Monday, August 20, 2012

Rape Isn't Always Rape, 235 House Republicans, Including Ryan, say

Following the links in the previous post, you may have come across this number: 227.

That's how many co-sponsors, including Rep. Paul Ryan, there were for last year's bill that would have narrowed rape exceptions for abortion to cases of "forcible" rape. By my count, there were 12 Democratic co-sponsors, leaving the total of sitting Republican members of Congress co-sponsoring the bill at 215.

When the House voted on the bill, it got 251 'yes' votes, 6 abstentions, and 175 exclusively Democratic 'no' votes. Excluding 16 of the reasons why I prefer to make political donations to individual campaigns, that leaves Republican votes for passage of the bill at 235.

As @DanSolomon asked today, "How pathetic is it that "rape is rape," coming from the President, sounds like a radical statement?"


Mitt Romney isn't wrong that millions of people are offended by Rep. Todd Akin's cruel ignorance, which is why he's got to pretend that it doesn't reflect a nearly unanimous worldview among elected Republicans about women's value and place in society. Because the interesting thing about Akin isn't his ignorant belief that women can magically decide when we get pregnant, but the casual cruelty and insufferable bigotry with which he thinks it's his right to second guess the decisions we do make.

It isn't just a couple of jerks, it's the years-long track record of the Republican party as a whole. It's ...

  • ... at least 235 sitting House Republicans who'd like to distinguish between different kinds of rape when narrowing the compassionate grounds on which they'll allow a woman to make her own medical decisions.
  • ... hundreds of Republican state legislators, who tripled the number of state abortion restrictions enacted from 2010-2011, after introducing hundreds of restrictive measures around the country.
  • ... the Republican attorneys general suing to repeal mandatory contraception coverage and the Republicans defending this intrusion into women's health care on religious freedom grounds.
  • ... the 31 Republican Senators who voted against renewing the Violence Against Women Act of 2012 because they thought it protected too many victims of violence of whom they didn't approve.
  • ... a party whose leading intellectual lights include people who don't believe in spousal rape.
  • ... Paul Ryan's opposition to in-vitro fertilization, on account of wanting to offer greater precedence and peronhood to fertilized eggs than to adult women.

Rep. Akin isn't an outlier; embarrassing biological ignorance, be damned. His views on there being a hierarchy of rapes and rape victims, his lack of either compassion or respect for women who want to make their own decisions about reproductive healthcare, are entirely mainstream among influential and elected Republicans. If Mitt Romney thought the rest of the country was ready yet, they'd be his views, too.

Rep. Akin is the GOP's normal. He's got 234 House colleagues to back him up on that, including Rep. Paul Ryan.

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