How the GOP's Real Agenda Is Revealed in Their Nasty Rape Comments
U.S. Senate Candidate Richard Mourdock (R-IN) (R) applauds as he listens to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speak during a campaign event in August 2012 in Evansville, Indiana.
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Dear GOP candidates and party members,
I'm going to give you some free campaign advice: stop talking about rape.
"I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."
Cue outrage, then cue "apology" from Mourdock – not for his comments, but for "any interpretation other than what I intended". National Republican senatorial committee chairman John Cornyn voiced his support for Mourdock and added that he also believes "life is a gift from God."
I would hate for Mr Mourdock to think I'm misinterpreting him here, so let's be clear about what he said: he did not say that rape is a gift from God. He did say that an unwanted pregnancy is a post-rape goodie bag from the Lord. And that the Lord intended it to happen that way.
Perhaps God should rethink his delivery system. And perhaps Mourdock should rethink his interpretation of divine will.
What this umpteenth rape comment tells us isn't that the Republican party has a handful of unhinged members who sometimes flub their talking points. It reveals the real agendas and beliefs of the GOP as a whole.
These incidents aren't isolated, and they aren't rare. Sharron Angle, who ran for a US Senate seat out of Nevada, said she would tell a young girl wanting an abortion after being raped and impregnated by her father that "two wrongs don't make a right" and that she should make a " lemon situation into lemonade". Todd Akin said victims of " legitimate rape" don't get pregnant – an especially confusing talking point, if God is giving rape victims the gift of pregnancy. Maybe God only gives that gift to victims of illegitimate rape?
Wisconsin state representative Roger Rivard asserted:
Douglas Henry, a Tennessee state senator, told his colleagues:
"Rape, ladies and gentlemen, is not today what rape was. Rape, when I was learning these things, was the violation of a chaste woman, against her will, by some party not her spouse."
Republican activist Phyllis Schlafly declared that marital rape doesn't exist, because when you get married you sign up to be sexually available to your husband at all times. And when asked a few years back about what kind of rape victim should be allowed to have an abortion, South Dakota Republican Bill Napoli answered:
"A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life."
Rape lemonade. Legitimate rape. The sodomized virgin exception. A rape gift from God.
Some Republicans, like Mitt Romney, have tried to distance themselves from their party's rhetorical obsession with sexual violation. What they're hoping we won't notice is the fact that their party is politically committed to sexual violation.
Opposition to abortion in all cases – rape, incest, even to save the pregnant woman's life or health – is written into the Republican party platform. Realizing they can't make abortion illegal overnight, conservatives instead rally around smaller initiatives like mandatory waiting periods, transvaginal ultrasounds and mandated lectures about "life" to make abortion as expensive, difficult and humiliating as possible.