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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Where Babies Come From

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Right-wing conservatives may have made a mistake by fighting so hard to keep sex education out of our schools for so many years.

Every time Republican politicians try to interfere with the rights of women to make their own decisions about whether to give birth, they make fools of themselves by revealing how little they actually know about where babies come from.

The Republican majority in Wisconsin’s Legislature did it again while throwing up more hurdles to try to prevent women from getting abortions and at the same time adding new restrictions on access to contraception.

Opposition to abortion, of course, is based upon a religious belief that life begins at conception. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with holding such a belief. In a democracy, we’re free to hold whatever religious beliefs we choose. It’s one of the principles upon which this country is founded.

What’s unacceptable in a democracy is politicians passing laws to impose their own personal religious beliefs upon others who hold different religious beliefs. It’s the same democratic principle of religious freedom for everybody. You’d think conservative Republicans who claim to be such big fans of the Constitution would understand that.

Even more absurd is the contradiction of folks who profess to oppose abortion also trying to restrict access to contraception that could completely eliminate any need for women to decide whether to have an abortion in the first place.

But, then, it’s become obvious a lot of Republican politicians don’t know very much about sexual reproduction.

During the last election, several high-profile Republican candidates embarrassed their party nationally by revealing their bizarre misconceptions about how women become pregnant. Or don’t.

While running for the U.S. Senate in Missouri, Republican Congressman Todd Akin came up with the “magical body” theory that in the case of legitimate rape, as opposed to women just claiming they were raped, “the female body has a way to shut that whole thing down.”

Indiana Republican Richard Mourdock, who defeated a much brighter Republican, Sen. Richard Lugar, in a primary, then assured the election of a Democrat by besmirching the reputation of his own deity, declaring if a woman were impregnated by a rapist, “that is something God wants to happen.”

You’d think Republicans would learn by now to stop spreading fairy tales about rape and pregnancy in their efforts to prevent women who are forcibly raped from ending a pregnancy.

But just last week Republican Congressman Trent Franks of Arizona made the demonstrably false claim that new abortion restrictions don’t need to include an exception for rape and incest because “incidents of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low.”

 

Widespread Sexual Ignorance in the GOP

There’s obviously widespread sexual ignorance among Republican men. But the problem actually goes much deeper than that.

Most men get accused of it sometime in their lives, but, boy, is it obvious that Republican men know nothing at all about women.

Notice how most of the misinformation about abortion comes from Republican men. Oh, sure, a few Republican female extremists—like state Sen. Mary Lazich of New Berlin—willingly stand with the party’s ignorant male leadership.

But conservative men, who have never given birth, set the condescending tone of the debate by describing a woman’s choice to terminate a pregnancy as some kind of frivolous, girly decision. Women eagerly have as many abortions as possible, according to these Republicans.

Nothing could be further from the truth. A crisis pregnancy is exactly that, for very personal reasons. It also takes a particularly cruel adult to demand that an 11-year-old girl be forced to give birth as punishment for her sins.

Since a woman’s right to choose is the law of the land, opponents want to make exercising that right as ugly and uncomfortable as possible. Their restrictions are the legal equivalent of those seedy derelicts you see outside clinics waving bloody pictures in the faces of scared young women.

In fact, one of the laws Wisconsin legislators passed just last week would require any woman considering an abortion to receive an ultrasound and for the doctor or technician to show her the image of the fetus and describe it to her in great physical detail.

The only way a woman can avoid such emotional pain intentionally being inflicted upon her is to close her eyes, put her fingers in her ears and hum.

Other law changes would add financial costs by closing clinics, banning tax money for abortion in public employee health plans and allowing religious groups to refuse to provide contraception through employee insurance.

News flash for Republicans: Even though women’s magical body parts don’t prevent abortions, contraceptives do.

There may be a rational explanation for why so many older Republicans are so misinformed about sex.

When many of them were growing up, politicians who were even more clueless passed laws requiring packages of condoms to carry the brazenly dishonest phrase: “Sold for Prevention of Disease Only.”

True story.