Wednesday, 22 August 2012

US politician fires up abortion debate

Over in the USA, a Republican nominee for the Senate, Todd Akin, has caused a bit of a stir when, in a videotaped interview, he suggested that women who really are the victims of rape, rather than those he thinks are just saying it to justify an abortion, can't actually get pregnant, and thus do not need abortion services. It's part of his justification for criminalising all abortion, including in cases of rape or incest.

Prior to the current kerfuffle, Presidential candidate Mitt Romney had veered hard to the right, from once being pro-choice to saying he was in favour of a personhood amendment that would criminalise all abortion as well as many forms of contraception. It would also likely end IVF services such as those his own sons have used to have children. Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan has sponsored similar personhood bills, and has been openly opposed to any exception from criminalising abortion for rape or incest victims.

The Romney-Ryan camp has responded to the Akin events by back-tracking a bit, saying they would not oppose abortion's availability in cases of rape or incest. A significant portion of their base will be furious with them. It has drawn attention once more to the Republican policies on reproducctive health, and threatens to damage Republican hopes for winning not just the Presidency but also the Senate. One can certainly hope so.

It's all a bit odd really. Akin was not stepping far from the Republican fold. Other Republicans, even those opposed to abortion for rape victims, are calling for him to step aside not for his policy position, but because of his use of the term "legitimate rape victims". But even that isn't unusual on the right, as illustrated by Bryan Fisher of the American Family Association expressing his agreement with Akin.

One other bonus from this event is that Brian Dalton (aka Mr Deity) has been quick in putting out his response:

No comments :

Post a Comment