Pro-rape Republicans have gone from outcasts to shapers of new anti-abortion laws.
The Trump Supreme Court is about to give them legal cover.
In 2021, state legislatures have passed an unprecedented 106 anti-abortion bills. State lawmakers in five states are preparing legislation similar to Texas’s SB 8, an effective total abortion ban that enshrines a new kind of vigilantism directed at medical providers and private citizens.
In her 2013 essay, The Longest War, Rebecca Solnit points out that the Republican Party ran five white men for office in 2012 who were “pro-rape.” They include Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, who said a woman who gets pregnant by her rapist is carrying a “gift from God”; Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin, who declared that “legitimate rape” pregnancies don’t occur because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down”; and Wisconsin lawmaker Roger Rivard, who claimed that “some girls rape easy.”
While all five lost their races, it’s worth noting that pro-rape Republicans didn’t cut their losses and move on to bigger and better campaigning. In 2016 the U.S. elected a president accused of sexual assault and misconduct by 26 women. In 2918, Republicans rammed through the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh despite credible accusations of sexual assault against him.
In 2019, fueled by momentum from the passage of restrictive abortion law in Alabama, a coalition of anti-abortion-rights groups called on Republican officials to "reconsider decades-old talking points" on rape exceptions to such laws.
"We understand that issues like rape and incest are difficult topics to tackle; nevertheless, it is our view that the value of human life is not determined by the circumstances of one's conception or birth," said a draft of the letter.
The document praised Alabama's law, which prohibits abortion at all stages of pregnancy unless a woman's life is threatened. It would send doctors convicted of violating the law to prison for up to 99 years.
In that same year, Rep. Stephen King told a group of fellow Iowa Republicans, that “humanity might not exist if not for rape and incest.” King was defending his position of not allowing exceptions for rape and incest in the anti-abortion legislation he unsuccessfully tried to pass in Congress.
This background is relevant today now that anti-abortion absolutists have taken control of the GOP at the very moment the U.S. Supreme Court may be on the brink of reversing or severely modifying the constitutional right to pre-viability abortions that have been in place since 1973. Two Republican-enacted state abortion bans are at the center of this impending judicial counterrevolution.
The Texas law has been given at least a temporary okay by a six-justice Supreme Court majority on grounds that they cannot figure out how to cope with the law’s novel vigilante enforcement provisions. Another from Mississippi is about to be reviewed as the first major challenge to Roe v. Wade since 1992. Neither of the laws has a rape-and-incest exception.
Meaghan Winter in The Guardian —
In this dangerous moment, supporters of legal abortion must understand that raising our voices is not going to change anything unless we also push for major, immediate democratic reforms including ending the filibuster, enshrining federal voting rights, expanding the supreme court, and establishing fair redistricting.
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