Monday, August 20, 2012

The Depravity of Rep. Todd Akin(R-MO) Is Shared By Paul Ryan (R-WI) And Other Conservatives

The Depravity of Rep. Todd Akin(R-MO) Is Shared By Paul Ryan (R-WI) And Other Conservatives

Republicans have been getting in trouble for asserting this since at least 1988 -- but anti-abortion politicians keep hauling out this old idea for a reason.

Here we go again. Trotting out the contemporary equivalent of the early American belief that only witches float, Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican challenger to Democratic U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, told a local Missouri station in an interview that "legitimate rape" does not lead to pregnancy.

"First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare," Akin said in an interview with KTVI-TV that caused a furor online Sunday afternoon after being posted on TPM. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
....The thing is, his comments were hardly some kind never-before-heard gaffe. Arguments like his have cropped up again and again on the right over the past quarter century and the idea that trauma is a form of birth control continues to be promulgated by anti-abortion forces that seek to outlaw all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest. The push for a no-exceptions anti-abortion policy has for decades gone hand in hand with efforts to downplay the frequency with which rape- or incest-related pregnancies occur, and even to deny that they happen, at all. In other words, it's not just Akin singing this tune.

Take Christian Life Resources, an educational site, for example. It reprints an 1999 article on the topic that seeks to make the same distinction between categories of rape as did Akin, and for the same reason. Wrote John C. Willke -- a physician who in the 1980s and early 1990s was president of the National Right to Life Committee -- in the piece, originally published in Life Issues Connector:

    When pro-lifers speak of rape pregnancies, we should commonly use the phrase "forcible rape" or "assault rape," for that specifies what we're talking about. Rape can also be statutory. Depending upon your state law, statutory rape can be consensual, but we're not addressing that here .... Assault rape pregnancies are extremely rare.

    .... What is certainly one of the most important reasons why a rape victim rarely gets pregnant, and that's physical trauma. Every woman is aware that stress and emotional factors can alter her menstrual cycle. To get and stay pregnant a woman's body must produce a very sophisticated mix of hormones. Hormone production is controlled by a part of the brain that is easily influenced by emotions. There's no greater emotional trauma that can be experienced by a woman than an assault rape. This can radically upset her possibility of ovulation, fertilization, implantation and even nurturing of a pregnancy. So what further percentage reduction in pregnancy will this cause? No one knows, but this factor certainly cuts this last figure by at least 50 percent and probably more.

An edited version of Willke's article appears on the website of Physicians for Life group under the headline, "Assault Rape Pregnancies Are Rare." The most medically ignorant paragraphs have been excised from this version of the story, though the headline has been strengthened to make the point plain.

The canard had been floating around the right long before Willke wrote his piece. In 1995, 71-year-old North Carolina state Rep. Henry Aldridge gained national notoriety after telling the N.C. House Appropriations Committee, "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. Medical authorities agree that this is a rarity, if ever."

The Romney-Ryan campaign has issued a statement saying they do not agree with  Akin. The problem for Ryan is that he and Adkin have a documented history of thinking alike.
Ryan and Akin ... were co-sponsors of H.R. 3, the 2011 bill that would have limited the federal abortion coverage exemption only to victims of "forcible rape" and women whose physical health was in danger from her pregnancy, closing a supposed loophole in health-of-the-mother exemptions conservatives have been crowing about for years.

After massive vocal protest from women’s rights advocates, the sponsors dropped the "forcible rape" language from the bill, giving up their quest to redefine rape in the federal code with little explanation.

This is not about another conservative gaffe, another "rare' extremist" in the Republican ranks, this is the kind of evil deeply imbedded in the conservative movement.

Per the graphic at top, "We Haven't Run The Numbers:" A Startling Ryan Admission That's Getting Little Attention

New Romney Welfare Ad Cites Newspaper That Says Its Welfare Reform Claims Have ‘Been Debunked’

Undeterred by his own support for the welfare reform waivers he is now criticizing, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has released another ad slamming the Obama administration’s decision to give states greater latitude in how they administer the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

The ad cites a Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial to make the case that Obama’s welfare reform waivers are “nuts,” because, “If you want to get more people to work, you don’t loosen the requirement — you tighten them.” The newspaper’s editorial board did, indeed, pen that sentence in an August 15 editorial that defended the Romney campaign’s earlier ads and agreed with him that the work requirement had indeed been “gutted.” Now, though, the Times-Dispatch is admitting that its own claims — which are central to the Romney ad — have been “debunked“:

    The 30-second ad doubles down on the Romney campaign’s claim that Obama ended welfare’s work requirement “gutting welfare reform,” a charge that has been debunked by multiple independent fact-checkers.

Had they done their own reporting instead of relying on the Romney campaign’s advertisements, the Times-Dispatch’s editors wouldn’t have had to wait for three independent fact-checkers to realize that GOP claims that welfare reform had been “gutted” were a blatant lie. The directive outlining the waivers makes it clear that work requirements will remain in place, though states will have more leeway in determining how to get welfare recipients out of the program and into jobs.

The decision to issue waivers was made at the request of multiple Republican governors Romney himself supported even farther-reaching waivers in 2005 — and is meant to address the program’s struggles. While the Romney ad cites a 1998 Washington Post piece calling TANF an “unprecedented success,” that too has been debunked: the 1996 welfare reform law has failed to help America’s neediest families, and the reduction in the number of people receiving welfare has come largely from kicking people off the rolls, not by getting them jobs.

Amazing that Romney is running the sleaziest most dishonest political campaign of the last 100 years and the media has not noticed or does not care.