I was cooking dinner and listening to a rerun of Tom Ashbrook’s On Point when I heard Mary Kate Cary say that she agreed with the President that rape was rape, but did not agree with him that male legislators were making health care decisions for women and that they should just let women decide for themselves. The President’s exact words from a report from CBS News
“Rape is rape,” Mr. Obama told reporters at the daily White House briefing Monday. “And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we’re talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people and certainly doesn’t make sense to me.”
Mr. Obama added that Akin’s remarks underscore “why we shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women.”
The president acknowledged that his GOP rival Mitt Romney and other Republicans have distanced themselves from Akin’s statements. However, he said, “The underlying notion that we should be making decisions on behalf of women for their health care decisions, or qualifying ‘forcible rape’ versus ‘non-forcible rape’ — those are broader issues….between me and the other party.”
Mary Kate Cary, a former speech writer for President George H. W. Bush, went on to confuse the fact that women probably do make more decisions about health care treatment than men since they are still most likely to take the children to the doctor, with the male legislators setting boundaries on what kind of treatment women can actually choose. (Thanks to my husband for helping me clarify that.)
So what does all this mean? It means that Todd Akin, Paul Ryan and the Republican platform are imposing their religious ideas on everyone and removing choice. And here I thought that they were the party of small government! What with banning abortion in all situations and/or requiring vaginal ultrasounds before an abortion, I think they are actually intruding in health care decisions. At the same time, none of them cares about what happens to the child after this forced birth because there will be no available safety net for her or for her mother under the Ryan/Romney cuts to the safety net in the budget combined with the proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act. There will also be no way for women to prevent pregnancies as there will be no contraception available under the ACA and no funding for Planned Parenthood.
Todd Akin and all his pals who don’t believe that a woman can get pregnant during rape, make that forcible rape, may be on the extreme edge of an extreme edge but they do represent the majority view of the Republican party. This from the New York Times this morning
As an orator, Representative Todd Akin of Missouri may stand out for his clumsiness. But as a legislator, Mr. Akin has a record on abortion that is largely indistinguishable from those of most of his Republican House colleagues, who have viewed restricting abortion rights as one of their top priorities.
It is an agenda that has enjoyed the support of House leaders, including Speaker John A. Boehner and Representative Eric Cantor, the majority leader, who has called anti-abortion measures “obviously very important in terms of the priorities we set out initially in our pledge to America.” It became inextricably linked to the near-shutdown of the federal government last year when an agreement to keep the government open was reached only after it was linked to a measure restricting abortion in the District of Columbia.
Even as Congressional Republicans, including Mr. Boehner, denounced Mr. Akin’s remark that victims of “legitimate rape” were able to somehow prevent pregnancy, an agenda to roll back abortion is one that House Republicans have largely moved in step with.
In an anti-abortion measure once sponsored by Mr. Akin, Mr. Ryan and scores of other Republican lawmakers, an exemption was made for victims of “forcible” rape, though that word was later removed.
On Tuesday, Republicans approved platform language for next week’s nominating convention that calls for a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion with no explicit exceptions for cases of rape or incest. That is a view more restrictive than Mr. Romney’s, who has said that he supports exceptions to allow abortions in cases of rape.
Ryan center and Akin to the right in a photograph by J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press
So Democrats can now keep tying Paul Ryan, Todd Akin and the Republican Platform together while Mitt, as usual, tries to dance away from taking a position. After all as Republican Party Chair, Reince Priebus said “this is the platform of the Republican Party, it is not the platform of Mitt Romney.” I titled this “Akin, Ryan, Romney and Women’s Health Care” but if they have their way, women won’t have health care. There is already a large gender gap. We can enjoy watching it get bigger.