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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » "Legitimate rape" and biological improbabilities. (Page 1)

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Author Topic: "Legitimate rape" and biological improbabilities.
Bella Bee
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This guy (AKA Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for Missouri) reckons that it's biologically almost impossible for women to get pregnant from rape and therefore abortion is unjustified.

Anyone know where he's getting this from? Have you heard this idea before? I've heard some interesting anti-abortion arguments before but this one sort of takes the biscuit.

I'm absolutely not trying to start a debate on abortion - (I think we all know where we stand on that one - and no-one's going to win that argument!) So please don't go there. I'm just kind of stunned.

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Synesthesia
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That.. Is so ridiculous.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Bella Bee:
Anyone know where he's getting this from? Have you heard this idea before?

- 1 part The South
- 1 part American Conservatism
- Shake and serve with a wedge of issue

These are people who think evolutionary theory is vile lies and are cooked to a golden brown in a sort of Gothardite regressive pipe-dream that doesn't like to understand woman as anything other than obedient breeder for the God-ordained Head of Household. No, it's really not all that much hyperbole. It is an ignorant, backwards culture that is guaranteed to leave people with this and multiple other misapprehensions about human sexuality.

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Marek
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Good thing women don't know they can just turn on their natural anti-baby shields at will. Trojan's stock would take a pretty bad hit.
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dkw
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Yes, I have heard the argument that the stress of rape produces hormones that block ovulation and therefore it is impossible to get pregnant from rape. I first heard it almost 24 years ago in a persuasive speech in a college speech class. I didn't find it persuasive at that time either.
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capaxinfiniti
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This isn't a view widely held by American conservatives.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Originally posted by capaxinfiniti:
This isn't a view widely held by American conservatives.

Which will keep Republicans away from him in droves this election, I'm sure, given how he has exposed a profoundly stupid belief at best on a major issue.
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capaxinfiniti
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
Originally posted by capaxinfiniti:
This isn't a view widely held by American conservatives.

Which will keep Republicans away from him in droves this election, I'm sure, given how he has exposed a profoundly stupid belief at best on a major issue.
If they are single-issue voters, perhaps.
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Rakeesh
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Oh, sure.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by capaxinfiniti:
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
Originally posted by capaxinfiniti:
This isn't a view widely held by American conservatives.

Which will keep Republicans away from him in droves this election, I'm sure, given how he has exposed a profoundly stupid belief at best on a major issue.
If they are single-issue voters, perhaps.
Stupidity isn't a single issue problem.
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Lyrhawn
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It's worth noting that he's been polling ahead of Claire McCaskill since March, and the most recent poll has him up over 10 points.
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kmbboots
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The icing on this particular...cake is that Rep. Akin is on the House Science and Technology Committee.
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Bella Bee
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quote:
Yes, I have heard the argument that the stress of rape produces hormones that block ovulation and therefore it is impossible to get pregnant from rape. I first heard it almost 24 years ago in a persuasive speech in a college speech class. I didn't find it persuasive at that time either.
So maybe it's an older political/religious idea, or an old wives tale, or something. It seems a pretty dangerous concept to be still out floating around out there, if people like him think that any woman who says she got pregnant through rape is a liar.

quote:
Rep. Akin is on the House Science and Technology Committee.
Perhaps one of the other members could have a quiet word with him about the birds and the bees?
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
The icing on this particular...cake is that Rep. Akin is on the House Science and Technology Committee.

Well of course he is.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by capaxinfiniti:
If they are single-issue voters, perhaps.

so because they're more 'nuanced' they'll give it a pass, of course.

~the south~

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Samprimary
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"God's Little Shield: A Short History of Republican No-Pregnancy-From-Rape claims"

As I post this it is important to note that Akin has not yet disavowed the no-pregnancy-from-rape theory, only so far said that he 'misspoke.'

quote:
Rep. Todd Akin is far from the only conservative to suggest women rarely get pregnant from rape. He’s not even the first lawmaker to make the assertion (which flies in the face of medical evidence).

A search of news archives by TPM shows a short history of Republican politicians espousing the idea of a biological defense against pregnancy in cases of rape, though there’s little consistency in their explanations of how such a mechanism works.

In 1988, Stephen Freind, a state representative in Delaware, defended his no-exceptions anti-abortion stance — as Akin was doing Sunday — by claiming that it was virtually impossible for a woman who is raped to become pregnant.

“The odds are one in millions and millions and millions,” Freind said in a debate in March of that year. “And there is a physical reason for that.”

Freind said that women possess a “certain secretion” that kills sperm.

“Rape, obviously, is a traumatic experience. When that traumatic experience is undergone, a woman secretes a certain secretion, which has a tendency to kill sperm.”

Freind promised to provide scientific documentation of his theory and told a cheering crowd later that month, “If you’re expecting me to back off, the answer is no.”

Seven years later, a state legislator in North Carolina championed the same theory. Henry Aldridge, a Republican state representative, argued for the elimination of a public fund to help poor women pay for abortions by using a similar argument.

“The facts show that people who are raped — who are truly raped — the juices don’t flow, the body functions don’t work and they don’t get pregnant,” Aldridge told the House Appropriations Committee. “Medical authorities agree that this is a rarity, if ever.”

Aldridge was addressing the committee to apologize for “earlier remarks implying that victims of rape or incest are sexually promiscuous,” according to an Associated Press report at the time.

Aldridge, like Freind, did not back down. “To get pregnant, it takes a little cooperation. And there ain’t much cooperation in a rape,” he said.

In 1998, Republican Arkansas state Rep. Fay Boozman botched his own Senate bid against Sen. Blanche Lincoln when he said at a rally that pregnancy resulting from rape was rare. He denied having used the phrase “God’s little shield,” according to the Washington Post.

The next year, Mike Huckabee, then governor of Arkansas, appointed his good friend Boozman to lead the state’s Health Department. Upon becoming health director, Boozman apologized for the comments, saying they were “not statistically based.”

Huckabee, who opposes abortion even in cases of rape, endorsed Akin in the Missouri primary.

Akin, who earlier this month won the Republican Senate nomination in Missouri, said he “misspoke” in a follow-up statement, but he did not disavow the substance of his comments except to acknowledge that rape can in fact result in pregnancy.

One abortion-rights activist said publicizing the false theory can cause even further trauma to rape victims.

“The first time I heard it or saw anything about it it was in a chat room,” Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, told TPM. O’Neill recalled that a woman in the chat room said she “struggled to deal with the shame of her sexual assault because she had heard that she was not supposed to get pregnant and that her body sort of had betrayed her.”

“It was a number of years ago,” O’Neill said, “But I just remember thinking, ‘Oh my God that poor woman, where did she hear this?’”


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Rakeesh
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I would be willing to entertain the likelihood that this isn't a common belief among Republican voters as a whole. Seems quite reasonable to me.

Among Republican primary voters, though, capaxinfiniti, I'm perfectly justified in thinking this sort of nonsense is not uncommon. These are the same slack-jawed idiots who still believe in disturbingly large numbers that Obama is a secret, foreign-born Muslim and that there was a proven link between Saddam Hussein and 9-11. So yeah. That's your base right there, the people Romney is counting on to get out the vote and win. Jeepers, I hope they show up in droves.

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King of Men
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Ok. In the spirit of bending over backwards to accommodate ideas even if they are put forth to support policies I disapprove of: Is there any actual evidence on the point?
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MattP
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Well, pregnancy from a given instance of intercourse is a relatively low-percentage event, stress can affect fertility, and stress can lead to early miscarriage. Given that I would be unsurprised that the rate of pregnancies from rapes is lower than pregnancies from consensual sex but the whole "1 in a million"/"virtually impossible" thing is bull.
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Geraine
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
I would be willing to entertain the likelihood that this isn't a common belief among Republican voters as a whole. Seems quite reasonable to me.

Among Republican primary voters, though, capaxinfiniti, I'm perfectly justified in thinking this sort of nonsense is not uncommon. These are the same slack-jawed idiots who still believe in disturbingly large numbers that Obama is a secret, foreign-born Muslim and that there was a proven link between Saddam Hussein and 9-11. So yeah. That's your base right there, the people Romney is counting on to get out the vote and win. Jeepers, I hope they show up in droves.

And there are liberals that still believe that Bush knew about 9/11, that Bush stole the 2000 election, or that the JFK assassination was a right wing plot.

Right, conservatives have all of the crazies.

On topic, Todd Akin is a complete moron. I group him in with idiots like Mayor Bloomberg.

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MattP
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quote:
And there are liberals that still believe that Bush knew about 9/11, that Bush stole the 2000 election, or that the JFK assassination was a right wing plot.
In a nation of 300 million you can find examples of, well, anything. Rakeesh was talking about the number of people that believe certain crazy things. A much higher percentage of Republicans believe that Obama is a muslim compared to Democrats that believe that 9/11 was an inside job. The 9/11 conspiracy theories are fringe while "Obama is a muslim" is a mainstream belief.
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kmbboots
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President Bush didn't steal the 2000 election; Katherine Harris stole it for him.
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Foust
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quote:
And there are liberals that still believe that Bush knew about 9/11, that Bush stole the 2000 election, or that the JFK assassination was a right wing plot.
Really? I've only ever seen "the truth about 9/11" come from libertarians. The 2000 election was hinky. And as far as I know, conspiracy theories about JFK are a feature of American life as such.
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Orincoro
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Yeah, the 9/11 seems to appeal to a broad spectrum, but I've seen liberals get into it as well,for sure. The election thing was hinky, but not a vast conspiracy, and the JFK thing is just pop-culture fodder at this point.
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Lyrhawn
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On the other hand, let's put this in perspective.

You can gather a thousand people who believe just about anything in this country.

Akin is a candidate for the United States Senate. The bar for crazy shouldn't give him the same leeway we give our crazed conspiracy theorists.

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Kwea
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quote:
Originally posted by Geraine:
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
I would be willing to entertain the likelihood that this isn't a common belief among Republican voters as a whole. Seems quite reasonable to me.

Among Republican primary voters, though, capaxinfiniti, I'm perfectly justified in thinking this sort of nonsense is not uncommon. These are the same slack-jawed idiots who still believe in disturbingly large numbers that Obama is a secret, foreign-born Muslim and that there was a proven link between Saddam Hussein and 9-11. So yeah. That's your base right there, the people Romney is counting on to get out the vote and win. Jeepers, I hope they show up in droves.

And there are liberals that still believe that Bush knew about 9/11, that Bush stole the 2000 election, or that the JFK assassination was a right wing plot.

Right, conservatives have all of the crazies.

On topic, Todd Akin is a complete moron. I group him in with idiots like Mayor Bloomberg.

How many of them are endorsed by the major figures of the Democratic Party? Lots of people believe that election in 2000 was messed up, and it was....for whatever reason.

But how many 9/11 disavowers are seated Democrats?

And if they are, how does that affect the reproductive rights of millions of women?


There are many crazies from all over. I just shudder at the fact that THESE crazies could implement public policy.

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Tinros
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Does date rape not count as rape, then? What about if a woman is drugged, as my mom was, which resulted in my half brother? What about alcohol, or statutory rape? Are those not "legitimate" in his eyes?
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Rakeesh
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I'll just point out that I never said or even suggested that Republicans have all of the crazies, Geraine. Others have done a solid job of rebutting your complaints of equivalence.
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Darth_Mauve
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There was so much wrong with this statement that I felt ashamed to be from the same state as him. His group called my house on Sunday Night to put me in a "town hall" meeting over the phone, with out my permission. I hung up before the introductions were done. He came out last week against school lunches for the poor.

But what he had to say is just so wrong.

First, the "Legitimate Rape" phrase is a way of blaming the victim for the crime. Its not legitimate if the woman really secretly wants it, asked for it, led the man on, etc, etc.

I get the feeling from listening to him that the only legitimate rape he believes in involves white women and non-white men.

He started out saying, "A doctor told me..." Lie. No doctor would say such wrong information.

Then there is the wrong information.

Then there is his response. "I misspoke." He does not deny he believes this is so. He just doesn't like the fact that he was caught saying it.

Thank you for letting me vent.

Now for a better thought:

To say "any child is not a punishment but a gift to be treasured" is a Pro-Life argument. If you argue against it you come off selfish and heartless.

To say "any child is just punishment for a woman's sin" is an Anti-Choice argument. If you make it you come off selfish and heartless.

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Parkour
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quote:
Originally posted by Geraine:
And there are liberals that still believe that Bush knew about 9/11, that Bush stole the 2000 election, or that the JFK assassination was a right wing plot.

How many times do you hear elected liberal officials espousing these positions? Where's where we have federal level candidates saying any of these things? Where in the liberal world do you see something we can compare to the stuff that the conservative world comes up with, especially when it comes to the subject of biology?
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Samprimary
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/r/

"Obama on Akin: "Rape is rape. The idea that we should be parsing types of rape doesn't make sense to the American people or to me. What these comments do underscore is why we shouldn't have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women."

First comment:

"President Obama went on to thank the GOP for softballing that one in."

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King of Men
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quote:
No doctor would say such wrong information.
Oh, come now. There are what, a hundred thousand doctors in the US? Half a million? You're going to sit there and assert that none of them are misogynistic scumbags who prefer their kneejerk instinct over evidence? I remind you that the original study that set off the anti-vax nonsense was faked up by a doctor. Doctors are humans like any others; some of them are scumbags. Fact of life.
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Dogbreath
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I remember, when I was 9 or 10 or so, I was at a father-son camp where I met this man (one of the fathers) who told me that whether or not people got sick was entirely due to their spiritual health. Since there were germs everywhere, he reasoned, the only reason people actually catch them and get sick is if they're spiritually sick. He believed in faith healing and all that jazz. He was also a practicing MD. I remember, distinctly, being a little kid and thinking "holy crap this guy is nuts."

Actually, do some people just come with built in BS detectors? I feel like I've had one my entire life... I never believed in Santa Claus, or fairy tales, and could always tell when someone was lying to me or trying to mess with me. Like, when I was 5 years old, I can remember getting very angry when adults would tell me stuff that was obviously not true and winked at eachother and expected me to believe it. (My parents, on the other hand, knew better and never bothered lying to us - it never worked, anyway) This wasn't really something I learned, it's just something I've always had. I can tell when someone's full of crap. On the other hand, I work with a man who's 10 years my senior (and of considerably higher rank) who, despite being extremely intelligent, believes every other conspiracy theory he hears, and repeatedly falls for all sorts of scams. What causes that?

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rivka
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Cause:
quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
My parents, on the other hand, knew better and never bothered lying to us

.
.

Effect:
quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
Actually, do some people just come with built in BS detectors?


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Rakeesh
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Now that you mention it, I don't actually know whether I ever believed in Santa Claus. My earliest memories involving any sort of Santa were in snooping with my sister for Christmas presents in our parents' room. I can't recall if that started with disbelief, or if I started to disbelieve after happening on the presents.
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Kwea
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Wow, this guy is a moron.


But he DID finally really apologize....

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Lyrhawn
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The GOP has officially jumped ship on him. Tea Party Express has disavowed, Romney-Ryan have, the GOP Senate committee and superpacs have all pulled funding and everyone is telling him to drop out.

As it happens, all those same players spent millions to make sure he never got the nomination in the first place, so his response has been a somewhat predictable: screw you. I can't imagine he feels much party loyalty after what they put him through, combined with being a TP candidate to begin with.

Latest polling has McCaskill up a point, though the same poll said that 75% of those polled said that though they found his remarks reprehensible, they'd still vote along party lines.

Gaffes aren't worth as much as they used to be, but if the funding situation sticks, McCaskill will dramatically outspend him over the next 70 days.

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Blayne Bradley
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"President Obama went on to thank the GOP for softballing that one in."

That one's actually pretty funny.

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Darth_Mauve
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He claims he's staying in. We'll see more by 5pm tonight.

But his apology is not an apology. He is still self-defining rape as a "Violent Attack". He still appear to believe women who are not violently attacked but succumb to sex against their will are not raped. He has not said he was wrong about Rape-Stress Induced Infertility. He has not said much other than "the word Legitimate was not a good choice of word." The rest of his mistake, and the ideas behind it have not been corrected or apologized for.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
But his apology is not an apology. He is still self-defining rape as a "Violent Attack". He still appear to believe women who are not violently attacked but succumb to sex against their will are not raped. He has not said he was wrong about Rape-Stress Induced Infertility. He has not said much other than "the word Legitimate was not a good choice of word." The rest of his mistake, and the ideas behind it have not been corrected or apologized for.

And the idea of "legitimate" rape is not a new thing for conservatives. Earlier this year, a bill came up to the House that was attempting to redefine rape in federal statutes to "forcible rape."

Every single republican voted for it.

Every single one. Even 16 BD's.

quote:
If this bill had become law, then statutory rape, the rape of a drugged or mentally impaired woman, or any rape where the rapist did not use physical force would not be considered rape. The bill died in the Senate. When Akin said "legitimate rape" he undoubtedly meant "forcible rape" as defined by the House bill but forgot the exact terminology.
So let's hear more about Republicans and rape.
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Olivet 2.0
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
quote:
No doctor would say such wrong information.
Oh, come now. There are what, a hundred thousand doctors in the US? Half a million? You're going to sit there and assert that none of them are misogynistic scumbags who prefer their kneejerk instinct over evidence? I remind you that the original study that set off the anti-vax nonsense was faked up by a doctor. Doctors are humans like any others; some of them are scumbags. Fact of life.
It's True. We Doctors Have Been Giving Republican Congressmen False Information As A Joke
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Parkour
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http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/08/steve-king-statutory-rape.php?ref=fpb

Steve King joins in.

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Parkour
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Oh and here is another Missouri republican.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/08/21/missouri-republican-official-god-chose-to-bless-women-with-pregnancies-from-rape/

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Rakeesh
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Love King's backpedal: 'what I was saying is that I don't personally know any woman who was raped'.

Well, yeah, he does. Just about everyone does. For some peculiar reason, though, many victims don't tend to talk about it like a mugging or a burglary. Weird.

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Orincoro
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Odd that.
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JoeAlvord
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Last night the republican platform committee included the plank that abortion would be made illegal in ALL cases. No exceptions. The position is more widespread than they would like to have us believe.
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Lyrhawn
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No one cares about the platforms. Even the party officials don't care.
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Rakeesh
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Which, to be frank, there is a potentially solid ethical argument for. If it could actually be shown that a fetus or even a fertilized egg was an actual human infant, the body sovereignty or not few would tolerate abortion 'on demand' as the phrase is used without something such as rape or more serious danger (instead of the average not-small dangers possible in a pregnancy).

Except of course it cannot be proven, and the same people who tell us it is simply true also have a tendancy to tell us things like 'Jesus is coming' and 'the world will end soon' and 'evolution is just a theory' and one of my favorite new ones 'atheist Communists back in the 1950s were narrowly prevented from stopping the word God from getting into the pledge'.

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CT
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Akin maight have gotten this idea from J.C. Wilke, MD, a former president of the National Right to Life organization. (link is to Washington Post)

I don't know what Wilke's specialty was or if (or how long) he practiced. The Life Issues Institute promotes him as a "Physician, author, lecturer, TV and radio personality and expert in human sexuality."

---

Edited to add: I am presenting the information without comment.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Which, to be frank, there is a potentially solid ethical argument for. If it could actually be shown that a fetus or even a fertilized egg was an actual human infant, the body sovereignty or not few would tolerate abortion 'on demand' as the phrase is used without something such as rape or more serious danger (instead of the average not-small dangers possible in a pregnancy).

Except of course it cannot be proven, and the same people who tell us it is simply true also have a tendancy to tell us things like 'Jesus is coming' and 'the world will end soon' and 'evolution is just a theory' and one of my favorite new ones 'atheist Communists back in the 1950s were narrowly prevented from stopping the word God from getting into the pledge'.

In fairness, I'm about as liberal as they come, but I hew toward the belief that a fetus is a person, or else so close to the cusp of being one that its treatment should be morally and ethically given the due consideration as such.

It's just too thin a line for me.

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