By Nikolas Williams
In August, Republican Rep. Todd Akin claimed that it was a rare thing for a woman to be impregnated from rape. As long as it was a “legitimate rape” the female body would find a way to “shut that whole thing down.”
On November 6th, Election Day, he lost the Missouri Senate race to Democrat Claire McCaskill who successfully defended her seat.
Sen. Richard Mourdock (R) said in late October, “I came to realize life is a gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
He lost his Senate seat in the election to Rep. Joe Donnelly in Indiana.
Rep. Joe Walsh in a debate against Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth, claimed abortion was never necessary as a method for saving a woman’s life.
In regards to women dying in childbirth he said, “With modern technology and science, you can’t find one instance.”
He lost to Duckworth by nearly 10 points, losing his congressional seat in Illinois.
Cary resident and Director of Nursing at Visiting Angels, Mary Haft, had much to say in regards of each of the Republican politicians’ statements.
“I think the biggest issue in [Akin’s legitimate rape] statement is the fact that he says legitimate…when is any violation of another human being legitimate?” She continued, “[A woman’s body is] going to have the same amount of endorphins, epinephrine, and lubrication released. It’s not going to know the difference between that [in regards to rape] and a heavy wedding night. People have active and aggressive sex all the time—and babies are born.”
Haft is a Christian, but nonetheless found Mourdock’s claims of divine involvement equally offensive.
“Based on what we are taught humans have been given free will and not everything is an act of God.”
As for Walsh’s comment that women no longer die in childbirth, Haft said, “That’s news to the medical community. As a registered nurse I have never heard of such a thing. It would be quite a feat.”
Though he didn’t gain the same level of press coverage for saying so, former presidential candidate Sen. Rick Santorum (R), shares the same views on criminalizing abortion as the previously mentioned politicians, even in the case of rape and incest.
Santorum said on Meet the Press, “That would be taking a life, and I believe that any doctor who performs an abortion would be criminally charged for doing so. I’ve never supported criminalization of abortion for mothers, but I do for doctors who perform it.”
Haft sees Santorum’s scope as limited, “It’s going back to his particular religion and faith. You’re not supposed to be able to impose your religious beliefs on everybody in the United States of America. We don’t live in Santorumland.”
The goal of the politicians is clear: to roll back 1973 Supreme Court ruling Rove v. Wade, in which it was determined that a Texas law that only allowed abortion in the case of the mother’s safety was unconstitutional. The court decision would legalize the procedure nationwide.
The man who initially caught Haft’s attention for his comments on reproductive rights was not an elected official, but radio host Rush Limbaugh and his incendiary remarks against women’s rights activist Sandra Fluke.
When Fluke testified at an unofficial hearing against Georgetown University for not providing contraceptives with their health insurance policy, Limbaugh responded on his radio show February 29th, “It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex.”
Haft feels this conclusion reflects ignorance on Limbaugh’s part and shows a lack of knowledge when it comes to medicine. She explains that the amount of contraception a woman would have to take is in no way equivalent to the amount of sex she engages in.
“It only takes one pill a day. It isn’t millions upon millions of pills one person would have to take.”
In the October 6th online debate between Bill’ O Reilly and Jon Stewart, The Rumble 2012, O’Reilly said, “The poster person for the entitlement society is Sandra Fluke… Sandra, buy your own. We shouldn’t be paying for this or a lot of other stuff.” He also mocked her by claiming he purchased two tickets to the debate for her and a month’s supply of birth control pills she could have.
Stewart countered, “A good portion of this country has created an alternate universe in which the issues that we face revolve around a woman from Georgetown, who wanted birth control (which is a health issue for women) covered on her health insurance in the same way that Viagra is covered in many others.”
Haft’s main concern in the pro-life vs. pro-choice debate is the care of the infants after birth. She feels that the pro-life movement should extend beyond the life of the fetus.
“There’s an army trying to get you to have the baby, but there’s no army trying to help you maintain the life after it’s born and I’d like to see them do more of that,” she said.
Haft believes if there were more social programs in place that assisted pregnant women in dire straits, through daycare, schooling, healthcare, etc., then abortion rates would decline.