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Rape: Political issue

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Richard Mourdock, GOP nominee for U.S. Senate in Indiana, said during a debate that when a woman gets pregnant from a rape, "it is something that God intended to happen." What sanctimonious gibberish.

The White House said Mourdock's outlook is "outrageous and demeaning to women." Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., scorned "Mourdock's heinous views on rape."

Columnist Barb Shelly wrote that Mourdock "is willing to impose his personal religious beliefs on rape victims." She added that plenty of women "are pretty sure that God did not intend them to get pregnant from a rape."

Another Republican Senate nominee, Todd Akin of Missouri -- who once was arrested while picketing women's clinics -- said a female can't become pregnant from a "legitimate rape" because her body repels the attacker's sperm.

Where does the GOP get these kooks? Why do right-wing male politicians keep making a political issue out of rape and sex? Why does conservative hostility to birth control and pregnancy termination keep jumping into the 2012 election campaign? It all smacks of old-fashioned Puritanism that should have faded long ago.

Rape is a grimly serious topic for millions of American women. More than 200,000 U.S. females over age 12 are assaulted each year, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network estimates. Many attacks aren't fully completed. However, 64,000 complete rapes occurred in 2004-05, producing 3,200 pregnancies, the organization says.

"Each year, thousands of women become pregnant as the result of rape, and many more survivors are faced with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other long-term results of the crime," RAINN declared.

The group says, "17.7 million American women have been victims of attempted or completed rape."

Yet the 2012 Republican national platform opposes all abortions, with no exception for rape or incest. In other words, ravaged women should be forced to bear their attackers' babies.

The platform also says pregnancies mustn't be terminated to save women's lives. Last week, a Republican nominee for Congress, Joe Walsh of Illinois, said such action never is needed -- but women's rights groups replied that he's "flat wrong." A GOP bill in Congress would let a woman die, rather than halt her pregnancy.

The GOP "war on women" is a peculiar aspect of the current election campaign. Presidential nominee Mitt Romney has demanded an end to funding for Planned Parenthood. Another Republican caused a national uproar when she induced the Susan Komen Foundation to halt support of Planned Parenthood.

South Dakota Republican legislators even drafted a bill to decriminalize the killing of doctors who end pregnancies.

Thank heaven, the election will be over soon, and maybe the war on women will fade from headlines.


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