Here we are in the middle of a presidential election and rape is a campaign issue. There are few things as abhorrent as rape, and nobody disagrees about that. Yet the fact that a woman can get pregnant through a rape has worked itself into national politics. Why is there any disagreement over something as universally despised as this?
Missouri Rep. Todd Akin has tried to back away from this earlier statements, but he has supporters who firmly believe in the rarity of a pregnancy through rape, even if Akin is publicly disavowing it now.
Then there is vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan who, while trying to make his case to oppose abortion in all instances, lays the crux before us in stark terms:
“I’m very proud of my pro-life record, and I’ve always adopted the idea that, the position that the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life,” Ryan explained. “But let’s remember, I’m joining the Romney-Ryan ticket. And the president makes policy.”
“And the president, in this case the future President Mitt Romney, has exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother, which is a vast improvement of where we are right now.”
No, rape is not a method of conception. It is an act of aggression. Any woman who has to live with this horrible act faces a lifetime of trauma. Yet there are those like Ryan who refer to it as another “method of conception,” as if it is as mechanical as an artificial insemination machine for cows.
Marauding armies have often conquered territories and engaged in rape and pillage. Yet since pillage was just another form of income redistribution, then it really wasn’t that bad.
Ryan makes Romney sound like a moderate. Ryan takes the empathy he has in a rape case and places it all on the pregnancy but without regard for the mother’s life. If that is a definition for pro-life, then it is an odd one. It forces the victim to bear her rapist’s pregnancy and either raise her rapist’s child or give it up for adoption.
Some women may choose to do either of those. Others may find the psychological and physical burden too great. People like Ryan think it is the government’s role to decide that.
The Republican Party platform has language banning the morning after pill RU-486. It is one of the most effective ways for a raped woman to ensure that she does not get pregnant. Yet Ryan and others feel this will interfere with that conception.
In the midst of many serious and controversial issues to discuss this presidential election, one side has taken a position that a rapist has the right to impregnate his victim. I don’t think this is what Jefferson and Madison had in mind in regards to limited government.