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I underestimated the impact of Mourdock’s rape comment

Having now witnessed firsthand the effect Mourdock’s quip has on women, I can say I misjudged the profoundly offensive nature of his warped view and by extension the views of other GOP lawmakers. One women tried to explain to me why she could never explain it to me. Her point was I could never imagine the full effect, the wrenching almost supernatural and creepy punch in the gut, those words conveyed. Even if I had been raped by a man she correctly noted, “You can’t get pregnant, you don’t even have to worry about getting pregnant, so that wouldn’t be the half of it.”

Another friend, one I’ve had spirited discussions with and who is, or was, a lifetime moderate Republican, typical low info voter, who was born and bred in the great state of Texas, reacted thusly, “That’s all you needed to show me.” When I tried to point out other conservatives who had said similar things she waved me off saying “No, really, that’s all I needed to know”. Both of them and two others who saw it had visible anger and determination burning in their eyes. In a couple of cases, when I added that teaparty backed House members have been systematically destroying the government programs that would ease the financial and medical burden of a rape pregnancy, the reaction included a low, almost feral growl and a panicked look of shock.

That one statement by Richard Mourdock, what he really thought and what he would try to enact into the law of the land, crystalized the political battlescape for these women and probably thousands and thousands of others. We have 12 days to connect the dots between Romney’s faux modernism and religious fanatics like Mourdock for any remaining voters who haven’t seen it or aren’t sure what it’s all about.

Let’s be clear: if Romney wins the SCOTUS make up will change and the new majority will strike down Roe. Thanks to zealots elected to statehouses and governor’s mansions, we now know the fallout from that will go way beyond elective abortion. Changing the definition of conception from implantation to the magical undectable moment when a lawmaker says sperm meets egg, combined with restrictions based on that hazy point of conception, would directly impact pretty much every women in the country at some point in her life. Hormone replacement therapy made harder or impossible to get, IUD’s gone, in virtro fertilization threatened, stem cell research curtailed, hormonal birth cotnrol restricted, a generation of unwanted, unwed pregnancies blooms while the healthcare bill and the few prorgams that would at least assist with a few of the expenses incurred, are all repealed. Just treating a necrotic ectopic pregnancy would take, what, some special wavier signed by a juddge while the state considers an appeal? How long would that take? Hours, days, next week, next month?

I don’t know if that makes this the most important election for you, but it makes it pretty damn important for other people in your life. Because a Romney win with a teaparty wingnut congress is a fucking catastrophe on a glide path. It means mass suffering and preventable death for the female population, starting in many cases at the age of 11 or 12 years-old and lasting for life, the daily and emergency medical care of millions held in the hands of male state appointed judges, male dominated police, and mostly male zealous mega-pastors. And these jackasses say we’re being hyperbolic when we call his right-wing assault a War on Women?

And by the way, disinterested fellas, if that doesn’t hit home, just remember boys, the last time birth control and women’s health were medically and legally somewhere between gray and taboo, there was no such thing as DNA paternity testing or court ordered child support.

Comments

  1. StevoR says

    I cannot believe this man could be elected.

    Either of man.

    Sadly, I could be wrong. Hope I’m not.

  2. says

    And by the way, disinterested fellas, if that doesn’t hit home, just remember boys, the last time birth control and women’s health were medically and legally somewhere between gray and taboo, there was no such thing as DNA paternity testing or court ordered child support.

    Why do I have a feeling there are some Republicans who are trying to think of ways to make paternity testing or suing for child support illegal when a woman is raped? Would just reinforce the stereotype.

  3. John Kruger says

    There are certainly some things about Obama’s platform that deeply trouble me, but Romney does not have a different stance on any of those things. The only points were they do differ make me fall into the Obama camp across the board.

    Polls indicate this election is still very close. I tremble for the fate of this country, and cringe that our population creates politicians that can even stay remotely relevant on stances like this.

  4. iknklast says

    I saw a headline this morning that Romney was closing the gap with Obama with women. That must makes me say WTF?

    As for court-ordered child support, that’s probably on their radar for getting rid of, too. After all, it’s God’s baby, let God take care of it, right?

  5. Nepenthe says

    My state has an abortion ban already on the books waiting for the overturn of Roe. This election has me worried sick. I’m starting to get angry at the people who I know, liberals, who are voting for Romney because “Obama didn’t do enough”. What kind of bassackward reasoning is that?

  6. scorinth says

    @Nepenthe:
    I’m a liberal and I’m voting for Johnson for a few reasons:
    1. Indiana is going to Romney anyway. If Obama *needs* Indiana, he’s already lost. So me voting for *anybody* is meaningless, really. (Go-go-gadget disenfranchisement-by-state-politics!)
    2. If I was in a swing state, I would vote for Obama because he’s better than Romney, but I cannot truly “support” him for many of the same reasons Ed doesn’t.
    3. As long as voters are stuck with only two parties, we’re stuck with choosing the lesser of two evils, which inevitably degrades the potential options – since they’ll never have to be good, just not-as-bad. See things like democratic support for INSANE military spending and warrant-less wiretapping for examples.

    So, it actually makes a lot of sense for people who are *actually* liberals to not support Obama. Not everybody, of course. We still need him to beat Romney. But enough to show that we’re not happy with these fake choices.

  7. Shawn Smith says

    Rachel Maddow devoted almost all of her show last night to how this hard right wing has taken over the Republican party and how these kinds of views are not out of place for Republicans today. She also noted that Governor Romney actually took some time to endorse this, and only this, Senate candidate. So while Romney says that he’s willing to consider exceptions of rape and incest when it comes to abortion, his actions indicate he really doesn’t mean it.

  8. Shawn Smith says

    It means mass suffering and preventable death for the female population, starting in many cases at the age of 11 or 12 years-old and lasting for life, the daily and emergency medical care of millions held in the hands of male state appointed judges, male dominated police, and mostly male zealous mega-pastors.

    “Yeah, but that’s just for those icky brown / poor / not-like-me people. So who cares? If my white girlfriend has a problem, I’ll just take her to Canada or Mexico to give her the treatment she needs.”

    My guess is that would be the response from those assholes (c.f. Santorum, or that other candidate who tried to get his mistress to get an abortion.)

  9. says

    Where the balzes duid that unwanted ‘of’ come from?

    You were going to type “either of them” and changed your mind but your fingers were ahead of you. I love when that kind of stuff happens; it’s such a great illustration of what weird little meat robots we are. :)

  10. Rabidtreeweasel says

    As a former Mormon who was raped, pregnant, denied the right to abort by my family and subsequently went through a painful miscarriage at a young age and now live with HPV I’d like to say fuck Mr Murdock and his abusive god simulacrum.

  11. says

    Scorinth my fellow blogressives and I have struggled with the lessor of two evils issue for three elections now. The only thing we have found that has any effect at all is to primary them. You can scare a given pol into some of the behavoir you are looking for with a legit primary threat. But after the primary, the choice as it stands seems a no brainer to me. We can talk amongst ourselves as atheists or scientists about framing all we want, we can talk partisan, bipartisan, about changing the system grandly vs the benefits of focusing on a small set of purely legislative issues.

    But my experience is little of that internal discussion amounts to much if we do not have people in power who can at the very least stop our opponents with vetos or filibusters, and better yet write ledge, get it voted on, and get it signed. That’s a proven historical path to getting our policies preferences advanced and less helpful or damaging ideas slowed or halted. It’s that stair step, halting, frustrating and at times soul crushing political process, repeated over time — like minor variaitons in phenotype — that can and have culiminated into really dramatic progress and even eventually breathtaking change.

  12. says

    I would further point out that if Romney is elected, then our general capacity to protest, or organize, or do any kind of resistance, will be severely diminished because activism requires a bare minimum of economic and physical security. If large swaths of the population are proccupied with basic survival then they’re not going to be able to come out and protest or whatever needs doing. Not contributing a vote for Obama in a state where it makes a difference is cruel, short-sighted, and destructive to the causes that liberals champion.

  13. Rob says

    Given the impact the USA has on the rest of the world it’s about time the rest of us get a vote on your President!

  14. naturalcynic says

    The probable reversal of Roe v Wade with a Rmoney election will mean that the legality of abortion will be reverted to the states. At this time, I don’t think that it could be made illegal in about 20 states, the ones that are considered “blue”. It will become illegal almost immediately in 20-25, with the rest up to the current poliotical situations, where the reality of the problems with making abortion illegal might force the legislatures to keep it legal, but with a few more restrictions. In this case, a woman in one of the states where it is illegal could simply travel to another state to have an abortion. In fact, there will probably be some “abortion specials” advertised for cheap flights. This will be a hardship for many women, impossible for some and fairly easy for probably the majority.
    In order to make abortion illegal throughout the country, something like the Eighteenth Amendment and the Volstead Act would have to be adopted. A new amendment would mean a constitutional definition of life beginning at conception would have to be in the text and that would have to pass muster according to established procedures. This would almost certainly fail to get the necessary strong majorities. Without a constitutional amendment, any act passed by Congress [similar to Volstead] would be unenforceable.
    So, it would then be an area of contention nationally and within states for the neat future.
    **standard IANAL disclaimer

  15. Steve Caldwell says

    The probable reversal of Roe v Wade with a Rmoney election will mean that the legality of abortion will be reverted to the states. At this time, I don’t think that it could be made illegal in about 20 states, the ones that are considered “blue”. It will become illegal almost immediately in 20-25, with the rest up to the current poliotical situations, where the reality of the problems with making abortion illegal might force the legislatures to keep it legal, but with a few more restrictions. In this case, a woman in one of the states where it is illegal could simply travel to another state to have an abortion.

    If an anti-abortion “red state” passed laws that gave fetuses legal “personhood” protections, what would stop them from keeping pregnant women from leaving the red state’s jurisdiction for a pro-choice “blue state” where an abortion could happen?

    Could they require women leaving their states to sign legal paperwork pledging not to get out-of-state abortions that are legally binding and prosecute the woman if she returned not pregnant for violating the legally binding agreement?

  16. left0ver1under says

    Woof says:

    So, I’m curious: Does this clown Mourdock think we should have a fire department?

    No, just user fees. You’ll still have to pay taxes into your fire department, but you won’t get protection or service unless you pay an extra fee of a few hundred per year. Thus, only the wealthy have protection from the fire department. And the same will be true of police departments.

    (And cult buildings, but the public will have to unwillingly pay into those too – of course, that only applies to christian cult buildings, not others….)

  17. left0ver1under says

    Rob says:

    Given the impact the USA has on the rest of the world it’s about time the rest of us get a vote on your President!

    I’m for it. The US “thinks” it has a “right” to interfere in the electoral process in other countries (e.g. Iran in 1953, Nicaragua, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, England in 1968, Greece, South Korea, Philippines, Palestine, Cuba, etc.) whether by opposing or overthrowing democracy, or even preventing democracy from happening.

    Why shouldn’t the rest of the world have that same right? Or at least, let stable multiparty democracies do it.

  18. mithrandir says

    Steve Caldeell @18:

    Romney and his Republican Congress (what a terrifying name for a band!) would probably pass a law allowing forced-birth states to prosecute residents who get an abortion out-of-state. A Fugitive Abortionist Act, if you will.

  19. davidjanes says

    So, it actually makes a lot of sense for people who are *actually* liberals to not support Obama. Not everybody, of course. We still need him to beat Romney. But enough to show that we’re not happy with these fake choices.

    Even if Stein were elected, those policies would continue as there would be a veto-proof majority in favor of them. The problem with third parties in this country is that they don’t exist, except every four years for another Don Quixote “statement” about our lack of choices.

    If the Greens were running serious campaigns for House and Senate seats, along with slates for state offices, we might indeed get the choice that you want, but that is very hard work: work that neither the current Libertarian nor Green Parties seem to have the stomach for. Instead we get these ego boost sessions every Presidential campaign.

  20. ema says

    In this case, a woman in one of the states where it is illegal could simply travel to another state to have an abortion.

    You are uninformed. There are already laws in place making it a crime to assist the movement of some pregnant patients across state borders for the purpose of abortion.

    The nanosecond a state bans abortion, these laws will be extended to apply to all pregnant patients. And since these women will not be minors, it will be either 1) travel outside state borders forbidden x pregnancy duration, or 2) forced intrusive exams by state law enforcement upon departure, return, and at regular intervals afterwards until delivery.

  21. says

    Sinclair Lewis… “When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped up in the American flag and heralded as a plea for liberty and preservation of the constitution.”.

    Hold onto your hats, ladies and gentlemen – you are in for a wild ride.

  22. monimonika says

    1) travel outside state borders forbidden x pregnancy duration, or 2) forced intrusive exams by state law enforcement upon departure, return, and at regular intervals afterwards until delivery.

    1) So if a willingly-pregnant woman wants/needs to travel out of state to get to a hospital for better/specialized medical care, she’s going to have to go through weeks-long paperwork and red tape to be allowed to travel. Even if it means the pregnancy will end in miscarriage if the woman is not allowed to leave in time. …Pro-Life!

    2) Of course, any miscarriage will be prosecuted and despairing women will fill the jail cells while their kids suffer without their moms. …Family First!

  23. Bill Openthalt says

    The nanosecond a state bans abortion, these laws will be extended to apply to all pregnant patients. And since these women will not be minors, it will be either 1) travel outside state borders forbidden x pregnancy duration, or 2) forced intrusive exams by state law enforcement upon departure, return, and at regular intervals afterwards until delivery.

    Isn’t that a tad extreme? I really don’t see states erecting border posts on all roads. Pregnancy isn’t obvious for quite a while, so how would the border guards (with crosses on their uniforms, of course) determine if someone is pregnant? Maybe women should get get menstruation certificates (signed by their husbands or a male MD), and only those with recent certificates can cross state borders. Let’s all welcome the Balkanised North America of Heinlein’s “Friday”.

    That being said, Mourdock’s statement is so unfathomably retrograde he and his ilk might indeed push the USA into the Dark Ages.

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