When House Republican and Senatorial candidate Todd Akin did what he could to boost the Dem's chances of retaining control of the Senate and the presidency by saying that from "what I understand from doctors, that [women getting pregnant from actually being raped] is really rare, if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," he was also kind enough to help illuminate the following. What many theocons, lots, but not all of them male, really think about women. How they are fixated on the Bible as the source of true truth. How they are correspondingly exquisitely ignorant when it comes to the results of modern science and biology. How this serves their purposes when it comes to banning all abortions and why they think that's a great idea. How there most certainly is a war against women by elements of the right. And how many theocons are primitive psychopathic sexual perverts.
Some of the jaw dropping, aghast, and outraged reaction, has tended to focus on how Akin appeared to imply that some rape was "legitimate." Actually he did not do so. Think about it. Theocons are opposed to all sex outside marriage, especially by women. Rape of any form is therefore ungodly and illegit. Akin was using the term legitimate to mean an actual rape that is validly claimed because it was truly and fully against the will of the woman. This is important because the mistake risks diverting us reasonably decent folk from what the brilliantly depraved comment is telling us what many theocons really think.
What Akin was implying is that women who get pregnant outside of marriage are sluts. While Akin did not use the word -- even he realized it is hard to get into the Senate if you do that -- other popular conservatives happily say it. Most famously Rush Limbaugh who has repeatedly pushed hard at using the slut word against a wonderful young woman -- Sandra Fluke -- who dared publicly disagree with his twisted world-view. And of course Rush has a large audience who delights in agreeing that liberal women are sluts. That this view of sexually active women is pervasive among hard right males was seen on the Book TV appearance of pioneer pro-choice activist Merle Hoffman (click here). An angry male audience member gladly called unmarried females who have abortions "sluts."
Here in the 21st century many cultures of many religions are still run in a traditionalist manner that is intrinsically sexually perverse. In hypertraditional patriarchal societies it is absolutely unacceptable for a woman to have any unmarried sex for any reason whether she wanted to or not because all honorable males only want to begin wedded sex with a virgin. It follows that any nonvirgin female is gravely damaged goods. The theory is that any woman who is raped is at fault because she in some way allured the man into raping her -- that's a reason why women are enshrouded to a greater or total extent in some hypertraditionalist cultures -- or did not fight back hard enough and was vaginally penetrable because she really wanted it. Better to die resisting than be raped. One reason that a percentage of American theocons believe in this perversion is because it's right there in Bible. "If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered" he must marry the girl (Deuteronomy 28). Note how the Holy Book slyly implies she really wanted it with the line about if "they are discovered." This is in accord with the fear that many women are by nature sneaky seductresses who cannot help enticing men into sexual sin, i.e. sluts. The deeper premise is that women are the slave property of men. First of her father, then of her husband -- that's the other reason why women are enshrouded in some hypertraditionalist societies, can't have other guys checking out the property. Since the rapist has ruined the father's chattel, and because no other man will want her, the rapist is stuck with her. The Biblical god could have done the right thing and instructed that the man who rapes a women is to be severely punished while the woman who is raped should be treated with respect and sympathy and be entirely suitable for marriage and so on, but that opportunity to improve societies was lost.
That the Bible was written by sexual perverts is made all more obvious when it says that if "a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death -- the girl because she was in town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man's wife (Deuteronomy 22). Again note the emphasis on the woman not doing all she can to avoid the encounter, followed by a vicious orgiastic punishment that gives the "moralists" their perverse pleasure.
Or how about this one. "When you go to war against your enemies and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. If you are not pleased with her, let her go wherever she wishes. You must not sell her or treat her as a slave, since you have dishonored her" (Deuteronomy 21). Now that's just plain rape and forced marriage in which women are property in a godly slave society. (Many, even some liberals, try to pass the dark side of the Bible off as the beliefs of ignorant tribal peoples, but this does not change the fact that their sex policies were as depraved as the slavery they practiced.)
There is Deuteronomy 20 where a woman whose hubby dies must not marry outside the family but should hitch up with her late husband's brother, but you have gotten the point.
What the Bible does not mention is abortion. It's not in there. Not a word.
Akin and his fundamentalist company (many of whom want the government to be officially Christian) have read the sexually perverted Bible, and as believers proudly accept as true those parts that they agree with -- they especially adore the condemnation of same sex sex. Since god says the woman who is raped must marry her rapist, it follows that the woman who is impregnated by her rapist should have no problem bearing the child. After all, god provides. Say a woman really is somehow raped, and that despite her complete horror and revulsion he somehow manages to achieve penetration and ejaculates into her reproductive system. Not to worry. In 1980 James Holmes explained in a letter arguing for constitutionally banning abortion that concern "for rape victims is a red herring because conceptions from rape occur with approximately same frequency as snowfall in Miami." Holmes was later made a federal judge by Bush II. In 1988 Pennsylvania GOP state representative opined that the chance that a woman who is raped will become pregnant are "one in millions and millions and millions," because the trauma of the experience causes women to "secrete a certain secretion" that acts as a spermicide. But wait, there's more. In 1995
What "medical authorities" are Aldridge as well as Akin referring to?
When the Akin statement emerged, many on the left, E. J. Dionne Jr. among them, thought that Akin was daffy when he said that there were doctors who knew that rape does not get women heavy with child. Akin is daffy, but not about the doctor thing. In 1999, president of the National Right to Life Committee, John Willke MD, detailed the theory that an important reason real rape victims rarely get pregnant is "physical trauma". To get and stay pregnant a women's body must produce a very sophisticated mix of hormones. Hormone production is controlled by a part of the brain that is easily influenced by emotions. There's no greater emotional trauma that can be experienced by a woman than an assault rape. This can radically upset her possibility of ovulation, fertilization, implantation and even nurturing of a pregnancy. So what further percentage reduction in pregnancy will this cause. No one knows, but this factor certainly cuts this last figure by a least 50% and probably more." After the Akin outing of this quack medical opinion, Willke came up with this variation on his theme; rape "is a traumatic thing. She's, shall we say, she's uptight. She is frightened, tight and so on. And sperm, if deposited in her vagina, are less likely to be able to fertilize. The tubes are spastic." Please note that Willke is making this all up. You can tell because in the last century he said that it was hormones that protected women from the rapist's DNA, but now he says that the tubing is smart enough to somehow contract to keep the nasty stuff out. And it is not just Willke. American Family Association medical analyst Bryan Fescher is backing Willke up.
That's what Akin who is a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology meant when he said that doctors say rape induced pregnancies are rare. It's right wing MDs who know that your founders established a Christian nation say so. And for theocons that is all that counts. That there is no actual medical evidence that rape suppresses pregnancy compared to consensual intercourse is no way important. Godly doctors know that their perfect loving creator could not be so cruel as to allow women who have been attacked to get pregnant, so they invent some medical sounding statements to that effect, and all true Christians can and must agree. What those secular "mainstream" experts say is of no import, they don't know how god always does the right thing. It follows that few if any women who get pregnant were actually raped. That means she must have been OK with it to some extant and did not do what she and her body could have to avoid the intercourse. In theocon land a women who decides to go along with being raped to spare herself injury and death and get legal justice later was complicit. It then follows that she bears some responsibility for her pregnancy and has no right to discontinue the inconvenience. Since truly good women do not get pregnant via rape, then it follows there is no need to allow escape clauses that women who are "raped" can get abortions. In other words, the desperate zealotry to make any abortion immoral and unobtainable has driven them to devise a faith-based medical belief that eliminates the possibility that rape can cause pregnancy.
There are those who dare disagree. That would be sane, knowledgeable, science-based folk. According to the official crime stats, around 300,000 women are raped in a year. It should come as no surprise that of those about 30,000 become pregnant according to objective research venues such as the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (this is in line with expected pregnancy rates during unprotected intercourse). But of course as far as the hard-line anti-choice folks are concerned those pregnancies could not have been the result of true rape because women who have been truly violated do not get pregnant because the ideal god makes sure they don't suffer from the assault. Ergo the pregnant women cannot be the victims of rape. This rejection of reality is the same illogic as the theocons' belief that mere mortal humans cannot be raising the temperature of the planet because only the Lord Creator God can control the climate of an entire world that only He could create. Pay no attention to what the great bulk of the scientific community says about these things.
Theocons are not, however, consistent about this. The other line they offer is that when a women is pregnant from a rape, she as a supplicant person of god should and must understand that this a gift from her creator, a way that he in his loving wisdom is compensating her for her suffering of the rape with a wonderful baby she can and is obliged to love for the rest of her life.
That sounds patronizing because it is. The theocon anti-abortionists are working very hard at placing women back in their proper traditional place. As second class citizens with extremely restricted reproductive rights that must bow to the demands of the religious right who are the only followers of the perfect god that they not have sex outside marriage, use contraceptives, or have abortions, and if they do that be treated as murderers. Theocons do not consider women mature adults able to make sound decisions in consultation with their doctors as to whether to have or continue a pregnancy, they must be protected by big government from their own sinful foolishness, and from the predatory abortion industry that women are too gullible or sinful to stay away from. That's why anti-abortionists want the government to make sure women who are slutty enough to have an abortion first see an ultrasound of the fetus. They figure prochoice women are children who have to be taken by their hands and be educated by the god-fearing and wise right-wingers against terminating their pregnancy.
And the cynical hypocrisy of the right is astounding. Take Limbaugh who denounces women who deign to have sex outside of Holy Matrimony as sluts while his mainly male audience eats it up. Has Rush been chaste all his life, engaging in sexual activity only with his four wives? That's a huge stretch. What about all those slut despising men in his audience? Surveys show that while a third of Americans say sex out of wedlock is immoral, 95% have it. How about the man who verbally denounced the desperate women who have been helped by Ms. Hoffman as sluts? But hypocrisy is not just about theocon men being sexually active outside marriage while denouncing liberal females for doing it. Take Ann Coulter. She is middle aged, never been married. She is severely anti-abortion (and denounced Akin for putting the Repub victory in peril by not getting out of the race), but there is not the slightest evidence she is anywhere close trying to be chaste, or thinks folks should be. Far from it, on Rivera Live she said, "Let's say I go out every night. I meet a guy and have sex with him. Good for me. I'm not married." On the almost certainly correct presumption that Coulter is as right wingers like to say a fornicator it must also be presumed that she is using contraceptives of some sort or another. This is not a problem per se. Indeed good for her. What is a problem is that the profornicating Coulter, far from being denounced by Limbaugh and theocons in general as being the slut that she is by their standards, is instead a leading heroine of her fellow travelers -- she is even a sex symbol for young male conserves -- who are pushing for abstinence only education and the nonuse of the contraceptives that make nonmarital sex practical. The religious right has no shame. Really, they don't.
1 | 2