Monday, August 27, 2012

Crazy As It Sounds

    Here's an exercise for you.  Compare the factual bases of these two statements:
Statement #1 - "It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." 
Statement #2 - "Crazy as it sounds, the fight to limit--or even ban--birth control is a key issue in the upcoming presidential election."
    The first statement is medically baseless, the phrasing offensive, and the claim is irrelevant to the underlying issue of an abortion exception in cases of rape.  Republican Todd Akin's words were roundly and universally condemned and repudiated, even by Akin himself.   In addition to rejecting the statement itself, most Republicans and conservative politicians and pundits went on record calling for Akin to drop out of his Senate race against Claire McCaskill to avoid further damage to Republican electoral chances as well as the pro-life cause.  After a week of collecting signatures on a petition of support for Akin to stay in the race, he has managed to get only 7,760 (as of Monday morning.)  Given that McCaskill herself has not even called for Akin to drop out (which would not be in her best interest,) it's unclear how many of those 7,760 signers would even be Akin voters.  Based on the 2006 Senate election in Missouri, Akin will need over a million votes to beat McCaskill, a long way to go from 7,760.  Clearly support among Republicans and conservatives (and even pro-lifers) for Akin is meager, and support for his absurd statement is non-existent.
    Statement #2 appeared in an article written by Gretchen Voss in the September 2012 issue of Women's Health Magazine.  This statement is as baseless as Akin's and truly is as "crazy as it sounds." There is no Republican or conservative candidate for national office (or any candidate anywhere that I am aware of, and Voss cites none in her article) calling for birth control to be limited or banned, and yet Voss has the temerity to call this a "key issue in the upcoming presidential election."  Voss takes the objections of religious institutions to being forced to violate their beliefs and consciences by providing insurance that covers contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients, and turns it into a "fight to limit--or even ban--birth control."  Opposition to government funding of the same is also part of the "fight to limit--or even ban--birth control."  This is akin to past accusations that Republican efforts to control welfare spending or EPA regulation amount to "killing children."  The leap of logic is outrageous and indefensible.
    And here's the difference in the reaction to the two statements.  As I noted, the first has been nearly universally condemned and rejected.  But the second statement?  It was tweeted over the weekend by the campaign of President Barack Obama to the objection of... no one.
    If they are willing to say this now, one wonders what statements the Obama campaign is holding in reserve for the last month or week of the campaign.

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