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The War on Women Rages on

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Recently Representative Todd Akin made some outstanding remarks. When asked if abortion should be permitted in cases of pregnancies resulting from rape, Akin replied, "From what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume maybe that didn't work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist."

It is people like Akin who make my job easy. It's like what Cousin Eddie says to Clark Griswold in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation regarding the Jelly of the Month Club. It's these soundbites of truth, glimmers of how these mostly male conservative representatives truly feel about women that is the "Gift that keeps on giving the whole year. " And I don't even know where to begin with this one...

I am losing track of when the War on Women officially began. It feels like so long ago, though I consider Chris Smith's infamous "Chris Smith Bill" to be the first metaphorical shot. The bill had a clause that called for the redefinition of the word "rape." By redefining rape, Smith thought he could save the government some money. To achieve this budget cut, he intended to limit abortion coverage for Medicaid recipients by only allowing those who were "forcibly raped" to obtain the procedure.

Who exactly would be given the role of rape-victim interrogator is beyond me. In fact, where would they even draw that line? If the victim didn't fight back, does that mean the rape wasn't forcible? And if the rape is deemed "not forcible," must she suffer an unwanted pregnancy as a result? And what about victims of incest? People who have been exposed to long term sexual abuse?

Technically that may not be considered "forcible" because victims in those situations are often helpless, young and lack support from their other family members, therefore, they might concede to their predator because it is ongoing. Well it really doesn't matter, do you not see my point?

Men like Akin and Smith are micromanaging our vaginas. They are also micromanaging and trivializing our dignity --- the dignity of women everywhere and the dignity of countless unheard victims and survivors of rape and sexual abuse. Shame on them.

And what about this part of his quote, "I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist."

Does this man even know what he's talking about? Has he reviewed the statistics? That 90 percent of rapes never get reported to the proper authorities? That on average, a rapist perpetrates ten sexual assaults before ever getting caught? That only 3 percent of rapists go to jail, and of that 3 percent many have short and/or reduced sentences?

Akin has also been quoted speaking out about the morning-after pill citing that it should be illegal because it is a "form of abortion." There is actually no proof that the morning-after pill is indeed what Akin says it is: an abortifacient.

A recent New York Times article reports that the federally approved labels on the morning-after pill do not support the research presented by today's leading scientists. "Studies have not established that emergency contraceptive pills prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb. Rather, the pills delay ovulation, the release of eggs from ovaries that occurs before eggs are fertilized, and some pills also thicken cervical mucus so sperm have trouble swimming."

I would say that certainly does not constitute as an abortion but more so some type of vaginal flushing. So to answer my original question, "Does this man know what he's talking about?" I would have to say no. Akin has no idea what he's talking about. And he proves the point that I am trying to make: that the men who started the War on Women are completely out of touch with women, their target du jour, and the distraction that is the War on Women allows them to take the heat off the real problem: jobs or lack thereof.

Have you ever heard of a family having to go on government assistance because they cannot afford to pay their rent or feed their children due to an abortion? No. But have you heard of a family needing government assistance to pay their rent and buy their food because they have too many children and not enough work? Yes.

Abortions do not cause financial hardships. However, when the amount of children you have exceeds (or greatly exceeds) the amount of children you can afford, financial hardship ensues. Add to that an economy with limited work opportunities and you got yourself a pickle.

Most people forget to mention that sometimes people choose to get an abortion for financial reasons, i.e., because they cannot afford to support a child or children. This sounds like a very responsible choice: to utilize all available options while taking into consideration one's means before deciding to start a family (which may very well be the concept which spun the idea of Planned Parenthood).

Some people consider this to be responsible -- the choice to terminate an accidental pregnancy for financial reasons as opposed to sharing the financial burden of an unexpected child with family members and tax payers. Other people, like Akin, find this idea to be heinous and morally wrong. People like Akin put unborn fetuses first before any other considerations, even considerations such as income and jobs. And as long as people like Akin, Smith and their constituents continue "rape-baiting," nothing will be done about the job situation or the economy.

Rather than do good or enact positive change in this country, Akin and his constituents have used an ideological War on Women to take the heat off the actual issues by using women as scapegoats. And an excellent scape goat they are! Through the tactic of divide and conquer, they have created a huge division with the idea that those who do not use birth control or have abortions are morally superior to those who do. Rather than bringing people together in support of one another; rather than teaching Americans to empathize with those who were put in the position to make the difficult choice that abortion is, they have taught them to hate. They have taught them to judge. They have taught Americans that those who have abortions are murderers and those who use birth control are sluts. And through all this propaganda and rape-baiting they have forgotten one universal thing about themselves: that they too are human and not some omnipresent moral force put on Earth to subject the rest of us to religious beliefs that tout male superiority and dominance over women, their bodies and their decisions.

Though I have presented scientific fact and statistical knowledge, it makes no difference to those waging the War on Women. They do not go by facts or statistics. They use their religion as a shield to dismiss scientific fact as heresy, and favor the perpetuation of carefully selected myths convenient to their purportedly pious lifestyle.

Well Representative Akin, maybe you're right, but before we get rid of abortion let's address some bigger issues. First, you should concentrate on job creation and bringing back the living wage so families in dire straits don't have to turn to abortion when an unexpected pregnancy occurs. I anticipate your response to that would be something along the lines of "there should be no excuse for unplanned pregnancies. If you are abiding by the laws of The Bible they simply should not occur."

Well, that brings me to my second point: Why is there a demand for abortions? What exactly is keeping these clinics in business? Could it be that very type of thinking? Some states have put so much stock into the idea that sex without marriage is morally wrong that many schools now lack sex education. Could these new abstinence only "sex" education programs be responsible for leading today's ignorant youngsters into the scary world of teen and unwanted pregnancies? Maybe.

What about adults and mature women who are seeking abortions too? Could their need for the procedure have to do with the lack of access to affordable contraception and health care? Could this have to do with the fact that for an uninsured woman, birth control costs $40 - $120 per month and that in 2011, around 46 million Americans were uninsured? And that brings us back to the jobs issue, again.

Perhaps Representative Akin and his constituents aren't really trying to avoid real issues like I've suggested: that for Americans, health insurance is a luxury and that the living wage is a privilege. Perhaps Representative Akin truly has a dream; a vision of a world in which fetuses are able to roam free from the threat of abortion. "As far as I'm concerned, the morning-after pill is a form of abortion, and I think we just shouldn't have abortion in this country," he said in an Aug. 8 interview with KCMO radio.

With all this talk of outlawing morning-after pills, abortion, and now with all these new "Personhood" initiatives everyone is at risk. Just because it started as a War on Women no longer guarantees that men are safe. With the ridiculous Personhood rulings taking off across the country, men won't be able to enjoy pornography the way they used to. Forget about worrying about mom catching you. If the lawmakers behind Personhood get wind of what you've been doing, you might be arrested for child abuse or even worse (GASP!) -- murder.

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