Life, as every member of the GOP knows and accepts, isn’t fair.
Monday was to be the day given over to celebration of the fact that the most important playground in Republican society, Augusta National, would let Condi Rice and Darla Moore play through. As the club’s first female members.
Instead, we are embroiled in an argument over whether a Missouri member of the U.S. House, seeking promotion to the U.S. Senate, should withdraw from the contest because of his declaration – now retracted with much apology – that raped women have natural impediments to prevent pregnancy.
Karl Rove’s Crossroads organization has said it will spend no money on Todd Akin’s campaign. An official with the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee said the group’s head, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, called Akin on Monday to tell him that the committee had withdrawn $5 million in advertising planned for the Missouri race.
Here’s the lede of the Associated Press’ 13th write-through on the topic since Sunday:
Missouri Rep. Todd Akin apologized Monday for his televised comments that women’s bodies are able to prevent pregnancies if they are victims of “a legitimate rape,” but he refused to heed calls to abandon his bid for the Senate.
Appearing on former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee’s radio show, Akin said rape is “never legitimate.”
“It’s an evil act. It’s committed by violent predators,” Akin said. “I used the wrong words the wrong way.”
Akin has until 5 p.m. Tuesday to decide whether he’s in or out. Republican control of the Senate could be at stake. A guess: Christian conservatives and tea partyers behind Akin will rally against what they see as an effort to drive their candidate out of the race in order to please a GOP establishment.
As for the substance of what Akin told a local TV reporter, we’ve heard this before.
There was state Rep. Henry Aldridge of North Carolina in 1995, during a debate to eliminate a state abortion fund for poor women:
“The facts show that people who are raped — who are truly raped — the juices don’t flow, the body functions don’t work and they don’t get pregnant,” said Aldridge, a 71-year-old periodontist. “Medical authorities agree that this is a rarity, if ever.”
Then there was the case of state Sen. Don Thomas of Georgia – a soft-spoken Republican from Dalton, who in 2003 argued that rape victims ought not to be exempted from legislation intended to make women think twice before submitting to an abortion:
“Relying on my personal experience in my home county of 90,000 people, we don’t have rape cases resulting in pregnancy, ” he said.
Again, an elderly male physician declared that the lack of “vaginal secretions” was the key. (Thomas has since retired from the Legislature.)
Just in case we have a few doubters in the audience, allow me to point you to a 1996 study published by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. From the abstract:
The national rape-related pregnancy rate is 5.0% per rape among victims of reproductive age (aged 12 to 45); among adult women an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year. Among 34 cases of rape-related pregnancy, the majority occurred among adolescents and resulted from assault by a known, often related perpetrator.
Only 11.7% of these victims received immediate medical attention after the assault, and 47.1% received no medical attention related to the rape. A total 32.4% of these victims did not discover they were pregnant until they had already entered the second trimester; 32.2% opted to keep the infant whereas 50% underwent abortion and 5.9% placed the infant for adoption; an additional 11.8% had spontaneous abortion.
The study pointed to rape-produced pregnancies as a factor in child abuse.
For the still unconvinced, consider the use of rape as a weapon in modern warfare. From a 1996 UNICEF study that speaks to rape’s efficiency:
Sexual abuse is also appearing more often as a systematic policy of war, deployed to terrorize civilian communities. In some raids during the carnage in Rwanda in 1994, virtually every adolescent girl who survived militia attack was later raped. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the rape of teenage girls was systematized into a deliberate policy. It has been estimated that more than 20,000 women have been raped since the Balkan war began in 1992.
So you can understand why many Republicans, including Mitt Romney, were so quick to put air between themselves and the congressman from Missouri.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider