by Karen Moller
(Swans - August 27, 2012) First we have Todd Akin coming forth with the old wives' tale "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole [pregnancy] thing down."
This is not one man shooting himself in the foot.
Last year Paul Ryan and Akin, with 200 or more Republicans, co-sponsored legislation that would have changed the definition of rape, limiting rape victims as legitimate or not legitimate enough to receive financial assistance for abortions.
So no funding for rape victims and no abortions for them because the bodies of legitimate rape victims would not have allowed them to get pregnant.
This morning, the Republican Party voted to include the "Human Life Amendment" in their platform, calling for a constitutional ban on abortions nationwide, even for rape victims. And a platform, written at the direction of Romney's campaign, included a "salute" for American states that have "informed consent" laws, such as those that force women seeking an abortion to first undergo an invasive and medically unnecessary ultrasound.
How dare a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, make health care decisions about what we, as women, are allowed or not allowed to do to our own bodies. No country in Europe, Canada, Australia, etc. would dream of trying to take away women's right to make their own decisions or to treat them as irresponsible children.
Mitt Romney wants to get rid of Planned Parenthood and has, with Ryan, pledged to go back to a system where insurance companies can charge women more than men for the same health insurance, presumably because we have babies as it's not because we get sicker more often than men.
Sitting in Europe and looking at what is going on in this US election, I have to ask: "Has the Republican Party lost its direction and gone back to the Middle Ages?"
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson should have been disowned by it when he stated, "We should have never turned [the vote] over to women. These women are voting for the wrong people. They're voting for people who are evil, who agree with them, who are gonna take us down the pathway of destruction." The reverend then went on to warn against women in positions of power because they "freak out" and "go nuts" if confronted with an issue. "They can't handle stress. They can't handle anything," he said. "You walk up to them with an issue, they freak out right away. Especially if they can't get the problem resolved right away ... they go nuts. They get mad. They get upset. Because it's not in their nature. They don't have patience. They don't have love. Wherever woman reins, evil is taking over."
If you ask me, it sounds like he is the one "who can't handle anything." Surely he has had some kind of education but I wonder what kind of education it was when he says, "African-Americans should be sent back to the plantation to learn a proper work ethic," adding "Thank God for slavery" for bringing Africans to the U.S.
He has called Islam an evil religion, but are his views any different from what fundamentalist Muslims are saying?
Will women in America vote for these people? Or the wider question -- will men?
When women in Britain were given the vote they voted overwhelmingly for the Conservative Party and until the 1970s they appeared to accept that politics was a man's job. Thatcher changed that even though it was obvious she thought men were superior to women. Sure we hated her at the time, not so much for her view on women, but for her hard-heartened political stance. However thanks to her example, women in Britain took to politics -- they fill both sides of the parliament now and no one today would criticize their ability to make decisions or say that "women are voting for people who are evil, who agree with them, who are gonna take us down the pathway of destruction."
We need at least a two-party system but we need voices of reason on both sides. We need people to speak up and condemn those who are trying to drag us back into Third-World dogma of fundamentalist ignorance.
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About the Author
Karen Moller is the author of Technicolor Dreamin': The 1960s Rainbow and Beyond (Trafford Publishing, 2006, ISBN: 1-412-08018-5) and a fashion designer who lives half time in Paris, France, and the other half in Venice, Italy. (back)