The Republican Party has sent itself to rape sensitivity school.
And it may have added new urgency to a training program that’s already being launched by an anti-abortion group — the Susan B. Anthony list — to keep candidates and lawmakers from continually making the same kind of comments that may have helped ruin Republicans’ chances of winning the Senate.
I agree the GOP needs a course in Rape Sensitivity, but that’s not what this course is shaping up to be. Before we move onto course content I have to deal with this statement:
Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said the lawmakers are falling for a trap set by proponents of abortion rights who want to focus the debate on extremes such as rape instead of other abortions.
Nonsense. This issue is 100% Republican created. Republicans moved the abortion debate. They were the ones whose platform on abortion excluded the exceptions of rape, incest, and health of the mother.
Even as the Republican establishment continued to call for Representative Todd Akin of Missouri to drop out of his Senate race because of his comments on rape and abortion, Republicans approved platform language on Tuesday calling for a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion with no explicit exceptions for cases of rape or incest.
“Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed,” said the draft platform language approved Tuesday, which was first reported by CNN. “We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”
If there was a trap, it was set by Republicans. Just like Rick Santorum made contraception an issue, Republicans framed the debate over rape and abortions.
Back to GOP Rape Sensitivity school. What exactly are they teaching?
The training would have to “educate politicians on subjects that are absolutely taboo, except to say, ‘I sympathize with the pain of anyone who goes through fill-in-the-blank,’” she (Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser) said.
Madden’s (Republican strategist) advice is simply to stop talking.
“Our pro-life values as a party should be framed in terms of the culture of life,” he said. “It’s easy enough to do that. It shouldn’t be conflated with other issues.”
So… Rape Sensitivity class is going to teach Republicans a canned response to a “taboo” subject and to stop talking. Understanding rape? Not so much.
Taboo is an interesting word choice, which tells you exactly how Republicans will be trained to discuss rape.
1: forbidden to profane use or contact because of what are held to be dangerous supernatural powers2 a : banned on grounds of morality or taste <the subject is taboo>b : banned as constituting a risk <the area beyond is taboo, still alive with explosives — Robert Leckie>
This class has nothing to do with understanding rape and being able to address the topic with intelligence and sensitivity. It’s about deflection. It’s about hiding what they really believe. And everyone knows what they really believe – some girls just rape easy, no pregnancy from legitimate rape since the female body has a way of shutting that whole thing down, pregnancy from rape is God’s will, etc.
Toss those Personhood bills into the mix… Oh wait! What’s this?
Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) wasted no time adding his name to the list of 25 other Republican representatives in the reintroduction of a bill that would redefine life beginning at the moment of fertilization. A personhood amendment, as they are commonly known, has been introduced in the last several congressional cycles. This bill, introduced on January 3, 2013 by Mr. Broun (R-Ga.), is called the Sanctity of Human Life Act. The text of the bill declares:
“The right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being, and is the paramount and most fundamental right of a person; and … the life of each human being begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent, irrespective of sex, health, function or disability, defect, stage of biological development, or condition of dependency, at which time every human being shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood.
“ … the Congress affirms that the Congress, each State, the District of Columbia, and all United States territories have the authority to protect the lives of all human beings residing in its respective jurisdictions.“
January 3, 2013? Seriously, watch what they do, not what they say. Republicans have no intention of changing their ways when it comes to rape.
Personhood amendments/bills do not make any exceptions for rape, incest or the health of the mother, but, from now on, when Republicans are questioned on this expect to hear ‘I sympathize with the pain of anyone who goes through fill-in-the-blank’ and stop conflating personhood and abortion with other issues.
Personally, I don’t think Republicans will be able to shut up about rape. They have already defined what truly legitimate rape is:
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.”
And there you have it. Of course, there’s more examples of this mindset, and my bet is that when it comes to the subject of rape Republicans will keep talking. They won’t be able to help themselves.