My latest on Mourdock, Republicans and rape in the Guardian:
Some Republicans, like Mitt Romney, have tried to distance themselves from their party’s rhetorical obsession with sexual violation. What they’re hoping we won’t notice is the fact that their party is politically committed to sexual violation.
Opposition to abortion in all cases – rape, incest, even to save the pregnant woman’s life or health – is written into the Republican party platform. Realizing they can’t make abortion illegal overnight, conservatives instead rally around smaller initiatives like mandatory waiting periods, transvaginal ultrasounds and mandated lectures about “life” to make abortion as expensive, difficult and humiliating as possible.
Republicans bow to the demands of “pro-life” organizations, not a single one of which supports even birth control, and the GOP now routinely opposes any effort to make birth control or sexual education available and accessible. They propose laws that would require women to tell their employers what they’re using birth control for, so that employers could determine which women don’t deserve coverage (the slutty ones who use birth control to avoid unwanted pregnancy) and which women do (the OK ones who use it for other medical reasons).
Mainstream GOP leaders, including Mitt Romney, campaign with conservative activists who lament the fact that women today no longer fully submit to the authority of their husbands and fathers, mourn a better time when you could legally beat your wife, and celebrate the laws of places like Saudi Arabia where men are properly in charge. Senate Republicans, including Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan and “legitimate rape” Todd Akin, blocked the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. And Ryan and Akin joined forces again to propose “personhood” legislation in Washington, DC that would define a fertilized egg as a person from the moment sperm meets egg, outlawing abortion in all cases and many forms of contraception, and raising some serious questions about how, exactly, such a law would be enforced.
Underlying the Republican rape comments and actual Republican political goals are a few fundamental convictions: first, women are vessels for childbearing and care-taking; second, women cannot be trusted; and third, women are the property of men.
Full piece here.