Republican remarks work against women

Columnist and Columnist

The GOP has never been at the forefront of Woman’s Rights issues but in recent weeks their socially conservative viewpoints on abortion have gone from Pro-Life to just insane.

The hot-button issue gained political momentum when Republican candidate for Congress Todd Akin (MO) claimed, “It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that [pregnancy as a result of rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

The above quotation created a whirlwind of controversy resulting in both Democrats and Republicans contradicting Akin’s claims with President Obama stating, “Rape is rape,” he continued, touching on abortion, saying, “[male politicians] shouldn’t be making decisions on behalf of women for their health care decisions or qualifying forcible rape versus non-forcible rape,” and Governor Romney asserting, “Todd Akin’s comments were offensive and wrong and he should very seriously consider what course would be in the best interest of our country … and exit the Senate race.”

While I applaud the sentiment from these two men, I can’t help but find the Conservative side lacking in actual condemnation.

For instance, Romney’s choice for Vice President, Paul Ryan, is an adamant supporter of Pro-Life legislation having cosponsored a bill which sought to, “provide that human life shall be deemed to begin with fertilization.” Paul voted to scrap funding for family planning centers like Planned Parenthood in his home state of Mississippi and even collaborated with the same Todd Akin to redefine rape.

While Ryan’s views may seem on the edge of extreme conservatism, Romney’s views don’t really fall far from the social conservative’s tree. He stated on Fox News that he would “absolutely” support a constitutional amendment that would have established definition of life beginning at conception in Massachusetts. However, counter to Ryan’s beliefs Romney “does not oppose abortion in cases of rape and incest or if it will save a mother’s life,” while Ryan does oppose “abortion in cases of rape and incest.”

The Republican National Convention has taken such an absolutist stance on the issue of abortion, that they’ve maintained that their platform will not support any abortion completely neglecting instances of incest or rape, instead leaving that distinction to the states — where historically civil rights have gone to die (e.g. Desegregation, Same-Sex Marriage Rights).

Even celebrated Libertarian Ron Paul who preaches individual rights describes himself as being “strongly Pro-Life” and believes the ruling in Roe v. Wade was one of the “most disastrous rulings of this century.”

An article in Death and Taxes Magazine describes Paul’s stance as, “not [being] born of the same reasoning he applies to every other issue, or, indeed to the constitution, which doesn’t consider the matter of abortion. Thus, Paul can’t attack the issue on constitutional grounds, only as a state’s rights imperative.” Paul, alleged to be the most socially liberal among conservatives, leaves a woman’s right to choose up to state governments siding with the socially conservative movement.

This election cycle, the Republican Party has fervently supported their stance against a woman’s right to choose but have gone above and beyond the general Pro-Life arguments, and I think they have been spreading misinformation and outright lies about women and their reproductive rights.

I think even the staunchest Pro-Life advocate could understand how a pregnancy brought about by rape or incest, and being forced to carry to term, would be damaging and destabilizing to a woman’s life.

The fixed condition that, under no circumstances, does a woman have domain over her own pregnancy makes voting for the Republican ticket this fall a great step back for woman’s rights.

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