The headline I had planned to use for this post today was “When Will The GOP Shut Up About Rape?” but Politico's is so much more fun. Just when we thought we'd seen the last of the “GOP rape guys” when both Akin and Mourdock lost their Senate races, Rep. Phil Gingrey of GA helpfully stepped up to fill the void and – of course – blame the media for reporting that Akin said:
“And in Missouri, Todd Akin … was asked by a local news source about rape and he said, ‘Look, in a legitimate rape situation’ — and what he meant by legitimate rape was just look, someone can say I was raped: a scared-to-death 15-year-old that becomes impregnated by her boyfriend and then has to tell her parents, that’s pretty tough and might on some occasion say, ‘Hey, I was raped.’ That’s what he meant when he said legitimate rape versus non-legitimate rape. But then he went on and said that in a situation of rape, of a legitimate rape, a woman’s body has a way of shutting down so the pregnancy would not occur. He’s partly right on that.”
Gingrey pointed out that he had been an OB-GYN since 1975.
“And I’ve delivered lots of babies, and I know about these things. It is true. We tell infertile couples all the time that are having trouble conceiving because of the woman not ovulating, ‘Just relax. Drink a glass of wine. And don’t be so tense and uptight because all that adrenaline can cause you not to ovulate.’ So he was partially right wasn’t he? But the fact that a woman may have already ovulated 12 hours before she is raped, you’re not going to prevent a pregnancy there by a woman’s body shutting anything down because the horse has already left the barn, so to speak. And yet the media took that and tore it apart.”
But then there are those pesky “facts:”
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said adrenaline wouldn’t have any impact on ovulation and said rape is “never legitimate.”
So, is the GOP going to “shut down” this type of talk by running candidates with at least some basic understanding of biology? We wish. They still think the problem is how the message is presented, not the warped worldview that uses terms like “legitimate rape.”
And it may have added new urgency to a training program that’s already being launched by an anti-abortion group — the Susan B. Anthony list — to keep candidates and lawmakers from continually making the same kind of comments that may have helped ruin Republicans’ chances of winning the Senate.
Marina Ein, whose public relations firm does crisis communications, said the party needs some kind of “sensitivity training” for its candidates if it wants to do better in the next elections.
“It all boils down to whether or not the Republican Party thinks this is a problem,” she said. “If they want to make inroads with women, then they need to subject every one of their candidates to sensitivity training — not to mention reality training.”
Here's a helpful suggestion…. Maybe the GOP could stop looking for reasons to excuse the behavior of rapists and start protecting the victims. Maybe by re-authorizing the “Violence Against Women Act” that they've blocked for months now.