Todd Akin and the Gynotician Brigade

Credit: The Guardian

Credit: The Guardian

One year ago today, Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) said the following of pregnancies caused by rape:” If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Oh, okay. Because clearly to Akin, there are levels of rape, some legitimate and some not so legitimate. Does this not trivialize and mitigate the experiences of women who have been raped? You know what, I just cannot. Can. Not.

Last Friday, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) released a new report about 2013 abortion legislation and there are several things to be said about their findings, published by Jessica Mason Pieklo, Senior Legal Analyst at RH Reality Check.

1. 86 percent (235) of the 273 provisions that politicians introduced in state legislatures to restrict a woman’s access to abortion apply to a woman whose pregnancy resulted from rape.

2. 71 percent (27) of the 38 state provisions restricting women’s access to abortion enacted by the states apply to a woman whose pregnancy resulted from rape.

3. 72 percent (18 ) of the 25 bills introduced in Congress to restrict a woman’s access to abortion apply to a woman whose pregnancy resulted from rape.

The report goes into more detail:

1. At least 16 states introduced bills that would force rape survivors to have ultrasounds and listen to fetal heartbeats.

2. There were at least 30 provisions introduced in which abortions sought due to pregnancy from rape would not be covered by insurance.

3. In Iowa, low-income women who receive health insurance through Medicaid and are pregnant as a result of rape have no autonomy to seek abortions without the approval of the Governor.

4. Kansas, Alabama and several other states would require women, including rape survivors, to receive inaccurate information aimed at shaming and discouraging them from seeking an abortion.

The Brisbane Rape and Incest Survivors Support Centre states that “rape is one violent form of oppression and is a mechanism by which individuals or groups gain, express and maintain their dominance and power over others.”

These bills, some of them now laws, are grounded in ignorance. They are purposefully oppressive. This is the patriarchy at work, wanting to keep women ‘in their place.’ This is mansplaining. This is gynotician central. This is reality.

Listen, I’m pro-choice. I believe that every woman has the right to make decisions about her health care and body that are best for her. I strongly believe that the government has no place in my vagina; nor should it be regulating fertility, or forcing rape or incest survivors to carry a fetus to term. I’ve seen the hypocritical pro-life agenda at work when I went undercover to a Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC). One of the clinic workers explicitly asked me, “who are you to decide who gets to live and who gets to die?”

Now, I ask the same question of the creators and supporters of anti-abortion legislation: Who are YOU to decide?

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