Todd Akin’s uneducated, sexist and untrue statement, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” may be a blessing in disguise.
Surely education in the USA needs a serious overhaul if men in authority have no understanding of basic biology. I’m sure every woman would love to either “willing reject” or “will” a pregnancy. We wouldn’t need IVF if such things were possible. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists issues the following statement
“Each year in the US, 10,000–15,000 abortions occur among women whose pregnancies are a result of reported rape or incest. An unknown number of pregnancies resulting from rape are carried to term. There is absolutely no veracity to the claim that “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down.” A woman who is raped has no control over ovulation, fertilization, or implantation of a fertilized egg (ie. pregnancy). To suggest otherwise contradicts basic biological truths.” If Akin’s could hold such beliefs I’m sure there would be other Americans who too hold the same views. Lets hope the publicity over Akin’s statement has given them a biology lesson.
The lesson about the word “legitimate” is a much harder one to teach. It requires a cultural change and an acceptance that a woman has a right to refuse sex whether she is married, on a date, wearing something provocative etc. Rape is rape and if a woman says no it means no! The reaction to Akin’s statement has been world-wide and sent a clear message that there are no definitional excuses for sexual abuse.
2. Extremist Views
Akin’s views shed light on the extremist views of some Republicans. It has put the spotlight on Paul Ryan’s anti- abortion, anti -choice beliefs and his opposition to some forms of contraception. He co-sponsored the Sanctity of Human Life Act which in effect would make in vitro fertilization and the intrauterine device (IUD) illegal. According to Paul Ryan it doesn’t matter how a baby is conceived (even by rape or incest) a pregnancy should go to full term even if the mother’s life is in jeopardy. Anti- abortion laws have been passed in various States in America in recent years including Arizona which passed new laws in August. What I find interesting is that many of these States such as Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina and Oklahoma also have the death penalty. So what about the sanctity of life argument? If you argue that it is up to God to decide which foetus lives or dies logically God should decide which criminals live or die. If these States are so “pro-life” when it comes to the foetus then why aren’t they pro-life when it comes to “murder” outside of the womb? Why don’t these States advocate stricter gun laws? The real reason for anti-abortion laws has nothing to do with preservation of life or religion, it’s about controlling women. Are the Republican Governments that banned abortion going to financially support the women they are forcing to become mothers? Are the social problems that develop out of this hardship going to be blamed on these women? Banning abortion doesn’t stop abortion. It just creates illegal backyard clinics that are less safe.
3. Political Implications World Wide
Political decisions in American affect politics around the world. A number of politicians in Australia are known anti-choice advocates. If the anti-abortion issue gets knockdown in American politics our politicians will realise it is too sensitive an issue to raise especially during an election and will avoid it like the plague.
4. Reproduction should not be a Political Issue
Having children is a personal not a political issue. No woman takes the decision to abort a pregnancy lightly. It is a decision she will have to live with her entire life. No woman truly knows what decision she would make until she has an unplanned pregnancy. While it should be a shared responsibility, It is still women who are primarily responsible for raising children. So it is the woman who should make the decision about whether she is ready, willing and able to become a mother.
5. Responsibility for Sperm
Our patriarchal societies rarely raise the issue of men’s responsibility in baby making. Scientists have recently developed a male contraceptive pill. The immediate response to this news were comments such as “men will never take that”, “they can’t remember to take the rubbish bins out how will they remember to swallow a pill,” “I wouldn’t trust a man to take it” and “it may have major repercussions for safe sex if men stop using condoms.” Men need to “step up” and be more responsible for their swimmers. Many men don’t like using condoms and many probably won’t like taking a pill. Well, guess what? Many women don’t like swallowing pills either. They make us fatter and some women experience side effects. But we take the pill because we are responsible! We want to decide when we become a parent. Each time a man has sex he too should consider the possibility of becoming a parent and take precautions .Perhaps condoms should be compulsory.
6. The Need for Contraception
It is a known fact that there is a correlation between family size and standards of living. The fewer the offspring, the more resources available for education, clothing, shelter, food and material possessions. The world is overpopulated. We should encourage smaller families. Every child “that is born” has a right to a good education, nourishment, love and to be well looked after.
7. Women Must Vote
Women need to vote if they want to have control over their own bodies. Politicians need to be told “Hands off our bodies! We are capability of making our own decisions based on our own beliefs and values. Our bodies are not for you to politicise!”
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