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The 8 Worst Things Republicans Have Said About Rape, Sex and Women's Bodies

It's not just GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin. It's practically a party tradition.

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2. The daddy of all these rape theories. The National Right to Life Committee’s John C. Willke’s claims in an article that the “trauma” of rape prevents pregnancy -- i.e., he “basically just makes shit up,” writes  Katie JMBaker at Jezebel.

3. GOP donor asks "Want contraception? Put an aspirin between your knees." This line, now a total cultural punchline, came from Foster Friess, who was a big donor to Rick Santorum before moving on to support Romney. The  video clip featuring Friess’ comments and Andrea Mitchell’s flummoxed response went viral this spring.

Friess: This contraceptive thing, my gosh it's such inexpensive, back in my days we used Bayer aspirin for contraception, the gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly.

Mitchell: Um, excuse me, I'm trying to catch my breath from that Mr. Friess, frankly...

4. GOP lawmakers seek to legally redefine rape as “forcible rape” so fewer women will qualify as victims. Remember the media firestorm around the “war on women”? One of its major fronts consisted of congressional shenanigans  around the definition of rape in the noxious H.R. 3 “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion” bill. These efforts included Akin and VP candidate Paul Ryan and were aimed at siphoning off the number of abortion-funding exemptions so that only the rarest few qualified. What offended women most -- and eventually scuttled the bill -- was the idea that the government could weigh whether your rape “counted” or not.

Garance Franke-Ruta explains:

 According to the bill, there would be exemptions only for something called "forcible rape." (Presumably, this is the same thing Willke called "assault rape" and Akin called "legitimate rape," as opposed to what Willke called "consensual" "statutory" rape.) After a public outcry, Smith retreated from his first draft of the bill and  reinstituted the Hyde language, though  an additional provision was added later to clarify that the bill will "not allow the Federal Government to subsidize abortions in cases of statutory rape." Akin and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan were co-sponsors of the bill, along with 225 others.

Since Sunday, the Romney camp has been trying furiously to distance itself from Akin, but these two names together as co-sponsors of this bill may come back to haunt Paul Ryan.

5. Another GOP lawmaker (surprise, surprise) worries that women will claim rape just to get abortions. This March, Idaho Senator Chuck Winder, who had already proposed that women go through two forced ultrasounds, including one at a right-wing “crisis pregnancy center,”  went a step further by voicing his concern that women might use the “rape issue” to go abortion-crazy. Quoth Chuck: “Rape and incest was used as a reason to oppose this. I would hope that when a woman goes into a physician with a rape issue, that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage or was it truly caused by a rape.”

6. Pundits and lawmakers: Forced ultrasounds are okay because women already consented to be penetrated when they got pregnant. Remember the bill in Virginia that would have mandated certain kinds of invasive ultrasounds for women seeking abortions (the kind that already exist in other states?). Well, ultraconservative pundit Dana Loesch, who has already come to Todd Akin’s defense in this round, was hostile to the basic concept that every time a person's body is penetrated, it’s mandatory to ask for consent. "They had no problem having similar to a transvaginal procedure when they engaged in the act that resulted in their pregnancy,"  she said. Sadly, Loesch’s idea was not so far out of the norm:  several Virginia lawmakers basically said the same thing.

 
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