Monday, March 12, 2012

You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means: How the GOP Became the (Mostly) Boys Who Cried ‘Rape’

The Republican Party has a big problem with rape.

I’m sorry. I made a mistake there. Let me start over.

The Republican Party has a big problem with understanding the meaning of the word rape.

There, that’s better.

Their problem is that they all seem to think that the definition of “rape” is “Obamacare.”

Take for instance the testimony of Dr. C. Ben Mitchell, a biomedical ethics professor at Union University, who testified at Republican Rep. Darrell Issa’s all-male, all-religious hearing on the secular issue of birth control for women. He called Obamacare’s mandate that insurer’s provide birth control for women “nothing less than the rape of the soul.”

Or take Republican Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall, Republican Virginia State Senator Dick Black and Republican Oklahoma State Representative Charles Key who recently submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court saying that Obamacare’s individual mandate is “not regulation of voluntary commercial intercourse; it is more akin to forcible economic rape.” See? There’s that word again.

Let’s put aside for the moment the more Birth-of-a-Nation-y aspects of the GOP’s willingness to throw the word “rape” around so flippantly with regards to the singular achievement of the country’s first black president. Suffice it to say, I don’t recall Bill Clinton — who introduced a similar healthcare plan, and who actually was guilty of some degree of sexual misconduct — ever being called a rapist.

Instead, and at the risk of going completely mad, let’s carry the GOP’s position to its logical extreme. Anyone who watched Wednesday’s Arizona debate saw the candidates fall all over themselves to declare which one wants to help rape victims the least. The exchange I have in mind is this one:

JOHN KING: It's an issue on which all of you have criticism on the Obama administration, it's an issue on which some of you have also criticized each other.
Governor Romney, both Senator Santorum and Speaker Gingrich have said during your tenure as governor, you required Catholic hospitals to provide emergency contraception to rape victims.  And Mr. Speaker, you compared the president to President Obama, saying he infringed on Catholics' rights.  Governor, did you do that?

MITT ROMNEY: No, absolutely not. Of course not.  There was no requirement in Massachusetts for the Catholic Church to provide morning-after pills to rape victims. That was entirely voluntary on their report. There was no such requirement.

You know, because when a woman is forcibly assaulted resulting in an unwanted pregnancy, which she must make the difficult decision to terminate, the real victim is the hospital.

But let’s finish that thought. According to the Republican Party, Obamacare is rape. According to the Republican Party, rape victims shouldn’t have access to birth control.

Deductive reasoning should apply here. Sorry you got Obamacare-raped GOP, but it looks like you’re going to have to carry this healthcare reform baby to term.

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