it's a feature. The whole complex of abortion/rape has hit the news after the remarks of Todd Akin, Republican candidate for the Senate from Missouri. Here's a timeline from NYT. The key point, if you want to call it that, is this:
KTVI-TV posts to its Web site an interview with Mr. Akin in which he is asked whether he believes abortion is justified in cases of rape and replies that rape does not result in pregnancy. Twitter soon erupts with outrage and links to the interview.
“It seems to be, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”
He's not alone. The first one to come to his defense was Mike Huckabee, whose viciousness is masked by his down-home manner.
The latest flap on this issue is from another Republican candidate (surprise!), Tom Smith of Pennsylvania:
MARK SCOLFORO, ASSOCIATED PRESS: How would you tell a daughter or a granddaughter who, God forbid, would be the victim of a rape, to keep the child against her own will? Do you have a way to explain that?
SMITH: I lived something similar to that with my own family. She chose life, and I commend her for that. She knew my views. But, fortunately for me, I didn’t have to.. she chose they way I thought. No don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t rape.
SCOLFORO: Similar how?
SMITH: Uh, having a baby out of wedlock.
SCOLFORO: That’s similar to rape?
SMITH: No, no, no, but… put yourself in a father’s situation, yes. It is similar. But, back to the original, I’m pro-life, period.
The idea of a woman actually giving consent doesn't seem to enter Smith's mind at all. The cherry on top is his "clarification":
A life is a life, and it needs protected. Who’s going to protect it? We have to. I mean that’s, I believe life begins at conception. I’m not going to argue about the method of conception. It’s a life, and I’m pro-life. It’s that simple.(Emphasis added.)
There's a knock-out post from Karoli on this one at Crooks and Liars. Read it.
And lest you think these guys are beyond the Pale, here's Paul Ryan on "methods of conception":
This is being widely reported as Ryan saying that "rape is just another method of conception," which, while not literally true, certainly captures the sense of his remarks. One wonders what his attitude is toward IVF and artificial insemination, both of which the Republican party opposes -- they are, after all, "methods of conception."
These are not outliers. The 2012 Republican platform contains the following language:
“Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed,” said the draft platform language approved Tuesday, which was first reported by CNN. “We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”
One thing is missing from this: women. Apparently, they don't matter.