“Rape” and “Republican” have been two terms that have been mixed together with an uncomfortable frequency since the 2012 presidential election season.
The first time came via Missouri Rep. Todd Akin, who blew a good chance at a US Senate seat when he “misspoke” about mixing the sex crime with pregnancy.
In an August 2012 interview, Akin said, “First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s [pregnancy] really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. You know I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”
Public opinion broke hard against Akin. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney thought Akin should step down. Even conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh called the remark “stupid.”
“This was an absolutely ridiculous thing to say, to start qualifying rape in any way, legitimate — I know he apologized for it, but it’s still an indication that there’s more there that could potentially bubble up and be harmful,” Limbaugh said.
Well, about seven months after Akin’s initial comment, another Republican has joined the club. In March, California Republican Assembly president Celeste Greig went in to Webster’s mode in defining the term and caused her own party to oust her from her position last weekend.
Huffington Postreported on the incident at the time it happened. Greig, speaking to a Bay Area News Group reporter, had just finished criticizing Akin’s remarks as “insensitive” right before agreeing with him.
“Granted, the percentage of pregnancies due to rape is small because it’s an act of violence, because the body is traumatized,” she added. “I don’t know what percentage of pregnancies are due to the violence of rape. Because of the trauma the body goes through, I don’t know what percentage of pregnancy results from the act.”
(Incidentally, the Scientific American reported on a “legitimate” study in 2012 that found conception as the result of rape is about as common as conception from consensual sex.)
And here’s another take:
If the California Republican Assembly vote is any indication, tides seem to be turning against dumb rape remarks. The CRA voted 84-78 to shed Celeste Greig.
Aaron Park, conservative blogger for RightOnDaily, summed up the danger of keeping Greig in office in a post prior to last weekend’s vote.
“If for some strange reason Celeste Greig gets re-elected, the future of the CRA is in extreme peril because no one running for office will want a CRA endorsement.”
Park affirmed the CRA’s anti-abortion position, but reminded that “you cannot put faith in someone who’s talking about the virtue of saving babies but looks like they don’t care about women who are sexually assaulted.”
Do you think Celeste Greig’s rape comment was as incendiary as it has been portrayed? Did the CRA make the right call removing her from office for it?