JIM CREES: GOP and rape

He said whaaaaat??!!??

Let me start off by saying I do not ...that is to say, DO NOT ...believe the Republican Party in these United States has declared a “War on Women.”

That is simply a bunch of hooey.

Still, while the Grand Old Party isn’t conspiring against women, there is a sad consistency in the stupid things members of ‘the team’ say and apparently believe.

Just recently, party enthusiasm in a campaign year was dampened as leaders tried to deal with the unfortunate ramblings of Missouri Republican candidate for the House Todd Akin who suggested there was never any justification for a medical abortion because in cases of “legitimate rape” a woman, (or her body) could actually control the situation without any intervention.

Now, for those who will most certainly claim I’m taking this out of context, here is exactly what Akin said in his TV interview.

“From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume maybe that didn't work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist.”

Let’s review the more succinct points in Rep. Akin’s comment.

“From what I understand ...” which is obviously nothing, so let’s just move along.

“...that’s really rare ...” he said referring to pregnancies following a rape.

Not really.

“The national rape-related pregnancy rate is 5 (five) percent per rape among victims of reproductive age (aged 12 to 45); Among adult women an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year ...the majority occurred among adolescents and resulted from assault by a known, often related perpetrator.

“Conclusions: Rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency. It is a cause of many unwanted pregnancies and is closely linked with family and domestic violence..” (American Journal Obstetrics Gynecology 1996;175:320-5.)

“Legitimate rape” apparently was a phrase used because the representative believes there is a difference between “real” rape, and some other kind of consensual rape ...whatever that might be. I’m sure, for example, that Akin doesn’t believe there could be rape within a marriage. So ...if some guy beats his wife senseless, forces sex on her, and she becomes pregnant, that is a sacred event protected by the the vows of marriage!!??!!

Think again.

He goes on to say: “ If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Oh, for the love of God, Rep. Akin, (and others of his ilk.) Just because you feel a need to pander to some illusionary, or delusional “base’ doesn’t mean you have to market yourself as a complete ignoramus.

OK. Let us assume, (as do even many of his Republican buddies), that Akin was waaaaaaay off the mark with his most recent blathering.

The problem is ...what he said is nothing out of the ordinary, and especially for the GOP.

There may not be an organized conspiracy against women, but why the heck would a woman vote for these guys?

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane. To show the consistency of the stupidity, lets go back a few years.

Back in the day, Pennsylvania state Rep. Stephen Freind, (R-Delaware County), claimed the odds that a woman who is raped will get pregnant were “one in millions and millions and millions.” The reason, as noted in the Philadelphia Inquirer, is that according to Freind the emotional distress suffered by women during a rape causes a woman to “secrete a certain secretion that tends to kill sperm.”


Later, in 1995, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on a story out of Raleigh, N.C.

“Women do not get pregnant when raped because “the juices don't flow, the body functions don’t work” during an attack.

Republican Representative Henry Aldridge made the remarks to the House Appropriations Committee as it debated a proposal 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 the 71-year-old Aldridge. “Medical authorities agree that this is a rarity, if ever.”

Aldridge’s comments outraged women's advocates and some legislators from both parties.

“It’s really common for rape victims to be blamed for being raped,” said Margaret Henderson, president of the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault. “But this is the first time I’ve heard of rape victims being blamed for becoming pregnant.”

In an effort to educate and inform potential political candidates of the future, I’d like to use the following paragraph to explain what rape is, because they simply don’t seem to understand either the act or the potential results of the same.

The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, (RAINN), defines rape as “forced sexual intercourse, including vaginal, anal, or oral penetration. Penetration may be by a body part or an object.” To clarify: “Rape victims may be forced through threats or physical means. In about 8 out of 10 rapes, no weapon is used other than physical force. Anyone may be a victim of rape: women, men or children, straight or gay.”

And just so future GOP politicians understand. Yes, a woman can get pregnant during a rape - “legitimate” or otherwise.