Reproductive rights remain up in the air

This week is it. The next president will be decided and all those annoying political ads will finally come to a close. At this point, it feels like they have been going on forever.

So what will happen? For only one day after this article runs will we be unsure. But sex and reproductive rights have been a huge part of this year’s political discussions. Many opinions and false facts have been tossed around and have become viral on Facebook and other media. Before it became less relevant, I wanted to go through some of them.

The first statement that comes to mind was about the need- or lack thereof- for abortions in rape cases by Todd Akin. He claimed that doctors had told him that when legitimately raped, a woman’s body will prevent itself from getting pregnant.

One, this is not true. Some form of birth control is what would prevent a woman from becoming pregnant after being raped. The body does not differentiate between rape and consensual intercourse and decide to stop a process.

Two, what is “legitimate rape”? He may have meant violent rape where it is clear the woman is being raped. This invalidates women who are raped through manipulation and guilt, which is also emotional abuse (see my last article).

Unfortunately, he is not the only one to believe this. Back in 1995, Henry Aldridge said those who are truly raped don’t get pregnant because their “juices” don’t flow. Akin later claimed he misspoke, but never offered his alternative “medical advice.”

Some politicians have said that rape is God’s will. Richard Mourdock said recently that he believed life begins at conception and that even in cases of rape, abortions should not be allowed. One of his supporters, Sen. John Cornyn, agreed with Mourdock that life conceived in this manner was a gift from God.

Mourdock did say that he does not condone violence and rape. But when using the religion card, why is it not pointed out that rape is wrong? If life begins at conception, why is the aftermath punished rather than targeting the cause?

Gov. Mitt Romney has been wishy-washy on some issues, including when it comes to abortion and birth control. He has flipped on where he stands on abortion exceptions, from none to only cases of incest, rape and threat to the mother’s health or life. He has also reportedly said that he will get rid of Roe v. Wade and funding for Planned Parenthood.

Where he will land, nobody knows. But what statistics show is that more education about sex leads to less unplanned pregnancies and abortions. And stopping the problem at the source has shown more effective, not only in rape but a wide variety of other issues as well.

Kourtney Bailey

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