Wednesday, 22 August 2012
Fake doctors, medical studies and facts have become the bread and butter of the GOP-Republicans! (The took one MD's book from a century ago and turned it into thier bible of public policy which is even part of the party platform that Mitt Romney is supporting/running-on!)
Anderson Cooper tracks down the source of the "legitimate rape" rumors which have become GOP party policy...
How the antiabortion movement taught the Republican Party to hate science
Out of the various layers of falsehoods contained in Todd Akin’s now-notorious claim that “legitimate rape” cannot end in pregnancy, one that caused many eyebrows to raise the highest was his contention that “doctors” had told him that the female body has a way to prevent pregnancy from rape through a vague mechanism he described as “shut that whole thing down.” Surely no actual doctor would say such a thing, many of us thought. But we underestimated the right’s devotion to creating their own set of “facts,” backed up by their own “experts.” Just as conservatives have been able to pay handsomely for people with impressive-sounding credentials to spread lies about everything from global warming to weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, so have they been able to build up their own little empire of medical doctors who will say any fool thing about women’s bodies and pass it off as science.
If anything, the anti-choice movement was instrumental in shaping the conservative approach to science. Anti-choicers were among the first to realize that if the experts and the evidence counter your beliefs, you can simply make up your own claims and put them in the mouths of well-credentialed people. It’s just as good as the truth! Better, even, because it can be endlessly manipulated to meet new ideological goals.
The belief that rape induces unspecified contraceptive properties appears to have taken hold in the anti-choice movement after being promoted by Dr. Jack Willke, who claimed in 1971 that “assault rape” prevents pregnancy, because the assault makes the body unwelcoming to pregnancy. He continues to stand by this belief, including the “assault rape” language, demonstrating that there’s nothing new about the conservative tendency to insinuate that the victims bear the responsibility for the majority of rapes.
Willke cannot be regarded as a marginal or fringe character in the anti-choice movement. He was the president of the U.S. National Right to Life Committee and heralded by Mitt Romney’s campaign in 2007 as “a man who has meant so much to the pro-life movement in our country.” He’s written a number of books on sex and abortion, and really can be understood as an early adopter of the conservative school of disregarding inconvenient facts and passing off wishful thinking as if it were facts.
A website chronicling some of Willke’s writings under “Abortion: Questions and Answers” is a wonderland of lies and misinformation, starting with the claim that no state in the history of the world has ever permitted abortion prior to Roe v. Wade, even though abortion was largely legal in this country prior to the mid-19th century. He dramatically overstates the dangers of abortion, even going so far as to claim that women who get abortions run a strong chance of contracting hepatitis or HIV, or becoming sterile. He also opines that a prior abortion should make young women ineligible for marriage, because of all the supposed damage it does to her body, presumably making her an inadequate vessel to grow her husband’s heirs.
This strategy among anti-choicers of simply telling lies about how sex and reproduction works has been built into the movement from the beginning and continues to be one of its primary strategies. Anti-choicers continue to insist, despite the evidence to the contrary, that abortion causes breast cancer and suicide, and politicians have gone as far as forcing doctors to tell these lies to patients seeking abortions. Just this week, the ACLU had to sue a California school district for promoting hoary Christian right myths like “kissing spreads HIV” and recommending “plenty of rest” instead of condoms to prevent STDs. The Bush administration showed much love for the “making crap up” school of anti-choice medical science, by appointing Eric Keroack as deputy assistant secretary for population affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, even though Keroack promoted the belief that women who have multiple sexual partners are physically incapable of feeling love for their husbands or children.
Long before the larger Republican war on science, in other words, the anti-choice movement realized that by simply lying with a lot of footnotes, you could convince audiences who want to believe that any fool thing was scientific fact. Indeed, the anti-choice movement has functioned as a testing ground in many ways for various political strategies that go on to be adopted broadly among conservatives. They were among the first to realize that simply rebranding themselves with a nice-sounding name like “pro-life” could do a lot to cover their misogynist, sex-phobic roots. Since then, the strategy of misleading language has become central to the conservative mission, as we see with misleading phrases from “death panels” to “supporting traditional marriage.” They were among the first conservative movements to appropriate the imagery of the opposition, as well, claiming to be the heirs of the anti-slavery and civil rights movement while actively fighting to deprive women of basic civil rights.
Back in 1980, feminist writer Ellen Willis saw exactly how much the antiabortion movement really had become the leading edge of the larger conservative movement. She wrote at the time:
The antiabortion movement is the most dangerous political force in the country. I believe — and in saying this I intend no hyperbole whatsoever — that it is the cutting edge of neo-fascism, a threat not only to women’s rights and to everyone’s sexual freedom and privacy but to freedom of religion and civil liberties in general.
The subsequent years have demonstrated she was right in her suspicion that anti-choicers are the “cutting edge,” and where they go the rest of the movement would follow. Akin’s misinformation about the functions of the female body stems from a long history of anti-choice activists’ making up lies in order to stoke hysteria about women’s sexuality. Of course anti-choicers simply make up their own science when the actual facts don’t suit their purposes. They’re not just part of a larger conservative push to throw off the chains of “reality-based” thinking. When it comes to making up fake facts to support their positions, they’re the original gangsters.
Anderson Cooper then gets a Doctor that IS reading medical journals (&, I'm assuming is published in peer-reviewed medical journals unlike the crazy rape doctor!)...
Articles from Mother Jones and Salon explaining the GOP-Republican Platform on Rape...
In what will probably strike many people as a monumentally tone-deaf move, the GOP plans to include a plank in its 2012 platform calling for an amendment that would outlaw abortions under any circumstance. CNN reported on the draft language it obtained on Monday night, and the platform committee approved it on Tuesday:
"Faithful to the 'self-evident' truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed," the draft platform declares. "We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children."
This plank isn't new for the GOP; it was also part of the party's platform in 2008. But given the major flap this week over Missouri Republican Todd Akin's remark that women who are the victims of "legitimate rape" can't get pregnant and therefore a rape exception isn't necessary, the release of the draft language arrives at a pretty bad time for the GOP. Scores of Republicans have condemned Akin's remarks. But by including it in the platform, the party is formally aligning behind a position that shows the same disregard for women who are the victims of rape that Akin got pilloried for vocalizing.
The human life amendment—which is in line with the "personhood" bills that have proliferated in the states in recent years—would extend legal rights to fetuses at any stage of development. Most of the measures creating a new constitutional amendment that anti-abortion lawmakers have tried (and failed) to pass in Congress over the years have explicitly defined life as beginning at the "moment of fertilization," meaning they would effectively make all abortions illegal. That includes pregnancies that are the result of rape or incest, or if the life of the woman is at risk, since the amendment would make the fertilized egg and the woman equals in the eyes of the law. This type of amendment would also likely outlaw forms of contraception that prevents the implantation of a fertilized egg.
The topic of personhood has been a sticky one for Mitt Romney, who has tried to have it both ways on the issue; he voiced his support for a human life amendment in 2007, but during a GOP presidential debate last September he said that such an amendment would create a "constitutional crisis." On the campaign trial, he tried to distance himself from the personhood crowd, but now that his party is once again incorporating the measure into its platform, it will be a tough subject for him to keep avoiding.
When it come to reproductive rights, the platform doesn't stop at fetal personhood. It also includes a shout-out to other efforts limiting women's abortion access around the country, according to CNN:
Republicans have also inserted a "salute" to states pushing "informed consent" laws—an apparent reference to ultrasound bills that have moved through some state legislatures—"mandatory waiting periods prior to an abortion, and health-protective clinic regulation."
His remarks reveal, again, what Republicans believe about abortion, and women
Todd Akin, the Congressman with the curiously dead eyes, did voters a favor with his public airing of his belief that “legitimate” rape will not cause pregnancy.
Besides being disavowed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, presidential candidate Mitt Romney ]denounced Akin’s words as “outrageous,” and GOP officials called for Akin to step down. What’s lost in this fray, and what is most important for women voters, is that as bizarre as Akin’s statement was, it is in complete accordance with the official GOP platform: a ban on abortion with no exceptions for rape–or incest. This is the same platform it brought to the 2008 convention and the 2004 one.
It’s not often that the veil slips and we are allowed to see the men behind the curtain, furiously manipulating their buttons and levers to fuel the War Against Women. Yes, the fact that Akin, a senior member of the House Science Committee, can state, without attribution or a single peer-reviewed study, that the female reproductive system is a sort of sentient being that can ascertain if sperm are deposited with the consent of the woman or not—and act accordingly, defies logic. But this kind of thinking fits in with the GOP’s regressive agenda, for example the Virginia’s proposed cruel and rape-ish Virginia ultrasound law, where a woman who requests an abortion would have had to endure being penetrated by a vaginal wand for no medical reason. Pro and anti-choice women should be protesting this.
Perhaps what has made anti-abortion women a bit too comfortable and complacent in their position, not really thinking through exactly what it is these politicians are pushing for, is that for decades the choice of a legal, safe abortion has been available. The best example of this is über-conservative Sarah Palin, who routinely spoke on the campaign trail about the “agonizing choice” to continue her pregnancy with a Down syndrome baby.
That’s a pro-choice stance.
The blind spot of anti-choice women is believing they will never be in a situation where they will seek an abortion until they are in a situation where they want an abortion. According to the Guttmacher Institute, about half of American women will have an unintended pregnancy, and nearly one-third will have an abortion by age 45. For sure, there are some women who vote Republican, if not avowed anti-choicers, in those figures. I know this firsthand because I have spent the last eight years shadowing and interviewing OB-gyns as research for my novel-in-progress, “The Einstein Code.” What I found: “pro-life” women have abortions for the same reasons pro-choice women do: they can’t afford a new baby, they didn’t want the baby, they were too young, they were unmarried, there was a genetic defect or they didn’t want children.
It’s part of human nature to change your mind, to change your views, or even be a hypocrite. However, if the GOP ascends to power and implements its agenda, this choice regarding control of what happens in a woman’s body during pregnancy could be taken away.
The stakes can be hard to visualize, given the Romney campaign’s skillful soft-sell —look at his kids and grandkids! Paul Ryan likes the outdoors and has a six-pack! Butif the material results of the GOP platform should pass, it will mean they’ve won the war on women: no equal pay, cuts in social services that land hardest on women with children, no insurance coverage for contraception, bans on abortion and possibly birth control). Given that parts of this scenario have already come to pass, let’s imagine it even further: say when you registered with a political party, you receive party-specific healthcare with it. For GOP women, this would mean no access to abortion or support for contraception. This is what the Republican party is pushing for, but this would never happen, because people would have to face up to what they really believe.
The GOP brilliantly softens its draconian ideas via clever PR. As such, the War on Women becomes a “culture war,” oppression of women’s lives is “pro-life.” Paul Ryan physically embodies this skill. Young, handsome and charismatic, a “nice guy,” he voted for the Orwellian “Protect Life” bill that will in essence allow hospitals to have the option to allow women to die by withholding emergency abortions.
Not so long ago, there was another young and attractive anti-choice VP candidate chosen to glam up the GOP ticket and bring in the ladies: Dan Quayle. When asked what he, as a stalwart abortion foe, would do should his daughters become pregnant as a result of rape answered: “My position is that I understand from a medical situation, immediately after a rape is reported, that a woman normally, in fact, can go to the hospital and have a D and C.”
His solution, the D and C, of course, is an abortion.
Akin is far from being alone in his ignorance about female biology; it’s obvious he has not bothered to learn about this science that’s been commended to him even in the most cursory way, much the same way Romney told women to vote for him because he’ll learn everything he needs to about economic issues important to women “from Ann.”
But again, in a candid moment, we have caught a glimpse of what the Romney-Akin-Ryan GOP is up to. A combination of obfuscation, prettifying, magical thinking, and—this is pivotal—an assumption that women are so dumb and incurious that we won’t note what they are saying and doing. In the cacophony of the campaign season, we should be glad the spotlight is on this issue of basic female personhood, and voters of any political persuasion who are women or know women should be grateful for this opportunity to take heed.
Learn more about the GOP-Republicans pro-rape policies...