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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Republican Party platform erodes women’s reproductive rights

    The issue of abortion usually rears its head every even-numbered year as the Democratic and Republican parties cheer on their respective presidential nominees in the race to the White House.
    But the debate over abortion and women’s reproductive rights has never been as politically charged as it is this year. By now, anyone with access to a television has heard the string of boneheaded remarks by conservative politicians who seem intent on chipping away at a woman’s right to choose.

    Todd Akin, the Republican nominee in Missouri’s Senate race, embarrassed himself and incurred the ire of his party’s most politically attuned leaders last week when he claimed that a woman’s body has ways to naturally “shut down” a “legitimate rape,” thereby preventing conception.

    According to Akin’s logic, a woman who is successfully impregnated by her rapist was “illegitimately” raped and should feel morally obligated to carry her rapist’s child to term. Rape’s “legitimacy” apparently hinges entirely on whether or not it results in a pregnancy.

    Akin’s comments were, without question, the most radical departure from decency any member of his party has exhibited on this issue. An inherently criminal act like rape can never be legitimate.

    But don’t expect someone as morally bankrupt as Akin to come to that realization any time soon. The same goes for Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, whose record on abortion is just as deplorable as that of his embattled colleague from Missouri.

    Ryan has co-sponsored 38 anti-abortion measures, some of which make no exception for rape. The Wisconsinite even went as far as to say that rape is just one “method of conception,” which in essence elevates it to the status of consensual sex.

    What is clear is that the GOP’s appalling redefinition of rape is part of a broader effort to advance the party’s warped ideological agenda as it relates to women’s health.

    Ryan’s and Akin’s remarks on rape and conception came on the heels of the political fight to end government payments to Planned Parenthood and contraceptive coverage for employees of religiously affiliated institutions, as well as attempts to create “personhood” initiatives in Mississippi that would give fertilized human eggs the same legal rights and protections that apply to people.

    Look no further than the 2012 Republican Party platform if you are in need of further proof that an all-out ideological war is being waged against female reproductive organs. Last week, the Republican Party’s platform committee approved anti-abortion language without adding an exception for rape.

    When pressed by George Stephanopoulos, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, the GOP’s platform chair, dodged culpability by saying that a rape is a “detail” best left up to Congress and the states to sort out.

    The sad reality is that if a state like Arizona were to ban abortions in instances where the woman was raped, the Grand Old Party would raise no objections. In fact, anti-abortion absolutists like Ryan and Akin would wet themselves in excitement.

    Don’t be fooled into thinking that this redefinition of rape is a coincidence. It is a part of a coordinated effort to strip women of the right to control their bodies. If Republicans continue to double down on this inglorious campaign against female reproductive freedom, the consequences will be devastating come Election Day.

    — Nyles Kendall is a political science senior. He can be reached at or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.

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