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Dear Mr. Akin, I Want You to Imagine...

Dear Todd Akin,

I am writing to you tonight about rape. It is 2 AM and I am unable to sleep here in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I am in Bukavu at the City of Joy to serve and support and work with hundreds, thousands of women who have been raped and violated and tortured from this ceaseless war for minerals fought on their bodies.

I am in Congo but I could be writing this from anywhere in the United States, South Africa, Britain, Egypt, India, Philippines, most college campuses in America. I could be writing from any city or town or village where over half a billion women on the planet are raped in their lifetime.

Mr. Akin, your words have kept me awake.

As a rape survivor, I am reeling from your recent statement where you said you misspoke when you said that women do not get pregnant from legitimate rape, and that you were speaking “off the cuff.”

Clarification. You didn’t make some glib throw away remark. You made a very specific ignorant statement clearly indicating you have no awareness of what it means to be raped. And not a casual statement, but one made with the intention of legislating the experience of women who have been raped. Perhaps more terrifying: it was a window into the psyche of the GOP.

You used the expression “legitimate” rape as if to imply there were such a thing as “illegitimate” rape. Let me try to explain to you what that does to the minds, hearts and souls of the millions of women on this planet who experience rape. It is a form of re-rape. The underlying assumption of your statement is that women and their experiences are not to be trusted. That their understanding of rape must be qualified by some higher, wiser authority. It delegitimizes and undermines and belittles the horror, invasion, desecration they experienced. It makes them feel as alone and powerless as they did at the moment of rape.

When you, Paul Ryan and 225 of your fellow co-sponsors play with words around rape suggesting only “forcible” rape be treated seriously as if all rapes weren’t forcible, it brings back a flood of memories of the way the rapists played with us in the act of being raped — intimidating us, threatening us,muting us. Your playing with words like “forcible” and “legitimate” is playing with our souls which have been shattered by unwanted penises shoving into us, ripping our flesh, our vaginas, our consciousness, our confidence, our pride, our futures.

Now you want to say that you misspoke when you said that a legitimate rape couldn’t get us pregnant. Did you honestly believe that rape sperm is different than love sperm, that some mysterious religious process occurs and rape sperm self-destructs due to its evilcontent? Or, were you implying that women and their bodies are somehow responsible for rejecting legitimate rape sperm, once again putting the onus on us? It would seem you were saying that getting pregnant after a rape would indicate it was not a “legitimate” rape.

Here’s what I want you to do. I want you to close your eyes and imagine that you are on your bed or up against a wall or locked in a small suffocating space. Imagine being tied up there and imagine some aggressive, indifferent, insane stranger friend or relative ripping off your clothes and entering your body — the most personal, sacred, private part of your body — and violently, hatefully forcing themself into you so that you are ripped apart. Then imagine that stranger’s sperm shooting into you and filling you and you can’t get it out. It is growing something in you. Imagine you have no idea what that life will even consist of, spiritually made in hate, not knowing the mental or health background of the rapist.

Then imagine a person comes along, a person who has never had that experience of rape, and that person tells you, you have no choice but to keep that product of rape growing in you against your will and when it is born it has the face of your rapist, the face of the person who has essentially destroyed your being and you will have to look at the face every day of your life and you will be judged harshly if you cannot love that face.

I don’t know if you can imagine any of this (leadership actually requires this kind of compassion), but if you are willing to go to the depth of this darkness, you will quickly understand that there is NO ONE WHO CAN MAKE THAT CHOICE to have or not have the baby, but the person carrying that baby herself.

I have spent much time with mothers who have given birth to children who are the product of rape. I have watched how tortured they are wrestling with their hate and anger, trying not to project that onto their child.

I am asking you and the GOP to get out of my body, out of my vagina, my womb, to get out of all of our bodies. These are not your decisions to make. These are not your words to define.

Why don’t you spend your time ending rape rather than redefining it? Spend your energy going after those perpetrators who so easily destroy women rather than parsing out manipulative language that minimizes their destruction.

And by the way you’ve just given millions of women a very good reason to make sure you never get elected again, and an insanely good reason to rise.

#ReasonToRise

Eve Ensler
Bukavu, Congo

So well written. So strong, and hell to the yeah.

ACOG's (American College if Obstetricians and Gynecologists) Statement on Rape and Pregnancy

Washington, DC — Recent remarks by a member of the US House of Representatives suggesting that “women who are victims of ‘legitimate rape’ rarely get pregnant” are medically inaccurate, offensive, and dangerous.

Each year in the US, 10,000–15,000 abortions occur among women whose pregnancies are a result of reported rape or incest. An unknown number of pregnancies resulting from rape are carried to term. There is absolutely no veracity to the claim that “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down.” A woman who is raped has no control over ovulation, fertilization, or implantation of a fertilized egg (ie, pregnancy). To suggest otherwise contradicts basic biological truths.  

Any person forced to submit to sexual intercourse against his or her will is the victim of rape, a heinous crime. There are no varying degrees of rape. To suggest otherwise is inaccurate and insulting and minimizes the serious physical and psychological repercussions for all victims of rape.


Mr. Akin, please don’t put words in the mouths of me or my colleagues. This doctor recognizes that rape can and does result in pregnancy, that there are no varying degrees of rape, and that no woman should be forced out of making her own choices regarding her reproductive health. Proud of ACOG to quickly, concisely, and affirmatively put down any semblance of tacit agreement by issuing a statement. Mr. Akin, we’re entitled to our own opinions, but we’re not entitled to our own facts.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

montereycunt:

Tonight Rachel Maddow discussed a disgusting & outrageous website, abortiondocs.org, that is apart of the pro life organization Operation Rescue. Abortiondocs.org lists the names of abortion doctors and clinics along with their pictures, address, phone numbers and a google map of their location. (They also use the term “America’s Abortion Cartel”,ughhh) The site claims to denounce the use of violence against abortion providers but as Maddow points out, this website is an updated and mass database version of the the earlier wanted posters that helped anti abortion terrorists murder doctors. Good for the Feminist Majority Foundation for contacting the FBI and the Dept. of Justice to make sure they are aware of this website.

Rachel Maddow, I adore you and your great coverage of abortion and women’s rights.

::applause:: You go girl!

propaganda-for-life:

whodreamedit:

I got this through my mailbox today.  This was my response:

Mr. Conder,

Today I received your note on abortion through my mailbox, and I would like to respond to several points you raised.  I hope you won’t mind me doing so, as you provided an e-mail address (and so presumably desire feedback).

In the first place, I would argue that abortion is not ‘the ultimate’ form of child abuse.  This argument is logically invalid given that ‘child’ implies a conscious, sentient human baby able to feel pain and process emotions such as fear, anxiety and concern (emotions and feelings consistent with the abuse you claim ‘victims’ of abortion would feel - emotions and feelings that would constitute abuse).  Most abortions are performed within the first trimester.  In Western Australia, it is illegal for a woman to abort her fetus after the 20th week of pregnancy (eight weeks before the beginning of the third trimester) unless the baby is likely to be born with a severe medical condition.  Given that fetus does not develop even the beginnings of a brain stem until 7 weeks, and is not capable of consciousness until the third trimester (some scientists believe consciousness does not even occur until birth) it is logically invalid to call the abortion of an embryo or fetus ‘child abuse’.  The fetus is not conscious.  The neocortex (which is responsible for pain reception) does not develop until early on in the third trimester (well after the cut-off date for elective abortions).  Therefore, to say the abortion of a first - or even a second trimester fetus - is abusive is ludicrous.  I point you to this article on fetal brain and cognitive development by Rhawn Joseph, Ph.D: http://brainmind.com/FetalBrainDevelopment.html

To resume - you go on to express you shock and disappointment that 95 state politicians refuse to ‘do anything’ to end abortion, and that none of them would help introduce a private member’s bill on the subject into parliament.  Mr. Conder, we in Australia are fortunate enough to live in a democracy.  Whilst I have the greatest respect for people who stand up for what they find to be injust within our society and government, I can’t help but feel that if (as you put it) the “…population seems to accept it,” that might indicate that the majority is in favour of abortion, rather than against it. 

Your statistics regarding the number of babies to die every 14 minutes confused me.  Is that one baby every 14 minutes in Western Australia?  In Australia?  In the southern hemisphere?  In the world?  You imply (given the context of your note) that these babies are all aborted fetuses.  This seems highly unlikely given that the number of reported legal abortions in W.A. in 2008 was 5738.  That means that in 2008, in W.A., 0.01 fetuses were aborted every minute (0.14 every 14 minutes). Even allowing for a massive swell in the number of legal abortions in W.A. since 2008, and a small margin of growth for unreported abortions (legal or otherwise), I find it highly unlikely that that tiny figure could have swelled from 0.14 per 14 minutes to 1. I found those 2008 statistics here - http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/index.html - if it interests you.  Admittedly the number of abortions in the USA (for example) is much higher, but given their much larger population, that is to be expected.  Also, your note seems to be targeted primarily at W.A. as a state, therefore statistics from other states (and certainly other countries) don’t seem to be particularly relevent to the discussion.

Admittedly, another site I found cited the number of abortions in Australia as likely much higher (80,000 - 90,000 per year) and whilst to me this seems like a more accurate figure than a meagre 5738, the source is a pro-life website (who seem to have more to gain by skewing statistics in their favor).  They say their source is ‘‘Pregnancy Outcome in South Australia 2002’ Department of Human Services, Government of South Australia’, which leaves me baffled as to whether this is an Australiawide or statewide figure (though the numbers would suggest it to be nationwide).  These statistics support your claim, if your initial claim was one death every 14 minutes Australiawide - but since you didn’t clarify, this becomes confusing.  You may view these statistics on this site: http://www.lifenetwork.org.au/_blog/Abortion_in_Australia/tag/Statistics/

I question your argument that ‘abortionists’ like Marie Stopes are “laughing all the way to bank” as the ‘abortionist’ you mention in this statement (Marie Stopes) is an international not-for-profit organisation.  I’m not sure which bank they are supposedly luaghing all the way to.  Furthermore, to suggest that any medical practitioner provides a service to the community in some misguided attempt at a get rich scheme is to severely undermine the work that they (meaning any medical practitioner) do.  That the medical practitioners who assist women in terminating pregnancies are carrying out an act you disagree with does not mean that they are any more or less motivated by financial gain than any other medical practitioner (be they pediatrician, surgeon, gynecologist, or anything else).

You are also incorrect that nobody ‘says or does’ anything to protest abortion in Western Australia.  A quick google search points me here: http://www.righttolife.asn.au/wa/default.htm  and here: http://www.prolife.org.au/ .  I am sure there are many local events these groups organise to which you could devote your time, where your voice would be heard and you could better aid your cause.

In closing, I would like to remind you that the Bible does not anywhere articulate a clear viewpoint on the issue of abortion.  Whilst every life is undeniably sacred (both Biblically and, one should hope, morally) the Bible also fails to confirm when exactly ‘life’ is said to begin.  In Genesis 2:7 we are told that God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being” but this refers specifically to the creation of Adam and Eve, which does not involve human sexual reproduction, conception or birth.  In Exodus 21:22-23 it is in fact implied that a fetus does not have the same legal status as a person, since if a man were to a push a woman who then miscarried, he would be required only to pay a fine, whereas if the fetus were considered a full person he would be punished more severely (as if he had taken a life). 

In my personal opinion, we should nurture and love the children that are born to us.  We should do our best never to hurt them, emotionally or otherwise.  We should never, ever, degrade, abuse or harm them.  Unfortunately many unplanned (or more accurately unwanted) pregnancies have the potential to end in situations where children are neglected, or worse. 

Ultimately, the choice to carry a fetus to term should lie with the individual who is pregnant: the individual woman (with the help and support of those whose views and opinions she values).  It is her body.  It is her choice.  No other man, woman or government should be able to dictate for her an event which is so completely life changing.  For anyone else to decide for her is to completely devalue the experience of pregnancy and the decision to (or to not) become a mother.

I hope you’ll consider the opinions I’ve expressed here, as I took the time to consider yours. 

Sincerely,

Whodreamedit

There are a few forms of child abuse that are a bit more “ultimate” than abortion, especially considering that a fetus cannot feel pain. Here are a few off the top of my head, in no particular order (obvious trigger warning):

  • Child sex crimes
  • Child slavery
  • Battery against a child
  • Verbal abuse against a child
  • Actual child murder

Now, about the last one: don’t you dare compare abortion to murder. This comparison is so ignorant it makes my blood boil. People who make this comparison have obviously never experienced for themselves the pain of an actual child being actually murdered. Until that happens in your life, and I sincerely hope it does not, don’t you dare compare the two. You have no right to speak about it with such authority.

Idaho Rejects Rape Exception In Abortion Bill Because ‘The Hand Of The Almighty’ Was At Work

brittanibotulism:

The Idaho bill’s House sponsor, state Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, told legislators that the “hand of the Almighty” was at work. “His ways are higher than our ways,” Crane said. “He has the ability to take difficult, tragic, horrific circumstances and then turn them into wonderful examples.”

Right, because rape is certainly the “higher way.”

Yes, because everything happens for a goddamn reason. What kind of god causes these tragic horrific acts of incest and rape? Yeah, there’s something very fucked up here. Actually, a lot of things are fucked up here. Seriously, separation of church and state here! Sepa-fucking-ration!

The bill does more than compel sexual assault victims to carry pregnancies to term, it makes it a felony to perform such an abortion and allows spouses and relatives to file legal injunctions against physicians who break the ban. “

My god I am so livid right now. 


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