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May 3, 2012
I’m getting caught up on my DVR news, and on the April 27th episode of The Rachel Maddow Show, Rachel spoke about the extreme anti-abortion bills that we’ve seen in the past year and half. She framed the information around Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, who is pretty much the only person who still wants to be considered for Vice President this November. McDonnell, who approved the transvaginal ultrasound bill that was all over the news this spring, recently clarified a comment from his spokesperson which made him sound more accepting of abortion than he really is. In a radio interview, he made clear that the only situation where he thinks abortion is justifiable is when the life of the mother is at risk. Apparently survivors of rape being able to choose what to do with their body is unjustifiable.
Add to this the fact that the Iowa legislature was one vote shy of eliminating state funding for abortions of pregnancies specifically caused by rape or incest. Since last July (the beginning of their current fiscal year), Medicaid funding has paid for only 16 abortions in Iowa. Ten of these pregnancies were aborted due to severe fetal anomalies, five due to the mother’s life being at risk, and one because the woman had been raped. The total cost to the state was less than $15,000. Apparently, if you’re poor, Iowa doesn’t care about what happens to your body.
Also note that Florida Governor Rick Scott just decided to veto $1.5 million in funding for rape crisis centers. He claims that “nobody was able to make it clear to him why rape crisis centers needed the new funding.” It’s unclear why he would lie about this, given that Jennifer Dritt, executive director of the Florida Council, provided the Governor with information that made the need for funding perfectly clear.
"We gave them information about the number of new survivors we have and we showed them that these rape crisis centers have waiting lists. Survivors are having to wait weeks, sometimes six weeks, in some programs three months to be seen. We included quotes from the programs about the waiting lists and what services they weren’t able to offer because of a lack of money. There is clearly an unmet need."
One of the questions that Rachel Maddow posed in her segment was asking where the line is between being extreme enough that you’d be considered adequately conservative to be Romney’s VP pick, and being rational enough that your position wouldn’t hurt the ticket in the general election. But when the answer is, “You must be against access and funding for abortion in all cases (with the occasional exception for life of the mother),” we have to ask ourselves how we got to the point when our decision for President and Vice President comes down to a choice between supporting survivors of abuse or ignoring them. We have to ask why the Republican party has been so extreme about women’s health care.
Is there a problem here that the Republicans are trying to address? Have rape victims just been coddled too much? Have rape victims had it too easy in America? Have they not had enough of other people doing things with their body that they don’t want to do? Is that a pressing problem that is calling out for Republican legislative intervention? Because the Republican party is cracking down on victims of rape and incest right now. They’re not cracking down on “rape” and “incest,” they’re cracking down on the victims of rape and incest.
These confusing laws from around the country may not be easy to make sense of, but if one thing’s certain, it’s that further abusing survivors of rape or incest by denying them affordable access to health care services and timely aid in crisis situations will not be acceptable in November’s general election.