Commentary: Why Can’t the GOP Shut Up About Rape?

Yet another Republican politician tried to look for the silver lining in rape, and yet again he sounded foolish.

Posted: 10/27/2012 10:00 AM EDT
Commentary: Why Can’t the GOP Shut Up About Rape?

Yet another Republican politician recently tried to look for the silver lining in rape. This time Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock is the one who is drawing attention — for all the wrong reasons.

Mourdock came under fire for suggesting that pregnancies that happen as the result of rape are acts of God.

During a debate on Tuesday, Mourdock said, "I came to realize life is that gift from God. I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."

Mourdock later issued a non-apology apology, stating that he was sorry that people misinterpreted his comments, but said he wasn’t apologizing for the sentiments.

"I'm confident God abhors violence and rape, if they came away with any impression other than that, I truly regret it," he said in his apology. "I apologize if they came away, and I have certainly been humbled by the fact that so many people think that that somehow was an interpretation."

That message hasn’t been lost on President Obama, who went on NBC’s Tonight Show and told host Jay Leno, unequivocally, “rape is rape.”

"I don't know how these guys come up with these ideas," Obama told Leno. "Let me make a very simple proposition: Rape is rape. It is a crime. And so these various distinctions about rape don't make too much sense to me — don't make any sense to me."

Let’s look back at who else within the GOP has weighed in on rape, shall we?

Back in August, Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin, a Republican, said in an interview that in cases of “legitimate rape,” a woman’s body is able to “shut down” the possibility of a pregnancy. In the ensuing weeks, some Republicans either coming to Akin’s defense or trying to explain their own views on abortion have said similarly reprehensible things.

And also former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee tried to remind Americans that sometimes rape pregnancies result in really great people.

Liberal activists and women’s rights advocates have been rightfully outraged at all the Republicans’ rape comments, which have added fuel for the so called War on Women that’s been taking place in the U.S. for months now. As they argue, the GOP equivocating on whether some rapes are more valid than others, or asking people to look on the bright side of rape pregnancies, loses sight of a very important fact: Rape is rape, and rape is a crime.

What just doesn’t make sense is that oftentimes the politicians making these statements about rape are men, who not only don’t suffer with the threat of rape the way women do, but who also shouldn’t have the gall to tell women who are raped what to do with their bodies. Male politicians can’t operate like they have dominion over women’s bodies like this and then be surprised when other men operate like they have dominion over women’s bodies and attack them. In both instances, the goal is controlling women, and both are terrible.

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(Photo: AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

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