POLS UPDATE: FOX 31’s Eli Stokols drives home the local angle:
Congressman Paul Ryan sponsored House Resolution 3, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act”, which, for a time, included Akin-like language limiting the definition of rape and incest in certain cases as it relates to whether a woman could get an abortion with federal Medicaid funding.
Ryan wasn’t alone.
Three of four Colorado Republicans in Congress also added their names to H.R. 3 as co-sponsors: Congressman Cory Gardner of Yuma, Congressman Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs and Congressman Mike Coffman of Aurora. [Pols emphasis]
Under H.R. 3, Republicans had proposed that the rape exemption be limited to “forcible rape,” effectively ruling out federal assistance for abortions in many rape cases, including instances of statutory rape, many of which are non-forcible…
Mitt Romney is distancing himself from the “legitimate rape” remarks by Missouri candidate for the US Senate, Todd Akin (R-MO).
“Congressman’s Akin comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable and, frankly, wrong,” Romney said. “Like millions of other Americans, we found them to be offensive.”
Oddly enough, Mitt Romney remains somehow unoffended by his running mate, who worked with Akin to introduce the term “forcible rape” to the legislative lexicon last year.
Federal law prevents federal Medicaid funds and similar programs from paying for abortions. Yet the law also contains an exception for women who are raped. The bill Akin and Ryan cosponsored would have narrowed this exception, providing that only pregnancies arising from “forcible rape” may be terminated. Because the primary target of Akin and Ryan’s effort are Medicaid recipients – patients who are unlikely to be able to afford an abortion absent Medicaid funding – the likely impact of this bill would have been forcing many rape survivors to carry their rapist’s baby to term.
Just like on race, poverty, labor, and immigration, the GOP nominee’s policy on women’s rights goes something like this: Act on the basis of your most regressive beliefs, but if any of you idiots slip up and talk about those beliefs, we’ll skewer the guy who said it. But if you can shut up and legislate, you’re on the presidential ticket.
Let’s get one thing straight, here: There is not ONE piece of legislation regarding rape that Akin would push as a Senator which Ryan would not cheerfully support as Vice President. Ryan believes that abortion should only be legal in cases where it is the only way to save the mother’s life. So what’s “inexcusable” about Akin?
Well, that he said it without coating it in sugary language about the rights of the fetus. His words were inexcusable–not his proposed treatment of women, which is exactly the same as Romney’s and his running mate’s.
Here’s something to give you the shivers:
Many United States rape statutes formerly precluded the prosecution of spouses, including estranged or even legally separated couples. In 1975, South Dakota removed this exception. In 1993, North Carolina became the last state to remove the spousal exemption. However, as of 1999, 33 of 50 U.S. states regarded spousal rape as a lesser crime. The perpetrator may be charged with related crimes such as assault, battery, or spousal abuse. There are other criminal charges that may be inapplicable to married couples. For example, in the U.S., there is a marriage exemption to the charge of statutory rape even if one of the spouses is under the age of consent in the jurisdiction where the sexual act takes place.
Let’s talk about those “legitimate” rapes. What could be harder to prove as a “legitimate rape” than spousal rape, which isn’t even legally defined as “as bad” as other rapes in some US states? Even if anti-abortion laws contain rape exceptions, what do you think the chances are that a woman could prove in a court of law that her lawfully wedded husband impregnated her when he raped her, not on some other occasion when they had consensual sex? And do so before reaching the point of viability outside the womb, when she couldn’t abort anyway?
Mitt Romney isn’t offended that Akin would take women back to a day not so long ago–circa 1993, in fact–when all a husband had to do to win the “Should we have kids now?” argument with a reluctant wife was rape her while she was ovulating.
He’s just offended that Akin gave the game away before Romney and Ryan were in office to actually do it.