Wednesday, August 22, 2012


WAY, WAY OVER YONDER: Though our attention in this space has traditionally been on local issues, occasionally the ugliness of Americans is hard to ignore.

Though it's been decades since we've set foot on the great prairie it's not as if we're unfamiliar with some of the daft denizens who invariably wind up next to us on a coastal plane trip asking if we've "heard the good news."

Now we're all for freedom of religion as long as there's also freedom from it for us. In other words believe whatever the hell you want to, just keep it to yourself. And that means keep your religion out of women's bodies especially when it comes to abortion.

Our attitude toward abortion goes well beyond the usual "pro choice." We're actually pro-abortion. If you're even thinking of not bringing another mouth to feed into this war-weary half-starving, overpopulated world, we urge you to get an abortion and urge the government to pay for it as an investment in our future. A fetus is not a baby- a baby is a baby.

Unfortunately many of these bible-addled mid-westerners mistakenly think they have some kind of business in taking control over the bodies and lives of women. And in trying explain their opposition scientifically rather than biblically- as if- they've come up with some real doozies like this week's comments by Missouri senatorial candidate, Representative Todd Akin about how after "legitimate rape... the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing (pregnancy) down."

But somehow Akin's Christian fundamentalist brethren in the Republican party have made him their own personal pariah despite the fact that he's only been expressing a "mainstream" contention among anti-abortion zealots.

The mainly Republican movement for a constitutional amendment banning abortion even in the case of rape is not only on the agenda of many of Akin's party but is actually expected to become a plank in their platform at their Presidential Nominating Convention next week in Tampa. And a large part of the justification for not making an exception for rape (along with incest and life or health of the woman) has been pretty much the thoughts expressed- yet somehow now condemned- by those who are suddenly "shocked shocked" to hear that kind of attitude expressed so inelegantly.

The fact that these boneheads- almost all of them men- even have the adjective "legitimate" in their lexicon concerning the verb "rape" tells you all you need to know about their sickness.

In their world- one seemingly stuck in a century far away and long ago- rape must be violent to be "real" rape- a repugnant concept that fortunately was at least conceptually abandoned in courtrooms more than half a century ago. Back then rape convictions in court were difficult to obtain especially with all male juries. Rapists were allowed to claim- and juries were apt to consider- that women were "asking for it" by doing things like dressing provocatively. Even worse, rape defendants were allowed to submit the lack of glaring physical scars on the victim in their defense.

But some of Akin's churchies who are trying to bring back the bad old days where abortion is concerned, are thinking about allowing an exception for this so-called "violent" (legitimate) rape. If some of the more "compassionate" anti-abortion Republicans- and make no mistake, there are some "blue dog" Democrats who agree- have their way, women would have to prove they physically fought off their attackers and put their lives in danger to show rape occurred.

Yes, the same criteria used in the bad old days for rape convictions is apparently being proposed for eligibility for abortion. How much damage is enough- how injured must you be?.. how much hair must the rapist tear out- one clump or two?.. is a broken jaw enough or must a woman lose some teeth too?

How deep must the stab wound be to allow a woman to prevent herself from having to see the face of her attacker every day rather than ridding herself of a rape-caused pregnancy?

And that of course is only half of what these idiots espouse.

According to an article in yesterday's NY Times

The idea that during rape, “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down” to prevent pregnancy, as Akin said, has surfaced periodically among anti-abortion advocates over the past two decades, usually involving the term “forcible rape” to refer to what Akin called “legitimate.”

Dr. John C. Willke, a general practitioner with obstetric training and a former president of the National Right to Life Committee, was an early proponent of this view, articulating it in a book originally published in 1985 and again in a 1999 article. He reiterated it in an interview Monday.

“This is a traumatic thing — she’s, shall we say, she’s uptight,” Willke said of a woman being raped, adding, “She is frightened, tight and so on. And sperm, if deposited in her vagina, are less likely to be able to fertilize. The tubes are spastic.”

The rest of the article is, if possible, even more reprehensible: It says that:

Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis for the American Family Association, a conservative Christian group, defended Akin on his program “Focal Point,” citing “John Willke, who is an M.D. by the way — a lot of these ignoramuses on Twitter are not.”

He read from Willke’s 1999 article, which described what is “certainly one of the most important reasons why a rape victim rarely gets pregnant, and that’s physical trauma.”

He continued with the article: “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 it's not exactly like this was some kind of "poor choice of words" or a "slip up" as not just Akin but many prominent anti-abortion Republicans have stated. The real reason the latter have called on him to withdraw from his senate campaign is because he got caught saying it and it got picked up by that "liberal media" a few days later.

The outrage among many is not only in discovering that these ideas still exist in 2012 but that they are held by many Republican candidates and even current lawmakers who are asking for the power to enact them into law. That and in most cases that alone is the reason why Republicans are calling for Akin's withdrawal from his senate race. It has nothing to do with the actual content which has been almost mainstream among extremist, anti-abortion, evangelical Republicans

Many- including Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan- have been quoted in the media as having made similar statements in explaining why they favor passing a strict "no abortion-no exceptions" constitutional amendment. The fact that he has suddenly disavowed it seems just a little disingenuous.

Unfortunately the showing of video clips juxtaposing back-to-back condemnations of Akin statements with clips of those doing the condemning making the same "points" are not the forte of the corporate press. They will have to wait until next Tuesday when John Stewart’s Daily Show comes back from their current week off.

The faux outrage of those trying to force Akin out of the race has nothing to do with recognizing the insanity of Akin's statement and has everything to do with the fact that women were outraged at hearing that these kinds of attitudes still exist and, as we are finding out, are "mainstream" among the conservative Christians in the bible belt.

We now return you to your regular local program of buffoonish corruption... already in progress.

Full disclosure: Andy Parx is NOT now nor has he ever been a member of the Democratic Party. He has been a member of the Green Party since 1996 and is a former Green National Committee member. He currently serves as an adviser to the US Green Party Media Committee.

1 comment:

KimoRosen said...

I was expecting a run down on last nights Prosecutors debate... Please do a blog on it!
would love to hear your spin! Kimo