Why Are Religious Conservatives So Bad When It Comes to Discussing Abortion?

When it comes to the 100% pro-life position regarding rape/incest exceptions, here’s an argument against allowing them that I can understand:

If the product of conception between two humans is a human, and if human life — including inchoate human life — is deserving of protection, then the manner of a baby’s conception is irrelevant to a determination of whether that inchoate life has the right to continued existence.

I don’t agree with that… but I understand that. If the pro-lifers left it at that, I think they’d be better off strategically.

Flashback to Todd Akin for a moment. Here’s what he said that go him into all the Trouble:

Todd Akin (via Christian Science Monitor)

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors, [pregnancy from rape] is really rare… If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Akin later said he didn’t mean “legitimate rape”… he meant “forcible rape.” Which really doesn’t help his case.

But the Illinois Family Institute is taking it a step further. Laurie Higgins admits that Akin said something awful (she points out that “legitimate rape” is an oxymoron)… but in her effort to spin it for the best, she somehow makes it even worse:

Akin’s disastrous sentence construction, which implies that some rapes are legitimate, communicated an idea that he does not believe and did not mean to say. The correct phraseology would be something like “legitimate claims of rape,” meaning that some claims are false, which of course is true. Some women claim to have been raped when actually they have not been raped.

I’m going to set aside the whole “some women lie about rape” thing right now…

But IFI thinks Todd Akin should have said this:

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors, [pregnancy from rape] is really rare… If it’s a legitimate claim of rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

HOW IS THAT BETTER?!

It would still be horribly offensive, not to mention untrue.

A Republican Senate candidate from Pennsylvania, Tom Smith, also said something incredibly ignorant about abortion yesterday. When a reporter asked Smith — a pro-lifer — what he’d do if a family member was raped, he said that he’d been through a similar experience already and his daughter chose to keep the baby.

“She chose life, and I commend her for that,” Smith said. “She knew my views but fortunately for me… she chose the way I thought. Now don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t rape.”

Then what was it? asked the reporter.

Smith came clean: His daughter had a baby out of wedlock.

His daughter chose to have sex with someone and he’s comparing that to a woman being forced to have sex against her will.

This is the state of the Republican Party.

(At least his daughter had a choice… a choice that Smith would take away from all other women if he had his way.)

Republicans have been digging their own graves every time they talk about abortion. Which is great for those of us who are pro-choice, but awful for the state of our country when people like this are getting elected all over the place.

But this is why the media needs to keep pressing Republicans on social issues like abortion and gay marriage. They don’t know how to talk about it in an effective way. Every time they open their mouths, they’re finding out that lines that get applause in church aren’t working with people outside of it. That’s a good sign. I love it when ChristianSpeak gets pushed further into the outskirts of what passes as reasonable dialogue.

It’s stunning that so many people — who want to be government officials — could be that callous about the health and well-being of American women.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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