe that life starts at conception (I do), and you believe that life is sacred (I do), then you would consider abortion to be murder (I do). Thus, even if you disagree with any or all of those beliefs, I think you can see why a Christian would reasonably attempt to create laws, within the existing framework of the Constitution to prevent what, to them, appears to be mass infanticide. Rape is little exception, because the logic becomes to help give peace of mind to the victim, you punish an innocent, the child. True, the victim did nothing to deserve said child, nor deserve the hardships that she will endure bearing said child, but, that doesn't give her the right to murder a child. Again, this is presuming that you believe that life starts at conception, which I don't expect you to agree with. I just ask that you consider the ramifications of that belief and respect that those who hold it have just as much of a right to be at the table as those who don't.

    The problem is, there's not a lot that you can do within the Constitution. The due process clause of the 14th amendment has long been interpreted as guaranteeing a 'right to privacy,' which isn't a very controversial reading, except when that right protects something that someone else is doing privately that you consider immoral. Thus, Roe v Wade holds up constitutionally by protecting the right to privacy between a patient and a doctor. The 3rd trimester element muddies the water a little bit, but, I can't imagine any law, short of a full amendment guaranteeing zygotes a right to life (not likely), that can legally be implemented to prevent abortions. Even laws to limit them, which may be Constitutionally defensible, at a federal level would have to go through Congress and that couldn't even get through the current Republican controlled House, let alone the Senate. I find it unlikely that even if Romney got to pick a few new Supreme Court Judges that they would be able to completely overturn Roe v Wade. Put simply, the positions held by Republicans at the federal level, even were they to win the Presidency, Senate, and House can't do that much to prevent abortion because they would be almost impossible to enact. The state level has a lot more power to regulate that, and I recommend that you focus your attention there.

    Again, I do not intend to demean you, or those who have suffered like you, and I know that I can say nothing that can fix or ameliorate that. However, I do disagree with your positions and respect you enough to tell you so.

    In good faith,
    Austin Bell

  • dahlia6

    Oh please, tell us women how to feel about rape. After all, its not a legitimate problem until a man steps in and takes control, telling us poor little rape-addled morons what we need to know about what happened to our bodies.

  • abell

    I'm not sure what your point is. My opinion does not validate or invalidate someone else's experience and suffering, nor did I clam any such authority. Did I offend you in some way? I know this is personal information, but, if you were sexually assaulted yourself, I'm very sorry if I was insensitive. I thought that since Ms. Davis put her own experience and very strong feelings out on a public forum, she would appreciate a response, even if it disagreed with some of her beliefs.

  • dahlia6

    Here's the thing, though. Women have other people's opinions shoved down our throat consistently about rape/abortion, but no one is asking US how we think or how we feel. Go tell an Hispanic American how they should feel about being cavity searched in Arizona just because they have the wrong skin tone, or tell an African American how they should feel about being denied the same rights as white people simply because someone doesn't like the color of their skin. We're sick of people mandating what we should do with our bodies, how we should be feeling, and it would take a modicum of compassion that most men simply seem to lack to think "Hey, maybe my opinion isn't as important as the women who have to live with this DAILY." We don't need men to tell us how to feel or how to cope with this. We need men to take themselves out of the center chair and let us decide for ourselves. We would love your support and consideration. Your empathy. Not your opinion on something that has absolutely nothing to do with you.

  • abell

    That's a rather restrictive viewpoint. Again, I am a white, Republican, Catholic male, but, I thought the point was that I am human too. First, even. We don't have women's issues and men's issues, or black issues and white issues but human issues. I thought the goal was that we could all talk on even terms. By your standard, can I talk about racism in America, despite never really suffering from it? Can I talk about border security, despite not trying to cross it? Can I talk about military tactics, despite never serving in the armed forces? Can I talk about foreign policy despite not being a foreigner? I did not claim to speak for anyone but myself when I suggested that Ms Davis may be wrong. It actually seems rather chauvinist to think that she needs my support or empathy or consideration. She freely has it, but, those are just words, not the actions that they imply and she seems pretty capable withouth. I thought this was a place for discussion. Indeed, the category was think piece. This is what I think. Do you have something to say other than, "Shut up, your opinions aren't welcome here?"

  • dahlia6

    Not surprising, since this has all the hallmarks of a troll post, but you completely missed my point. Still, its insulting when someone tells you how your opinion doesn't matter, isn't it? Congratulations. Now you have a taste of what every minority and woman on the face of the earth deals with every day. Also, I didn't say you can't talk about it. What I said is for the ever popular white christian male demographic to stop hijacking what is essentially not their issue. Its patronizing. What I'm driving at is this: Let us speak for ourselves. This is not an issue about male rights. We want to hear your voices. Just stop trying to drown ours out. Now, I'm finished with this conversation, since it has become more about hearing your opinions and the rightness of being able to state those opinions than of the issue at hand.

  • Jezzer

    Abell has actually been very respectful in his posts. You're the one who is coming across as rude and spiteful.

  • dahlia6

    I won't apologize for my anger. This is how I feel, and I doubt I'm the only one. Spiteful? I don't think so. Angry, yes. Spiteful implies there is something small and petty about my reactions. I don't believe there is anything small or petty about this.

  • Jezzer

    There is nothing small or petty about how you feel, but there is something very small and petty about telling someone, "Shut up unless you agree with me, you man you," when he expresses a politely-worded dissenting opinion. If Abell had come blazing in here on the Douchebag Express like Big Todd or EricD, I would totally be joining the pitchfork-wielding mob right now, but he has made every effort to remain civil, and should be treated accordingly. There is nothing wrong with agreeing to disagree.

  • dahlia6

    I never said for him to shut up. I said for him to allow women to speak for ourselves. And yes, I may be coming off as hostile and angry. I suppose I should have been accommodating and demure. That's what women are supposed to be, after all.

  • AngelenoEwok

    Yep. Mansplaining troll in the dungeon.

  • Salieri2

    I disagree. I would go upvote all abell's posts for their calmness alone, but it's going to take long enough to make my own point with any clarity, and who counts upvotes anyway? He's laid out his position with recognition of his own privilege and full caveats that he has no way of immediately, personally understanding the impact of rape-related pregnancy or abortion, and he's listened to and responded to objections politely--with more politeness than many on "my" side. He doesn't deserve that "mansplain" slam. He's participating in a conversation, and he's not getting the courtesy of responding to or refuting the logic of his own basic premises: if all human life is sacred, and it begins at conception, then abortion is a moral wrong, no matter how hard that is to deal with. Many here do not accept them, differentiating between a cluster of cells and a sentient human, for instance--which is fine, but you can say "I don't believe in the sentience or humanity of a cluster of cells" without damning abell for his entire gender's history and modern practice of telling us what to do with everything that is ours. He’s not trying to drown out our voices: he’s listening to them. One of the few and deserves courtesy for that.

    Here’s the sticking point for me, and it’s not something I see discussed in these terms often. Abortion is unique because of its relationship to bodily sovereignty. Rape, pregnancy, motherhood and abortion can only bear partial comparison to other states because they are unique; analogies will only get you so far before they fail. You can compare an abortion motivated by a Tay-Sachs diagnosis to an adult “mercy killing” to a certain extent. You can compare a mother’s-life abortion to a “self-defense” killing to a certain extent. You can compare any abortion to a post-birth infanticide to a certain extent. But ALL comparisons fall short because of the unique biological status of the relationship between woman and fetus. There is nothing enough like it to form an adequate basis for decision-making; it is its own thing. Presuming for the moment that abortion = killing, which, if you believe in sin, is a very grave one. Whose sin is it? It is mine. Ultimately* no one else’s but mine, because it happens at my will, inside my body, for my reasons. I believe both that abortion is wrong and that it is my own business in equal measure. I must be allowed the legal option to commit this sin because my own body and my own selfhood are uniquely violated otherwise--there is no other way. Scary as it is for many people--both men and women--to see women choose this wrong, getting between them and their bodies is also wrong, in a way nothing else can be because it isn’t like anything else. It is a sin that is mine to commit, and no one else’s.

    And--this will annoy--it is also my opinion that there is an element of paternalism in denying a woman the means to commit a sin only she can commit and only she can bear the consequences of. My body is my own, and my soul is my own too. Is there nothing the male population at large (not necessarily you, abell) can stand to keep their hands off of, to recognize someone else's ownership of? From -9 months to 0 is a pretty small window of sole proprietorship, can they not acknowledge that?

    I also believe that the criminalization of abortion as a pro-life tactic is largely male-driven, and that if the distribution of temporal power in church and state matched our genders’ stake in the population as a whole, pro-life efforts would revolve around adoption, rape counseling and less stigmatization, greater prosecution of rape, adequate pre-and post-natal maternal and infant care, child services, and wage and child support issues.

    *I recognize the role of doctors in performing abortions as one of also-unique complicity, but believe that the larger moral weight falls on the woman because it is her choice & her body.

  • abell

    Surprisingly, members of the white christian male demographic do know what its like to be ignored. Also, I didn't write 2,500 words so far to troll you, or women, the folks at pajiba, or anyone else. I'm not seeking to hijack the conversation. I'm seeking to be a part of it. Even if I do tell you what I think you should do, you're not obligated to listen. I expect you'll continue living your own life with little concern about my thoughts. Women have the vote, and have for over 80 years. And they use it. Nothing can be passed in this country without roughly 50% of women supporting it. However, unless you're a very strict anarchist/moral relativist, complicated moral questions deserve to be spoken about by all of the citizenry because they affect all of us. How we choose to deal with the questions of life affects what sort of a nation we are as a whole. You mentioned below the dichotomy of people supporting abortion and opposing the death penalty, and vice versa. These two issues are obviously tied together, as are many others, like questions of euthanasia and, tentatively, questions of self defense. Men have a place at this table too. As I said, all the way at the beginning, I'm writing in good faith. If you don't like what you hear, that's your own business.

  • blorft

    Frankly, I think focusing on the legal system and burden of proof is a massive derailment of the topic. This is not to say that the legal system does not chew up and spit out survivors who are brave enough to report, because it does and it is tragic. I'm not even going to mention how poorly rape cases fare compared to other violent crimes.

    As a society, however, we are still at a level where Basic Human Decency toward rape survivors hasn't been achieved. Cindy did a great job describing how. Disclosing rape at all is such a massive emotional risk that most survivors wouldn't dream of doing it in a courtroom, since many survivors can't even count on friends or family members to believe or support them. It's much easier to disconnect and identify ways in which it is the victim's fault.

    Your premise seems to be, "Well, you can't prove it, so you can't be mad that your rapist is allowed to walk the streets, even flourish, after committing a violent crime against you."

    I'm going to go ahead and be mad.

  • abell

    No, absolutely not. I think she has every right to be mad. I can't imagine the hardship, and don't claim to. The problem is I don't see anything that can be done about it, legally, and I think it unfair that Davis attacks those who are legally responsible for determining the validity of her trauma. What I was trying to get at is that despite the legitimacy of a victims claim, the legal system isn't on their side, and, for the reasons mentioned above, it is built that way deliberately, and I support the system even when it denies justice to those who deserve it. If you can find a better system, I'll support it wholeheartedly. It's a terrible thing to say, but that's not their job. They're not the ones who deserve her anger.

  • So, presume that you're a Christian, (I am), and that you believe that
    life starts at conception (I do), and you believe that life is sacred (I
    do), then you would consider abortion to be murder (I do).

    Then basic human biology involves routine murder. A vast majority of fertilized ova never attach to the uterine wall. They are dispelled by the body during menstruation. Those that do attach frequently do not thrive, resulting in spontaneous abortion, i.e. miscarriage. Hence, even if you believe in intelligent design, God has built into our systems a consistent routine of involuntary manslaughter.

    Now, while I appreciate the tone of your argument and absolutely support your right to hold those beliefs, I would point out that Judaism preferences the life of the mother over that of a fetus in cases of the endangerment to the woman. That belief is completely ignored in most of the laws put forth by Republicans. In fact, not a single non-Christian viewpoint is reflected in any part of their platform.

    Further, by believing that a woman should be required to carry to term a pregnancy caused by sexual assault, you are clearly stating a belief that the well-being of the woman is second to that of the fetus. It matters to you not at all that she would suffer horribly psychologically. It matters not to you that she would be subjected to the dangers of pregnancy - and it is so, so much more dangerous than abortion. It does not matter that she would forever be scarred by this experience beyond the trauma of her assault. And further, in many states, her attacker could insist on shared custody of the child, which means she would be subjected to regular contact with the man who violated her and ruined her life. How on earth does someone who claims to be a good Christian think that this is an acceptable thing to do to a fellow human being? I simply cannot fathom believing that a fetus is more important, more deserving of care and compassion, more valuable than the woman carrying it. It is unutterably cruel.

  • abell

    Point by point.

    Murder is willful action. I know full well that very little of sex creates a viable pregnancy and a significant number of pregnancies result in miscarriages before the woman even realizes that she is pregnant. Happens all the time. Sometimes children are born with various genetic defects that means they won't survive more than a few years at best. Some are stillborn. However, no human made the conscious decision to end those children's lives, for their uterus to miscarry, or for the right mix of genes to come together to make the child not viable, so, I'm not very convinced that they play a role in this conversation. (Though I do see a very extreme reading of my position where you could accuse a woman of manslaughter for doing something like going jet skiing 3 weeks after they had unprotected sex. Or worse, a pregnant woman accidentally hurts herself, falling or some such, and loses the child, then is accused of manslaughter. I don't support that, because I do understand the fragility of pregnancy and there's no ill will)

    Secondly, I'm a terrible Catholic. I agree with your position on abortion to save a mother's life for the same reason I'd defend the separation of conjoined twins even if it means killing one. If your choice is between one person dying and two people dying, I think it reasonable to try and save one.

    However, that position is only in matters of life and death. Not in matters of psychological trauma. Remember, I'm not weighing a fetus, some abstract bundle of cells, against a woman's well being, I'm weighing a life, possibly an eternal life, against a woman's psychological health. How could I, a terrible Christian, put the mother's suffering above the child's chance to live? An infinite number of possibilities gone because it would hurt the mother. Now, I am male and thus do not, and will never know, but, doesn't all pregnancy involve the chance of psychological trauma? Your body is no longer your own, you may not have chosen to or wanted to be pregnant, and a child will always irrevocably change your life and ruin most of your plans. That all sounds pretty traumatic to me. Again, I am speaking without personal knowledge, just an attempt at some empathy. The point being, I think that its a bigger sin to end an innocent life than to cause suffering to a currently living human being. Again, you have to be working from the preconceptions that life is sacred and that life starts at conception to come to that position, and I understand that many don't. In that case, a current life should outrank a potential life which seems to be your position. I hope you can understand mine.

    Finally, an attacker should have no rights to contact his children, or the woman he attacked. Of course, we run into the problems previously mentioned with the legal system, but if you can find a reasonable/legal way to prevent it, I will lead the campaign to have it put into action.

    Thanks for being fair minded, I appreciate it.
    -Austin Bell

  • Just out of curiosity, how well do you expect a traumatized woman to raise a child forced upon her? You think all that pain and suffering and psychological damage won't also cause terrible harm to the child? And what of the husbands of women who are forced to bear their rapist's child? Their distress and the stress put on that marriage (a sacrament) is of no concern, either? The parents and friends who have to watch their loved ones live in misery are not going to look kindly upon that child.

    My husband had surgery because we should not have another child, and you would ask him to watch me risk my life (with death a near-certainty) and endure my breakdown because I was forced to bear the child of the man who violated me. Note, that is the ONLY way I could get pregnant now, because I do honor my marriage vows and have for twenty years. But to heck with the marriage and the life we built together. My children, whom I risked my life to have on purpose, should be traumatized by being forced to deal with this, too. Honestly, where is the line drawn? Are my children also not innocent lives that should be spared pain? Or do they not count, now that they're out of my womb? As near as I can tell, this boils down to a belief that it is okay to torture an infinite number of people for prolonged periods of time, on the off chance that someone not yet born might possibly end up okay, all circumstances notwithstanding.

    It's pretty to think that an attacker should have no rights, but they DO. That's reality, right now, today, in this very country. So advocating for women to be forced to give birth to their attacker's child is accepting that those men may have access to those children. You know, those rapists. Good luck, little girl. I hope daddy's gotten over his propensity for rape. But if he hasn't and you get knocked up, well, too bad. Maybe the next kid will escape this nightmare.

  • abell

    I actually don't really expect a victim to raise the child. It makes perfect sense to me that a woman would choose to put the child up for adoption. Someone who could love that child that acts as a living reminder of their trauma is a far more charitable person than myself.

    I already agreed to the morality of abortion in case of a life threatening pregnancy, so, you can put that away.

    As to the question of marriage, I believe I remember the vows involving in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer. He stands by you if you have terminal cancer and if you lose your job. I'd imagine that he would stand by you through a rape, given your commitment to your vows. I agree that crimes hurt more than just the immediate victim, but, I've already said that the long term suffering of the victim herself doesn't outweigh another life, why would I say that the ancillary suffering of the family tips it over the edge? I'm actually not even interested in if the child ends up 'okay.' If the child lives in a house that doesn't care for it and ends up maladjusted possibly criminal, I'm still going to defend the child's right to live that life. Similar argument to why I don't support the death penalty. Regardless of how you or I might judge that life, the right to it remains.

    I know the problem of how law enforcement works. Law enforcement can't do much to prevent a crime from happening. You can't hold the possibility of a future rape against someone. However, where the entire burden of proof thing protects rapists from being convicted, there's a much less stringent burden of proof involved in preventing an abusive father from seeing their child since it falls under civil law. Again, the possibility that something terrible might befall a child is not a reason to kill it.

    I'm sorry, but, I was hoping that the life is sacred part explained how I was going to agree that despite the incredible hardships such a pregnancy would cause, its still better than ending an innocent life. You can imagine more sufferings than I, but, the response is going to remain the same. I do understand the severity of that position, but, that is the position that I and a significant part of the country hold. We're not ignoring the terrible consequences, we just think that the alternative is worse.

  • Yeah, I'm not okay with any woman being forced to be a human incubator so someone else can raise a child - providing, of course, that child can find a home. If it is not a healthy, white, baby, odds are against it.

    Feel free to believe what you wish, but I find your disregard for the people already living their lives to be reprehensible. It is easy to sit there from a place of privilege and dictate how other people should behave according to your moral code. Perhaps if you were among the marginalized (and do NOT tell me that white, Christian males - who run every aspect of this country - are marginalized, or I will think you do not understand the word, much less the concept), you might have some compassion for your fellow human beings. Not caring what happens to anyone in the scenario, including the resulting child, is beyond disturbing. It is also typical of the white, Christian males currently in power. Which is why I don't want to have to live by their "moral" code, which values me as a human not at all.

    It seems you all forgot much of what your messiah said. He actually had some pretty radical ideas about love and caring for the least of these.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Abell - I see lots of downvotes for you, but these are well argued points, and I do understand your point of view. This is going to sound reductive, regarding rape victims - but there is lots of suffering in the world, and many daily reminders of what people have suffered at the hands of others. But we do have the ability to survive such suffering, hold our families together, and for most of us, hold onto sanity. It's not *desirable* - it *is* survivable.

  • AngelenoEwok

    Speak only for yourself there.

  • Monica

    It's not murder. You can keep calling it murder, over and over until you're red in the face. You eloquently pointed out the law as it applies to rape, the burden being on the accuser. Yet here you are willfully ignoring what *is* and *is not* lawfully murder. Accusing women of a legal heinous crime that they have not legally committed is not fair minded of you, not in the slightest.

  • abell

    Great point. I agree murder is the wrong word. As I already stated, abortion is legal and protected by the Constitution and will remain so for the foreseeable future. I explained before that for various reasons, the legal system protects accused rapists. Thus, many are deemed legally not to be rapists. However, their guilt remains. Similarly, it is legal to abort a pregnancy, but, for the reasons previously mentioned, it still seems to me to be a willful and wrongful ending of a human life. Were abortion not protected, that would be murder, but, you are absolutely right, I will stop referring to it as such. However, I do understand the severity of the accusation, and I do think it appropriate. If I did't think a great evil was being committed, how would I dare to presume to tell a raped woman not to spare herself further suffering?

    Thank you for the correction.
    -Austin Bell

  • He's not just a crazy person; he's a crazy person with the power to hurt women. He is also a crazy person who has up until this point had the full support of a whole lot of other crazy people, and the lot of them together call themselves 'conservatives'. Until that word comes to mean something other than the participants in a collective temper tantrum we will continue to get idiotic comments like these from actual lawmakers with the power to harm and kill people.

  • Clancys_Daddy

    Akin is not crazy, he was never crazy, he said exactly what he wanted to say how he wanted to say it. Fortunately I had more than enough reasons not to vote for this douche long before he made this comment. My concern is that there are enough rural voters who agree with him, yes I know it's stupid and flunks basic biology, but it is Missouri, to actually have him win. Sad now, thanks a bunch.

  • Pookie

    Fuck those dirt/shit bag Republicans, they love the fetus but hate the child. Those fuckers won’t lift a goddamn finger to push the country forward unless it’s pushing this country over a cliff. Fiscal Conservative my ass, this motherfucking Romney this guy has money hidden from here to Iran, but don’t tell his shit for brains followers. If you get a pay check bi-weekly you must be the stupidest motherfucker walking the planet if you Republican. I live here in Austin and I have never seen so many people who live in trailer parks that will vote Republican, I hope if Romney becomes President he takes off his magic underwear and starts fucking them in the ass around the clock.

  • Jezzer

    Exactly, Pookie (goddamn, I can't believe that I had an occasion to say "Exactly, Pookie"). It's like some conservatives want to ban birth control, ban abortion, and ban the public assistance that is needed to provide for needy children. I can't think of anything more anti-child than that.

  • John G.

    Isn't the magic underwear supposed to stop them from having sex? Isn't that the magic part? Or does it just make sex unpleasant for them?

  • $27019454

    So now Planned Parenthood "primarily" provides abortions and abortion-related services? Fucking idiot. Do these people do any research?

    Also, aside from his rape idiocy, his dearth of knowledge of basic reproductive function is offensive to me as a multi-celled organism. That someone can graduate from high school, much less college without understanding these things is untenable. Is he a parent? How?? WHY!!??

  • Salieri2

    Read up on Dr John Willke. That's the how. His pseudo-science has been influencing anti-abortion politicians for about 20 years: politicians like former PA state rep Stephen Freind, who said that the odds of rape leading to pregnancy was "one in millions and millions and millions." Like 5-term NC senator Jesse Helms, who told a (female) interviewer that a raped woman cannot get pregnant because a woman who does not orgasm cannot get pregnant.

    As for the why, it's not that complicated: they believe rape cannot lead to pregnancy because they want to. It's easier to criminalize abortion if you believe that pregnancy is never something that can be forced upon you.

  • dahlia6

    Research?!? We'll have none of that hippie voodoo communist fascist nazi crap here!

  • calliope1975

    Thanks for the post, Cindy. Most crazy comments I can ignore or brush off with a "well, that person's stupid." But, I couldn't really figure out why THIS comment affected me so much. It bothered me for days. And I feel like you nailed it with the shame. All the shame and guilt I'd felt from my abuse/rape came rolling back in a way it never had before.
    I hope Akin's comments have at least opened dialogue. I refuse to feel like a victim again because my grandfather decided it was okay to go after his grandchild. I'm tired of politicians (and mostly men - sorry guys) telling me what I can and can't do with my body and what I should and shouldn't feel.
    And what I hate the most is having all these feelings boiling over again because of some dumbass who will never "get it".

  • thinkingoutloud

    If for no other reason, these men should think of the potential effects on themselves when a woman they love is raped. Godtopus forbid Ann Romney ever get raped and conceive a child from that rape- would Mitt want to force her to carry that child? Would Akin want to raise a rapist's baby as his own? How many men would actually be okay with doing that? We often leave husbands and boyfriends out of the discussion when it comes to a situation like that, but not only single women are raped. And as a father, how could you tell your daughter that she had to be reminded every single day for the rest of her life of her most traumatic experience by being forced to carry and raise this child?

  • BobbFrapples

    I was once told that a government that tells you when you have to have a baby is the same government that can tell you that you can't have a baby. I do not want to set the precedent where someone other than me can make decisions about my reproductive rights.

  • AngelenoEwok

    "the same government that can tell you that you can't have a baby,"

    Which, in case anyone reading this doesn't know, has actually happened in the U.S:

  • no one

    Yes Todd Akin is an idiot who needs to be kicked to the curb and buried. But where was all this outrage when Whoopi Goldberg said basically the same thing with her ‘rape’ rape comment about a 13 year old girl who was drugged and sodomized by Roman Polanski? The reason this is blowing up so much is the left sees this is another opportunity to paint the right with one broad brush. The majority of conservatives, along with the majority of Americans (as shown in polls taken just last week), are strongly in favor of abortion in the case of rape, incest and when the mothers health is in danger. They do not however favor abortion as a means of birth control or convenience, which of course is the thing that out of the main stream leftist just can’t stand.

  • FullOnPiglet

    Out of curiosity, why do you think Akin needs to be kicked to the curb and buried? Why should a woman who is the victim of rape, incest, or illness have more rights than a well woman who had consensual sex? According to you, fetuses are living people with rights to life. Why is that less true for a fetus with a rapist father?

  • Artemis

    Personally, I think that exemptions from abortion restrictions for cases of rape and incest are bullshit ways that the right tries to make its attack on women's rights more palatable. But if you're going to advocate for restrictions on abortion, it's particularly abhorent and disgusting to tell a woman who was raped that she needs to carry and give birth to the child of her rapist.
    Because what that means is that she has to spend every day looking at, and physically experiencing, a constant reminder of her rape. It means that every time someone asks her "oh, who's the father?" she has to decide what the hell to tell them. It means that in addition to whatever physical harm she experienced during the rape, she's forced to subject herself to the health risks that accompany any pregnancy. It means there's a good chance that she is going to have to put portions of her life on hold--her education, her career, her relationships--during the time immediately before and after giving birth, and to do so knowing that it's something inflicted on her by her rapist. It means that she has to decide what to tell the child (either directly, if she raises it, or indirectly, through an adoption agency/the adoptive family) about his or her father and the circumstances of his or her conception.
    So yes, conservatives are being asshats when they think that sticking a rape exemption into an anti-abortion law makes everything okay. But they're being even bigger asshats when they, like Paul Ryan, advocate for abortion restrictions that don't contain that exemption. No one should be forced to carry a fetus to term against their will, but it's particularly depraved to force someone to carry their rapist's child.

  • stevens

    It's not about having "more" rights. A woman should not be forced under penalty of law to carry a pregnancy to term. RvW settles that legally.

  • Tammy

    If you recall, there was a huge furor on this very website at both Whoopi (whom I hope was ashamed as all hell) and Polanski (any and every time he pops up in the news). Either way, neither Whoopi nor Polanski influence public policy. Akin sits on a committee on SCIENCE. Outrage = JUSTIFIED.
    Ask many "leftists" and they will say that they also do not think abortion should be taken lightly or used as birth control. We just don't believe making abortions illegal stops abortions. Rather, making abortions illegal makes the women who need them (incest, rape survivors, the destitute, the ill) seek them in back alleys and die there. It's not black and white and I suspect you know that.

  • Yes, because it's so bloody convenient to get an abortion. And it's routinely used as birth control, because having to pay hundreds of dollars for a complex medical procedure (providing you can find a place that will do it) is ever so much more affordable than a prescription for birth control pills. That's a fucking strawman argument people use to demonize women who get abortions. And there's the thing: even if that WAS a real thing in the world (statistics from reliable sources, or it didn't happen), it is no one else's goddamned business.

  • no one

    Not out of Convenience? 40+ million abortions were done out of necessity? Really?

    And as far as being no one else’s goddamn business. If I kill my neighbor is it no bodies business but his and mine? Birth control and abstinence are choices. Killing a baby is something different. History will judge us for abortion the same way we judge the Nazis for the holocaust.

  • dahlia6

    Oooh, Godwins Law. I call bingo!

  • just julie

    If it is my body and I think an abortion is necessary then that makes it a necessity. End of conversation.

  • AngelenoEwok


  • Bert_McGurt

    Except rape ISN'T a choice...until some ignorant dumbfuck tells a woman her body can choose to magically abort, so why didn't it? Or that she CHOSE to wear that dress, so the responsibility is hers. Or that since it wasn't a 'legitimate' rape, it doesn't count.

    We're not saying that ALL Republicans believe exactly what Akin does. But you can't deny that many, or even most at least sympathize with his comments, in whole or in part. And that MANY Republicans defer to prophecy or old-wive's tales when it comes to reproductive biology, to the point they actively shun real medical science. The right loves to invoke a 'slippery slope' argument when it suits them in say, gay rights or gun control issues, but somehow it's an unfathable thing that outlawing SOME abortions will lead to outlawing ALL abortions? Please.

    Well done on the invocation of Godwin's Law as well.

  • dahlia6

    Crap, I didn't read far enough.

  • no one

    But you can't deny that many, or even most at least sympathize with his comments, "

    which is why Akin was almost universally condemned from both the
    left and the right.

  • Bert_McGurt

    You know, I just watched a Paul Ryan interview where he elucidated his position on abortion, specifically in response to a question about Todd Akin. What he implied is that he was actually in favour of banning ALL abortion, regardless of the "method of conception", but that since he was part of the "team", he supported Romney's position, calling it a "good start".

    So consider for a minute that the foretold Mayan Apocalypse hits, and December 21st, 2012 is actually the day that President Mitt Romney DIES. Then, America is left with a President who truly wants to ban abortions completely, because he thinks rape is just another "method of conception". And lets face it, they didn't put him on the ticket because he DIDN'T represent the core values of many in their voter base.

    So Ryan and those like him can take their condemnations and shove them back up their collective asses. Maybe then they'd understand the issue a little better.

  • Monica

    Well Obama would still be president on 12/21/12, it wouldn't be an issue until January 2013.

  • Bert_McGurt

    Ah, true. But presumably they'd still elevate the VP-Elect to the Presidency, no?

  • And there it is, exactly as predicted. *Slow clap* I'm just surprised it took so long.

    Just out of curiosity, does your neighbor reside solely inside your body and rely entirely on your system for his existence? Will allowing your neighbor to continue to live inside you drastically increase your chances of dying? Is your neighbor already in the act of killing you? Can you prove it? Because if not, some asshole on the internet will judge you for even thinking that maybe you shouldn't die or be responsible for his wants and needs for the rest of your life. Oh, and is your neighbor sentient or a collection of cells hanging out in your uterus?

    Wait... you don't have a uterus, do you? No offense, but that means you know fuck all about being pregnant and less about why that might pose serious problems for a woman.

    Just because you believe something doesn't make it true. Verifiable statistics regarding women citing convenience as a reason for an abortion or it's a straw man argument.

    Also, if women are judged for terminating pregnancies then that's between God and the women, and it's still none of your damned business.

  • no one

    Just because you believe something doesn't make it true. "
    you are right. and doesn't the same thing apply to you?

    And while it's true that I don't have a uterus, American women split on pro-life and pro-abortion at 49% - 49% as of last week. So I guess the 49% of women who are pro-life must have a defective uterus.

    And the fact that the baby is growing strictly in the neighborhood inside the woman's body doesn't in anyway remove the fact that the baby is a living person with it's own right to life.

  • What women wish to do or not do with their uteri is their own business. What no one should be able to do is tell me what to do with my own uterus. So, while I believe that women should control their own reproduction, my belief in no way insists or even advocates for them to do so. In fact, my belief leaves it entirely up to the woman to decide for herself, because I believe in the radical notion that women are fully-functioning human beings capable of determining what is right for them.

    A person has a right to life when they can live on their own. By your logic, I should have died rather than received medical attention when the fertilized egg attached to my fallopian tube rather than my uterus, on the off chance that it might save a "life" that could in no way exist without me. You would universally make a decision to kill me based on some religious belief that you hold and I don't.

    I risked my life to try to have a baby. Three times. Once, it almost killed me, but I made the choice to try again. And again. You would have that choice taken from me, insist that I go through high-risk pregnancies that had a higher chance of killing me than not. I don't think anyone has the right to make that decision for me. You would completely ignore the fact that another pregnancy would almost certainly kill me (doctors agree), leaving my already born children without a mother, and my husband without his wife and also without the second income that makes it possible for us to care for our children. But fuck the living, right? Fuck my rights as a human being. They are instantly superseded by the rights of a blastocyst, because, after all, I'm just a woman and that thing is a potential human, and that's way more important than me.

    Furthermore, if I did live through another pregnancy, chances are good the child would be disabled, and since I don't see your party offering financial assistance for the disabled child I already have, I sincerely doubt they would suddenly turn around and help with another one, because babies don't matter once they stop being fetuses. Republicans don't care if they go hungry. It's their fault for being born poor. They don't care if they get a good education, safe water, safe air, safe food (or any food at all), safe neighborhoods, or anything else. Dismantling the public safety net is right there in the party platform. And it doesn't stop with babies. Fuck the elderly, too. Dismantle programs that help the permanently disabled. You may not believe in all of that, but the party platform makes it pretty clear that the basic ideology is "I got mine. Screw the rest of you - unless you're a fetus."

  • There was outrage when Whoopi made those insane comments. His are being publicized and decried so vehemently because he is not an actress on a daytime talk show, he's a politician running for public office, a man whose outlook on rape and abortion can have consequences.

  • no one

    No, what Whoopi said did not get nearly the same reaction.
    And yes, I agree with everything that has been said about Akin. But trying to paint all conservatives with the same brush is a load of crap.

  • ERM

    Julie acknowledged that what Whoopi said did not get the same reaction, and she explained why. It would be nice if you made an effort to respond to what people are actually saying and make arguments that are consistent with reality.

  • Major support for both the writer and supporters of this article. Cindy, thanks for sharing.

  • whirligig7

    I'd also like to point out that gay and bisexual men experience rape at similar rates as women, most often in the context of someone they've previously had consensual relations with. I wonder what would make their rape "legitimate" since pregnancy is not possible... is it if their body rejects the HIV virus which is of course ONLY from "homosexual sex" *eye roll.* I'm doing a dissertation on gay and bisexual men's experiences with disclosing sexual assault... I am a bit nervous to hear some of the reactions they've received. In my review of the existing literature, it was horrifying to see some of the comments made by community service providers about "gay men can't be raped," or "gay men ask for it." If we thought the victim-blaming attitudes were out of control for women, imagine the experience of the gay man who also has to deal with societal discrimination and the notion that men in general can't be raped. Why can't we as a society just get the idea that sexual assault exists, can happen to anyone, and anyone who is sexually assaulted should be treated with respect and kindness not punishment and discrimination?

  • Tammy

    Amen, 100%, and its high time the men and transgendered who have suffered at the hands of predators raise their voices in solidarity as well - and high time all of us recognize their suffering as valid.

  • Finance_Nerd

    Let me start by saying I think Cindy wrote a great article that I agree with. However, I think that this issue is only the tip of the iceberg (and not to downplay a woman's right to choose by any means) in the threats to our country and freedom. One of the main principals that the US of A was founded upon is the separation of church and state. However, a majority the platforms supported by the Republican party are trying to undo this separation and using Christian doctrine rather than science as their reasoning. Abortion, stem cell research, gay marriage are just a few examples of behavior opposed by their party, but all are acceptable when you take the religious aspect away from them. The irony of this is that the principals that these ultra-right conservatives are promoting appear (at least in my opinion) to be heading us down the road towards a government that much more resembles Sharia law than democracy.
    I spent four years as an infantry soldier protecting and defending our right to freedom and now it looks like we're going to just let apathy and ignorance do what no other country could in taking them away with abortion rights being the first casualty. When you're in a life or death situation and you have to put your life in someone else's hands, it doesn't matter who they want to fuck, who they pray to, what the color of their skin is or whether they have a dick or not. Being stuck w/someone who is lazy and/or stupid is what gets you killed faster than anything else. Let's hope lazy and stupid doesn't undo this country.

  • Bodhi

    Very well said

  • Jack Ryan

    Akin is doomed after his comments about breastmilk:

  • shipper

    Is that article a joke or did he really say those things?

  • Fabius_Maximus

    It's a joke. It's a satirical site. Just look at the name.

  • the other courtney

    Thank you Cindy, and thank you all who have commented. No witty anything to add.

  • Bert_McGurt

    Ok, I'm going to get this through somehow...damn IE at work.
    Considering the litany of irrational, immoral, poorly-thought-out, inferiority-complex-related, alcohol-induced, and flat-out unbiological things that we men often and frequently do to our "little gentlemen", I find it completely perplexing that any of us think our opinions deserve even snivelling one red iota of contemplation when discussing the aftermath of a woman's rape.  We can't even stomach a colonoscopy without waxing fearfully about the impact to our fragile, tenuous masculinities, but we totally deserve a say on that there fetus some asshole unwillingly put in your uterus?
    I can't even begin to fathom the torment of the soul a woman faces trying to unconditionally, wholly, and completely love a child that reminds her, every day and in the most intense way possible of the worst thing to ever happen to her.

  • dahlia6

    Thank you for the empathy. That's something sorely lacking to rape victims, and something they need. A man to step outside his box and look at a woman and say "You know what, your opinions and feelings about what happened to you are totally legitimate. Let me help you how I can," not "Well, here's how I think you should feel, even though something like this could never happen to me in my privileged bubble."

  • jammm72

    Omg best article I have read anywhere in a very long time! Thank you!

  • DarthCorleone

    Well said.

    I'm going to keep harping on what I think is the most critical offshoot of all this, because, yes, I get it, Republicans. You have disavowed Akin. You think he's a crackpot. You think it's "distraction politics" for us to be dwelling on the misstatement and/or ignorance of one politician with respect to the a Presidential election when the Presidential candidate and Vice-Presidential candidate in question have publicly decried that politician.

    Answer me this, though.

    Let's say Romney wins. He appoints a couple Supreme Court justices. Roe v. Wade is overturned. Suppose in the most efficient policy change ever all the states magically adopt the President's position that allows for the exceptions he supports. How do you implement that position?

    I'm not just talking about the nightmarish prospective panels that Cindy mentions above in determining what is and what isn't "legitimate" or "forcible" rape. Let's say you couldn't care less about the horrific humiliation factor therein. All you care about now is the legal burden of proof involved in establishing rape, incest, and the endangerment of the mother's life.

    You have less than nine months to figure that out, because I'm sure you're not going to just take her word, right? (Actually, it will be far less than nine months. Remove a month at least at the front end to figure out that someone is pregnant, and remove several months at the back end, because I'm assuming you won't let us go anytime near the third trimester or too far into the second trimester.) Because in the case of rape or incest, the victim is always super eager to talk about the crime and put it on the public record, right? It's not under-reported at all. And what official body is going to be in charge of this duty? Well, it's going to have be one of those super-efficient government bureaucracies that you Republicans love so much, right? So we're arresting the rapist, taking him to trial, and giving go-ahead on the abortion in...well, you're going to have get all that done in just a few weeks, right? That sounds exactly like the efficient American justice system at work! Oh, and did I mention that once she gets the approval, it's going to be much harder for her to even find a clinic in her neighborhood because abortion has been outlawed outside of these exceptions that are so difficult to prove, hence the demand will have completely disappeared? Does that sound realistic or practical at all?

    And because I don't want to leave endangerment of the mother's life out of the equation, what exactly constitutes acceptable endangerment? Do we need three doctors that all agree that there is a 25 percent chance that she could die carrying the pregnancy to term? Do we need ten doctors telling us there is a 50 percent chance? Or perhaps an official statement from the board of the AMA telling us there is a 75 percent chance?

    Gosh, I love paperwork. Oh, crap. Nine months passed. The rapist didn't even make it into the courtroom, because he was never apprehended. The father threatened to kill her mother if she ever talked about what he did, and she couldn't bring herself to do it. Or she was only able to find nine doctors in time that agreed that she was actually in danger. A baby was born. Hmmm...I guess you got what you actually wanted all along.

    So, yeah, address those questions for me, and then try to tell me that Romney's position on abortion has *ANY* practical difference from Todd Akin's position on abortion and that this has anything do with ignorance or a misstatement. Romney's position is nothing more than empty political posturing that attempts to appease the middle and delude those that don't bother to examine the realities of our world.

  • whirligig7

    Wow... I always considered myself considering all consequences of laws... but I've never thought of half of what you just pointed out. Damn... you are so right. What a mess.

  • AngelenoEwok

    I'm going to make so much consensual love to you later.

  • Maguita NYC

    Rape. Everyone speaks of rape, of what surrounds it, the actions about it, but never rape itself. Never the cruelty of being pushed down, stripped, forced, gagged, beaten down, and then that. Penetration. Or rather, the lack of it.

    Because it is not penetration, it is being ripped from the inside by a hot poker, it is being reduced to a hole to be abused. It is about that harsh burning pain, while being paralyzed by fear. That fear you were born with, that fear that is your inheritance from centuries of abused women, that indoctrinate your lifetime behavior. That single act, the horror that makes you regret having a woman's body, and being at a man's mercy. Or lack of it.

    And afterwards.

    After his rutting, after the searing abuse, after he has the gull to make you feel like you've asked for it, that because you have a vagina therefore you were asking for it, be it your intention or never, does not matter. You are responsible. You were raised with that responsibility, just as he was raised to be forever treated as a child, never responsible for his actions. Never responsible for his behavior.

    Although Todd Akins' "intentional rape" was probably meant in comparison to "statutory rape", his following statement was undeniable Intentional Acute Mental Dumbassness. The absolute sickness of the white man, to whom we owe everything, because he knows best. That paternalist shitfaced irresponsible dick, who has yet to feel empathy because of his breeding. Or lack of it.

    We are surrounded by Todd Akins. Yes, the Republican Party is the intentional breeder of dumbasses like Todd Akins. Just look at what they have done to women, all in the name of a deity, in Texas, Nebraska, and Arizona. Of how women are stripped of their basic HUMAN rights. How they now hold third-rate citizenship in this country, because make no mistake, your dog has more rights than you do as a woman. And they sell it to you, convince other women to sell it to you even harder, always the weakest link when it comes to our interaction with men.

    While they hold strong together, they have always been able to tear us apart, because we are the weaker sex. Because we are the ones responsible for raising our boys to become men without honor.

    WE have accepted to be the sole responsible bearers of whatever treatment is dished-out to our gender. By even letting the law reflect such imbecility.

    As a woman, I have been raised to be a third-class citizen, and being so, I tend to hold on to my promises so tightly, that I over-perform. In marriage, in
    under-paid job positions, in debt payments, in everything. Just to prove that
    I am half as worthy as a man.

    And this, this makes it okay for the likes of Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and the rest, to think it is okay that I be the sole bearer of their behavior.To cry in shame for my mistreatment. To be put into the position of forcing a man into raping me.

    And after the fact, after the act, to have to go through an unending nightmare of depositions, rape kits that the government does not allow financial aid in ACTUAL testing, questions, accusations, reminding me that as the "owner" of this vagina, I was able to reduce a man into a rutting, raging, raping brute. It was my fault that my existence made him lose control of himself, and therefore, irresponsible of his actions.

    So the law says. So lawmen have intended it to be.

    While all those related to the monster give him absolute support, no matter his repeated offender status. And because men are men, and are held tight to their brotherhood promises, rules be damned. Victim be damned.

    And that those I elect to defend me as an American keep on passing laws that make me feel even worst, with the most aching-burning regret of my gender. And after all that is done in the name of a god, my resulting pregnancy is actually considered proof of my acquiescence to being raped.

    I am woman. Hear me cry.

  • mswas

    @google-b6231c91d1abf027604ef363d00f8c08:disqus this is an excellent piece of vivid, compelling, brutal writing. Don't you let someone who intentionally chooses to misunderstand sway you. In fact I think you should post this as a standalone piece somewhere so that people like me can raise it as a rallying cry for all thinking, feeling people in this country, women and men. Because there is one thing that's not at anyone's mercy, the one right that you have over your dog, and it's your vote. Shout it from the rooftops.

  • Maguita NYC

    Thank you @mswas. I will give it a try somewhere.

  • Camy

    You're right! Everyone republican is evil and hates women! They think women are no better than animals!

  • marya

    Your jerkishness is only trumped by your inability to read for meaning.

  • Maguita NYC

    I really did not mean it that way. I've unfortunately expressed too much, and did not mean my post to be against ALL Republicans.

    You cannot put all Republicans in the same boat. But you can surely put most Republican POLITICIANS in the same boat lately.

    Even those who had started out decently after Obama won election, like McCain who had given a most honorable concession speech and had promised to support HIS President, to be an honorable American, had actually stepped off the ledge and joined the coucou clan.

    Many people who are Republicans are dearly embarrassed of the Republican Party's actions. How unbelievably hateful they had gotten. Their perception of winning is in blocking EVERY action President Obama had taken. An embarrassingly Un-ethical at the least, and quite Un-American approach. Their hate is so blind that they would push the country to borderline BANKRUPTCY just to make a point!

    We have moved beyond thumping on a man-made bible about “God’s law”, and had moved into a territory where facts are disregarded, and where anything different from the white straight man, has been getting his and her rights slaughtered. Just look at the states of Arizona, and Texas.

    If you look mildly Hispanic, you can still be arrested if you don’t have your papers on you.

    If you are a very young teenage girl raped by her father, no matter the color of your skin, the doctor cannot abort your fetus before, under LAWFUL OBLIGATION, showing you detailed x-rays of the fetus, and showing you detailed pictures of 50s botched abortions of dismembered aborted fully-termed fetuses, so to force you into changing your mind about abortion.

    And if you are serving your country, as a woman, you have the right to be raped, repeatedly. And you have the right to be on-the-spot dismissed from the US Army, if you dare report your rapist.

    Yes, it is hard to look at an American party that have been firmly slaughtered by right wingbats touting the name of God,
    but acting like the spawn of evil.

    This anti-abortion in the name of Jesus. People tend to forget who this Jesus was: A man that flouted the religious laws of his time, saying that loving others is more important than adhering blindly to old laws. He was quite a courageous rebel. That fought against social inequities and injustices.

    That is why men like Akins are dangerous. And important at the same time. Because Akins' statement had clearly highlighted what the white men in the far right dingbat party are truly thinking. What their actual thoughts are on women. Very akin by the way to a Mormon woman's place in society. Just look it up.

    And finally, I would like those with such strong beliefs to answer me this: if you believe in one Higher Power, a Creator of all things living, a Power on whims that gives and a Power on whims that takes, shouldn't you be accepting of everything EQUALLY that power gives, and most importantly takes?

    For if you believe that pregnancy is god given, and abortion is a sin, then of course you would go through any other god-given health issue with faith and dignity.

    Never seeking for say chemotherapy, or any kind of prophylactic or supportive therapy. Ever. Because of course, why would you deny God's Will?

  • dahlia6

    Don't apologize for what you feel or how you express it. You have every right to your angry, and anyone who tells you other wise in trying to exercise control over you. Everyone has the right to their own feelings and emotions.

  • Maguita NYC

    Thank you @dahlia6:disqus .

  • bleujayone

    My problem isn't focused on the rantings of one man or even a group of individuals spouting off their lunacy- for they have always been here since the dawn of time and I suspect they always will. My problem is that millions of idiots out there are supporting such nonsense by giving such wielders of insanity power to lord it over others. They will vote for these people without ever thinking about the implications. All it takes is a few choice buzzwords and a few hundred million in flashy ads and they'd vote for self-castration and voluntary poverty if its presented in the right package.

    And despite millions of other people expressing their outrage on this and other ignorance-based platforms, it will still not move them to get off their collective rears and actually DO ANYTHING about it. Where are the demonstrations in the streets? Where are the rallies? Where are the group efforts to motive others? WHAT IN THE HOLY HELL DOES IT TAKE FOR THE APATHETIC MASSES TO DO ANYTHING BEYOND REACTIONARY BITCHING AND COMPLAINING?!?!? Being pissed off alone will not change things.

    Seriously folks, the politicians and their parties are making it quite clear where they stand. Their brainwashed legions are going to cast their votes en mass without any prodding or persuasion.

    You need to vote. You need to get everyone you know registered to vote. You need to get everyone of them to vote. You all need to take Election Day off from work and transport them all to the polls as soon as they open. If all you do is cast your one lone vote and hope for the best, if you forgo voting altogether because you've become disenfranchised with the system or if you feel that you cannot be bothered to do an ounce of legwork beyond whatever the ads say- then regardless where you stand, you failed in your duty as a member of the voting citizenry. And most importantly if you do not take this as seriously as those running for office and their minions do, you will be living with the consequences of the actions of others.

    If you're outraged, then use it as the needed motivation to drive you and like-minded others to actually try to make the difference you desire. I cannot promise you you'll be successful, but brother it's got to be exponentially better than just being (justifiably) angry.

  • YES. Time to do something about it - vote!

    For anyone who isn't registered to vote this fall:

  • True_Blue

    What drives me crazy (among many--I have a list) is women who @#%^ vote for GOP. Year ago I worked in an office with this older woman (she had a daughter and granddaughters), who told me she would vote for Bush. Because she really _really_ loved St. Ronnie. I knew she was pro-choice, so I asked why she would vote for a party which has been pushing the no abortion-under-any-circumstances line since 1988 (read the GOP party platform). She said first I was lying, followed by Bush wouldn't _really_ make all abortions illegal, because he doesn't write the platform. Apparently some gnomes get together and write the GOP party platform without telling any of the GOP leadership.

  • Fredo

    The concern I have with dismissing Akin's comments as "crazy" is that they tend to diminish their insidiousness. Akin represents a very large group of people who think that abortion is 100% wrong and should not be used, no matter the circumstances, reasons or conditions of the woman's pregnancy. We'll set aside the topic of whether or not they're in the right to hold such beliefs. What is concerning is the extent to which they'll go to make this position a reality, which includes horrendously-faulty pseudo-science to create a "debate."

    Disliking abortion is one thing. Shilling bullshit out there to confuse people is another. And Akin is just one of many who think that the ends justify the means -- as long as we win, let's just bullshit the world and don't worry about who we hurt in the process!

  • True_Blue

    Akin & co are perfectly willing to lie to achieve their desired end, to hell with truth, scientific integrity and all that. They have repeatedly lied about the link between abortion and breast cancer despite repeated debunking. Why is anyone surprised that the same bunch would lie about "legitimate" rapes cannot impregnate women?

  • Four Eyes

    What really gives me the heebie jeebies is that some of this rhetoric from the Akins, Romney etc is a edging a bit too close to Atwood's "The handmaid's tale". Maybe I'm paranoid but to paraphrase Harry Dresden, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there really isn't a demon out there about to eat your face.

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