On Todd Akin, this time with a little more anger

21 Aug

Okay.  So, as I wrote yesterday, I was done talking about the Todd Akin thing.  At that moment.  Well, that moment has passed and my anger has been renewed.  Partially that anger was renewed by reading Eve Ensler’s amazing post from yesterday on Huffington Post.  If you haven’t yet read it, get on it now.  It is so worth it.  It is worth it for so many reasons.  Here is one:

You used the expression “legitimate” rape as if to imply there were such a thing as “illegitimate” rape. Let me try to explain to you what that does to the minds, hearts and souls of the millions of women on this planet who experience rape. It is a form of re-rape. The underlying assumption of your statement is that women and their experiences are not to be trusted. That their understanding of rape must be qualified by some higher, wiser authority. It delegitimizes and undermines and belittles the horror, invasion, desecration they experienced. It makes them feel as alone and powerless as they did at the moment of rape.

And then there’s this:

Were you implying that women and their bodies are somehow responsible for rejecting legitimate rape sperm, once again putting the onus on us?

And this:

Why don’t you spend your time ending rape rather than redefining it? Spend your energy going after those perpetrators who so easily destroy women rather than parsing out manipulative language that minimizes their destruction.

And so much more in between.  She says all the things that I could never articulate.  That it would take me a few days to really come to.  My initial reaction to his “gaffe” was an exasperated exhale, a violent roll of the eyes, and the need to slowly and methodically rub vertically between my hairline and the bridge of my nose, a habit I have developed in recent years at times of intense frustration.  I swear one of these days I am going to rub right through to my skull.  My initial reaction was full of disgust, but I honestly don’t think I fully realized the deep-rootedness of the issue associated with Todd Akin’s comments.  He was idiotic, sure, we all think that’s the case. Even Shawn Hannity thinks he should withdraw himself from the Missouri Senate race.  But the thing is, it’s not because many of these people disagree with what Akin said.  They disagree with the way that Akin said it.

Meanwhile, in Texas, a court of appeals ruled today that the state can withhold funding from Planned Parenthood clinics before the original case, in which Planned Parenthood sued the state of Texas for a law that violates their freedom of speech, goes to court in October.  (For a more eloquent and less confusing explanation of the pending litigation, read this Times article.)  These clinics provide health care for low income women for things from regular gynecological exams to cancer screenings, from maternal health care to contraception.  And yes, abortion services.  It is important to note, however, that no state or federal funds go to finance abortions.  They go towards helping poor women with no or insufficient health insurance obtain access to quality, and essential, services.  As Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, said, this case

has never been about Planned Parenthood — it’s about the women who rely on Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings, birth control and well-woman exams.

The reason I bring this up is that issues like the one in Texas have been cropping up with alarming regularity.  Todd Akin is not alone.  He has many, many people who agree with him.  Many people who think that women don’t know how to make decisions about their own bodies.  Many people who think that women cavalierly make the decision to have an abortion.  Many people who think that women will scream rape to obtain an abortion in places where rape, incest and the health of the mother are the only exceptions to an all out ban on abortion.  Don’t believe me?  Just watch this video of Eric Turner of Indiana.  As I said, Todd Akin is not alone and his ignorant statement was not an isolated opinion.  Let us use this moment of anger, and hurt, and disbelief to blow the roof off the party who, just today, the same day they were calling for Todd Akin to step aside, approved a party plank that would strive to outlaw abortion without any mention of exceptions for rape or incest.  This is our time, ladies and allies.  We are too smart for this and there is too much at stake.  We need to hold the Republican party accountable not only for the statements of Todd Akin, but for those of many others.  And, more important still, we need to hold them accountable for the anti-woman legislation they unceasingly push on us.  As Eve Ensler rightfully said,

I am asking you and the GOP to get out of my body, out of my vagina, my womb, to get out of all of our bodies. These are not your decisions to make. These are not your words to define.

Yes.

2 Responses to “On Todd Akin, this time with a little more anger”

  1. coconutspeak August 21, 2012 at 11:42 pm #

    Amen, sister! May Todd Akin get jumped in the parking lot by members of the GOP! I’m 43 years old and I am terrified that of what the Republicans are doing. Please see my prose @ http://coconutspeak.wordpress.com

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