A right of passage as a child is an activity known as "playing doctor". It is a non-sexual and quite innocent exploration, and borne of the curious nature of humans in general and children in particular. They want to know exactly what it is that makes boys and girls different from each other. Years later as hormones start flowing, it turns into an exploration of an entirely different kind. This is all an expected part of life, and has been for centuries.
What is NOT expected is that elected politicians with no medical background suddenly decide they want to play doctor when it comes to women's health issues. These men (mostly, anyways) have been spouting some medical "facts" that don't even pass the "truthiness" test.
Rooted in the never-ending abortion debate, the current explosion of medical "experts" began with the comments by Missouri GOP candidate Todd Akin who said "'legitimate rape' rarely causes pregnancy"
. Naturally this caused an uproar. What is NOT "legitimate rape"? Sides were quickly drawn in Republicanville - either you piled on with more craziness or you washed your hands of it.
Representative Steve King (R-IA) joined the chorus. In his worldly experience, he claims he's never heard of a girl getting pregnant from statutory rape or incest
. Well then - that settles THAT. Perhaps King should look beyond his tightly-knit inner circle. Idaho Republican state senator Chuck Winder wonders if women even know what rape is
. I am fairly certain that yes - every woman on the planet knows what rape is and I'm certain every man in prison knows too. Once again - step outside your bubble, and try living where the abused live.
One has to wonder: Where do these men get the notion that women have magic vaginas, and if they REALLY TRULY ABSOLUTELY are getting raped, they can reject the sperm and avoid pregnancy? It's quite likely that the source of this myth is a quack by the name of Dr. John C. Wilke. He has proposed the "angry cervix" theory, as well as endorsing Mitt Romney
"This is a traumatic thing -- she's, shall we say, she's uptight," Dr. Willke said of a woman being raped, adding, "She is frightened, tight, and so on. And sperm, if deposited in her vagina, are less likely to be able to fertilize. The tubes are spastic."
How would you like THIS guy as your OB/GYN?
This whole bruhaha has brought all the experts out of the woodwork. Republican TN state senator Stacey Campfield makes the claim (debunked years ago) that it's virtually impossible to get AIDS via heterosexual sex
. Missouri Republican party official Sharon Barnes decided to go the route of life counselor instead, referring to a pregnancy from rape as a blessing from God
. Nothing like a daily reminder in a child's eyes of that horrible event in your life. Drew Weston (liberal counterpart to Frank Luntz) refers to any law that does not allow abortion for a woman who gets pregnant via rape as a rapist's Bill of Rights
. It's certainly apt.
But that's exactly what the Republican party has put into their platform
for this year's election. In their eyes, the rapist has more rights than the victim. This has been veep candidate Paul Ryan's position throughout his career
. As previously noted, Romney has welcomed the endorsement of a doctor who believes rape prevents pregnancies. He has gone back and forth on the abortion issue, so it's impossible to know what he really believes. Considering how his veep candidate has voted, though, and the party's platform, it's not that difficult to imagine the draconian measures that he would be willing to sign, were they to make it out of Congress. Considering that the next president will likely be picking 2-3 Supreme Court justices, it's likely they would withstand scrutiny as well.
It's scary as hell.
Republicans have screamed loudly about the ACA, and the government coming between people and their doctors. When it comes to women's health (and pregnancy in particular) they seem to think they know better, and see nothing wrong with Big Government forcing itself into a woman's uterus. It's a rape of a different kind.
Enough! - It's time for politicians to stop pretending to be doctors and start pretending to be politicians. That's a role they might be able to fake successfully.
UPDATE (11:30 AM EDT): Here is a summation of outrageous things said by Republicans with regards to women and rape
. Some of them were covered in the blog and some were not.