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POLITICS PRO/CON: Is the GOP a women’s party?

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The following two stories revolve around the GOP’s stance on abortion and women’s health, a conversation sparked by Republican Congressman Todd Akin’s controversial remarks: 

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”

 

YES: The GOP is a pro-women party

By Andrew Clark

Illustration by Gabriel Ivan Orendain-Necochea

 

Senate candidate Congressman Todd Akin (R-MO) made some ill-advised comments earlier this month that have single-handedly altered the course of his election.

If a mystical “way” to prevent rape exists, I’m sure women would like to know that they have internal rape prevention. That would make headline news.

Akin later apologized, saying he misspoke and that he has compassion for those who have suffered rape. But to quote Blue Collar Comedy Tour comedian Ron White, “you can’t fix stupid.”

Congressman Akin should not have made those idiotic comments and should drop out of his senate race, but that does not mean Republicans have a so-called “war on women.”

By saying the GOP has a war on women, Democrats are making generalizations that paint a group with a broad brush – something they accuse Republicans of doing to groups that tend to align with the Dems.

The Democrats make it seem like  women only care about abortion rights.  But what about overall economic concerns, pay equality, educational choices for their children, health care reform that impacts the elderly, and worries over the size of government.  Essentially, the Democrats are asking women to avoid multiple big-picture issues and focus on one subset of one issue in order to remain in office.

Currently, there are five female senators and 24 congresswomen that are Republican. They often find common ground with their Democratic counterparts on women’s rights issues.

“During this year’s debate on reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, I offered an amendment to enact harsher penalties for violent sexual offenses and to address the backlog of some 400,000 untested sexual-assault kits,” wrote Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) in a CNN editorial last week. “Although the amendment was not approved, the final reauthorization – again, supported unanimously by the female senators – included new anti-cyber-stalking legislation that I worked on with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota. The debate over the Violence Against Women Act was a reminder that, though we may disagree on policy particulars, the female senators find ways to solve problems when it matters most.”

Hutchinson has also partnered with Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) on bills that have helped stay-at-home spouses, mostly women, and breast cancer early detection programs.

Earlier this summer, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) co-sponsored a resolution with Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) celebrating the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the landmark law that opened up college athletics to female athletes.

Democrats argue that Republicans are against women because they are against abortion, often even in cases of rape and incest. They are correct in that Republicans generally do oppose almost every instance of abortion, but the two sides view abortion from fundamentally different views.  Conservatives view abortion from the perspective that abortion ends the life of an innocent unborn. Liberals perceive abortion from the concept that what is inside a woman’s body is hers to control.

Ironically, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has had wavering views on abortion that tend to be more centrist than the usual GOP view.  He said in a recent interview that he backs abortions in the case of rape, incest, and when the health of the mother is threatened.  In his nomination speech, he mentioned the many women he supported and worked with in his life.

“As Governor of Massachusetts, I chose a woman Lt. Governor, a woman chief of staff, half of my cabinet and senior officials were women, and in business, I mentored and supported great women leaders who went on to run great companies,” Romney said.

He later added that “women are more likely than men to start a business” today. In light of his stance and his record of promoting women to high roles, the attacks against him especially ring hollow.

When I hear these bits of the so-called “war on women,” I think of all the women that said no to abortion and kept their baby. What about them?  Is the GOP at war with them too?

What Akin said was nothing short of moronic, but to jump to an extreme and claim the GOP is against women does the country a disservice. The electorate is so varied in terms of race, religion and gender, and has varying stances on a whole range of issues. Neither political party can legitimately claim the other has a “war on” any group.

–Andrew Clark is a senior majoring in journalism and an avid sports fan who is eagerly awaiting the start of the NFL season.

 

 

NO: The GOP indeed has a war on women  

By Nathan McMahon

Illustration by Gabriel Ivan Orendain-Necochea

Legitimate rape.

Let that marinate for a minute–though I think you’ll only really need a fraction of a second. The kind of rape where women apparently have a special sperm-killing ingredient in their vaginas that helps them avoid making a baby. Maybe I missed something in my biology class here at CSUN.

The GOP wants to vigorously insert their agenda into our lives and it is in no way in favor of women.

Of course Missouri Congressman Todd Akin’s statements caused all sorts of justifiable outrage. Akin backtracked on the statements as per the course for these kinds of dopes, but calls for him to withdraw from the race by his own party have gone unheeded.

However, those calls were made not because they disagree with his stance on abortion and rape, but so that the Republican party would not lose the senate seat up for grabs. Akin had been leading in the polls against the incumbent, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

No, the GOP instead announced their intention to shove that abortion plank forcibly, right into their ship’s gaping deck of an agenda. Only two days later, Republicans in Tampa for the Republican National Convention were discussing their plan to outlaw abortion under any circumstances – which was later ratified as their official stance at the RNC. Were you raped? Screw you. Are you a victim of incest? Screw you.

In the wake of all this, a smattering of other Republicans decided to insert the proverbial coat-hanger into their mouths and pull out some real gems.

Former Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas attempted to defend Akin’s comments by alluding to the idea of “forcible rape” and the  positive offspring it can produce. Yet again, here is a man who defines rape as “forcible” in some circumstances, and implies that other rapes are received willingly.

Fair enough, governor – there is a legitimate and forcible argument to be made that children that are the result of rape can grow up to become important members of society. But just results in moving the goalposts out of the field of women’s issues; instead of looking at the trauma of a child born out of such a violent and disgusting act, it fails to provide for the woman who may not want to bear that child.

Continuing this stupid trend was Senate Candidate, Tom Smith (R-PA). His comments were only mildly offensive, but they speak volumes about the general ignorance of the current Republican Party when it comes to women. He basically alluded to his daughter’s out-of-wedlock baby as being similar to rape. Gee dad and grand-dad, thanks.

The ultimate level of foolishness exists in the form of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), Mitt Romney’s current vice-presidential running mate. He was a co-sponsor of H.R. 5939, the bill where that wonderful “forcible rape” language came from. He has also expressed a genuine disregard for abortion in the case where the mother’s health is at risk. That is extreme and blatantly anti-women.

However, Ryan has toned it down a notch to blend into Romney’s campaign – the presidential nominee’s stance is that abortion is acceptable in cases of rape, incest, and when the welfare of the mother is threatened. But it makes no difference, as the GOP officially adopted their complete anti-abortion stance at their convention last week.

If Republicans are pro-woman like they claim to be, then I shudder to think what their version of anti-woman entails.

I feel like my mind was legitimately raped these past few weeks. That’s the only way I can describe the utter insanity that the current Republican Party is displaying. Out of every corner these absurd and ignorant GOP’ers tumble and dive into the spotlight with their disturbing notions of rape and abortion.

This is with no doubt, a war on women.

Nathan is a former Marine who likes to yell at Republicans to get off his lawn. He can often be found playing video games and man-childing his way through a Lego- build in his spare time, though his cats like to interfere with the latter whenever the opportunity arises.

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12 Comments

  1. Collin Sasse Sep 3, 2012

    Article asks, “Is the GOP a woman’s party?”
    Article is written by two men.
    Article is invalid.

    Could we maybe get… ya know…a  woman’s opinion? On if the GOP is a woman’s party? Seems kinda….important. I dunno.

    1. Jesse Roach Sep 3, 2012

      No, you have no idea what invalid means. Your argument is invalid because it is fallacious. Look up argument ad hominem (for an example of what it is, read most of what Nathan wrote above)

      1. SarahMarieGarcia Sep 3, 2012

        invalid 2 |in?valid|adjectivenot valid, in particular(esp. of an argument, statement, or theory) not true because based on erroneous information or unsound reasoning
        The reasoning is unsound because the group of people the authors were referring to did not have any input in the article. The article has erroneous information because a man wrote it and a man has no way of knowing what women think about something. A person has no way to know what another person thinks about something. 

        DON’T BACK UP A MAN THAT DOES NOT ASK A WOMANS POINT OF VIEW ABOUT A WOMANS THOUGHT ABOUT THE GOP. THAT’S JUST BAD JOURNALISM. 

        1. Jesse Roach Sep 4, 2012

          I don’t see how Andrew not being a woman makes his argument any less true or false. Just think about that for a moment. You’re attacking the person, not the argument itself.

          For an argument to be valid, the conclusion necessarily *follows* from the premises. Andrew quoted and supported his conclusion with premises that carried to the conclusion. Now, his argument might not be SOUND but that does not mean it’s invalid. Validity and soundness are two different things. A valid argument has to guarantee the truth of the conclusion.

          Also, using caps lock frivolously to make a point does not drive your point but rather makes you look incredibly immature. 

  2. Michelangelo_L Sep 1, 2012

    Awhile back a few studies were made that noticed that fertility rates decreased under stressful environments. The implication being that if a given rape was forceful (“legitimate”), as opposed to statutary rape (where both parties consent, but one is under the age of consent!), then pregnancy would be less likely. The politician in questions ers in believing pregnancy does not occur in forceful rape (again as opposed to statutary rape where both sides consent), but his comment really isn’t completely wrong. Stress decreases chance of fertility; that’s valid no?

    Also, lets not forget the Obama administration has made it harder to get over the counter contraceptives (including the day after pill). The democrats are hardly this truly pro-choice party everyone makes them out to be. They don’t even let me choose if I should get health insurance or not! 

    1. dddfaber Sep 2, 2012

      “Stress decreases chance of fertility; that’s valid no?” No. It is not valid. 5% of women who were raped become pregnant. 5% of women who have unprotected consensual sex become pregnant. There is absolutely no scientific proof that stress decreases the chance of fertility. And btw, you are welcome to choose not to get health insurance. Just be prepared to pay a penalty for putting the rest of us at risk when you do. It’s called personal responsibility.

      1. Michelangelo_L Sep 2, 2012

        What risk do I put on /you/, or anyone else, when I elect not to have health insurance? What claim do you have to /my/ health? Are you a stockholder in Michelangelo Inc? Don’t worry, I’ll be responsible for my own health. At no point do I intend to pay a ‘penalty’ for this non-existent risk.

        As for my other comment, perhaps I misworded it. I am not a doctor, medical student, or a pre-medical student. I suspect few of us in the comment sections are. By stating that his comment was fair, within context, I signify that it is fair comment that is worth looking into. I have on several occasions come into contact with articles discussing the lowered infertility caused by stress, in particular stress caused by rape. A quick google search turns up articles arguing on both sides – I suspect that there is no clear consensus in the medical community regarding the effects of stress on fertility. I am, as aforementioned, a layman in the medical sciences and as such can’t say with certainty say either way. 

        I suspect though that the fertility rate between women who are raped and those who have unprotected consensual sex is not the same. I suspect that those who are raped have lower fertility rates than those who had consensual sex. More importantly, I think it is a fair comment to make and something worth looking into. 

        1. dddfaber Sep 3, 2012

          I do have a claim to your responsibility for health insurance. When a person is not covered by health insurance, and gets into an accident, or develops a serious disease, the costs are astronomical. Most often, these are not affordable to the average household, and the uninsured is unable to pay. The care providers raise their rates to cover the (significant) amount of dollars which are uncollectable. The health insurance companies in turn raise their rates to cover higher costs of care. I pay a higher premium…..so yes, I have a stake whether or not other people are covered by health insurance, because it impacts me.

          There are numerous studies related to rape and pregnancy, all proving that pregnancy rates are similar to that of consensual sex. http://abcnews.go.com/health/t/blogEntry?id=17050010

          1. Michelangelo_L Sep 3, 2012

            Take it up with your healthcare provider for treating the uninsured (and for Congress for requiring certain procedures to be covered “free”). Healthcare does not met the requirements of an economic public good. Its costs and benefits can both be internalized to its beneficiaries. You have no stake or claim on my health.

            And again, I’ve come up with studies on /both/ sides of the issue (a third side of the debate believes pregnancy rates are higher for rape victims! http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-08/rape-results-more-pregnancies-not-less). I’m a layman in medicine. What do I know which side is true with certainty? At best I can critic the statistics on whether they controlled the group and choose a good sample. From what I’ve read though I am inclined to believe that rape victims have a lower fertility rate. 
            Let’s suppose that they are, for the sake of argument, in fact the same as you believe. Even then Akins’ comment are fair. Do I agree with his comments or stance on the issue of abortion? No. I am far from convinced that pregnancy is rare from rape; I entertain the notion that it is lower, but I’ve never found evidence saying it is rare. Nor am I Pro-Life or Pro-Choice. Akins’ statements remain fair to say though because the issue is not this solid consensus. If we are, as we like to believe ourselves, a science loving society, then we must tolerate his skepticism. Nay, we must embrace skepticism. Any science that feels it needed to mock anyone who disagrees with the mainstream is no longer a science. For that reason alone I believe Akins’ shouldn’t be so mocked until a clear consensus exists – and even when such a consensus is reached his skepticism should be tolerated as a chance to revisit whether we are really correct.

          2. dddfaber Sep 3, 2012

            Our founding fathers felt differently in terms of healthcare, economic public good and individual mandates:  
            http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/healthcare/Individual-mandate-traced-to-our-founding-fathers.html

          3. Jesse Roach Sep 3, 2012

            What argument do you have that supports the conclusion that healthcare is a positive right?

            What argument do you have that supports the conclusion “the government can *give* people rights”?

  3. eAbyss Aug 31, 2012

    This kind of generalizes the whole issue by centering it around abortions. There are other issues like access to cheep affordable birth control, family planning clinics that provide cheep health care to a substantial portion of low income women being attacked and shut down by Republicans, and the idiotic things being constantly said about women by people in the Republican party.

    Andrew Clark’s portion of this opinion piece claims that people on both sides are able to come together on women’s issues but only uses the female representatives on both sides as an example. This completely avoids the anti-women (we got ours, F… everyone else) sentiment of the Republican males which make up the majority of the party. Fail! Try again.

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