“Something that God Intended”
As the 2012 US General Elections have drawn to a close, we are left with the winners celebrating their achievement and the losers licking their wounds and wondering how it could have possibly gone so wrong.
As an immigrant to the US, I find some issues raised in these elections both fascinating and troubling. In a world where certain issues have been laid to rest by other first-world countries, topics like global warming, women’s reproductive rights, and evolution are still being hotly debated here. Personal opinions have invaded public policy, been elevated and promoted to the forefront, superceding macroeconomic issues that affect the population as a whole.
In particular, I find the intense interest that some male politicians have taken in a woman’s reproduction system and anatomy quite disconcerting. All in the name of religion, they have managed to conjure up physicians’ research reports and biological fabrications to back their own personal beliefs.
Senate Candidate Richard Mourdock (R-Indiana) publicly declared that even if a woman got pregnant after being raped, it was “something that God intended to happen.” He lost his senate race to Democrat Joe Donnelly, also known to be anti-abortion, and yet the state of Indiana voted for republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and elected a republican governor, Mike Pence. The winning formula? 52% of women voted for Donnelly and only 42% went for Mourdock. The votes among men were split evenly.
Rep. Todd Akin (R-Missouri) gained national fame in August with his now infamous statement that women who were vicitms of “legitimate rape” could not get pregnant as “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” He also lost his senate bid to Claire McCaskill, who, up until that time was lagging behind Akin in the polls. Missouri also chose Romney to be president and 6 of the 8 seats in the house up for election went to the republicans.
It shows that constituents can only support their political representative’s extreme views so far and no more. Personal or religious views have no place in public policy. But it’s more than just that. It’s the blatant disregard for women and anything that gives us control over our own bodies.
In addition to those two aforementioned, seven other politicians paid the price after airing their archaic views on female reproduction and their views on abortion.
Representative Joe Walsh (R-Illinois) lost his seat to democratic challenger Tammy Duckworth after informing us all that there is “no such exception as life of the mother, and as far as the health of the mother, same thing” in abortion cases.
Representative Roscoe Bartlett (R-Maryland), in recent times, has claimed to be anti-abortion, “except in cases of rape, incest, or the life of the mother.” In a news conference, however, he insisted that there were only a “tiny, tiny, tiny percentage of rapes (compared) to abortions each year”, in response to a statement that 20,000 pregnancies per year resulted from rape. I supposoe that for him those are acceptable losses.
Tom Smith, (R-Pennsylvania) tried hard to empathize with women who had been raped and undergoing the incredibly difficult decision of choosing to have an abortion by saying that he had undergone a “similar problem.” However, it was not he, nor was it a rape issue. It was a “family member” who had gotten pregnant out of wedlock and decided to keep the baby. When asked by the reporter if this was the same thing as rape, he responded, “No, no, no… but put yourself in the father’s position… it is similar…” (What the…???)
Representative Paul Ryan, (R-Wisconsin), Vice Presidential candidate, and Mitt Romney’s running mate also weighed in on the abortion issue. His faith prevents him from choosing abortion even if it involves rape or the life of the mother. “The method of conception does not change the definition of life,” he said, looking into the camera with his those big baby blue eyes. His state did not vote for Republican for president, but Ryan still maintains his seat in the house as he did not have to surrender it to run with Romney for office.
Rick Berg (R-N. Dakota) and John McGovern (R-Vermont) were both unsuccessful in their election campaigns as well, rounding out the well wishing republicans who care so much about the unborn, but care so little about the baby-carrier, i.e. the mom.
It is no wonder that all these Republican candidates lost their election bids. Women don’t really factor in their everyday gleanings. They don’t see our views as important or effective. To imagine a woman, having been sexually assaulted and then impregnated to have to be forced to live with the product of that rape is outrageous. She should have the RIGHT TO CHOOSE and not to be told that her body can “shut that whole thing down.” And quite frankly, IMHO, whatever her reason is to terminate or keep the pregnancy, should be her right to do so, and not the right of other uninterested parties.
I would not ever like to be faced with the decision of whether to abort a pregnancy or not, as I imagine it must be one of the most difficult and emotional decisions to make. However, I would still like to know that what happens to my uterus is between my ob/gyn and myself. Yes, I said it. So I rejoice that the conservatives are not in control of the White House. My uterus is safe once more.