Why Conservatives Can’t Stop Talking About Rape: Because It’s the New Rubella

So it appears that, just as the furor over Todd Akin’s magical vaginas has died down (he was the Republican who claimed that rape victm’s vaginas have ways to “shut down” pregnancy), they seem to have gone full-bore stupid again:

However, in shades of Akin, Greig then added: “Granted, the percentage of pregnancies due to rape is small because it’s an act of violence, because the body is traumatized. I don’t know what percentage of pregnancies are due to the violence of rape. Because of the trauma the body goes through, I don’t know what percentage of pregnancy results from the act.”

Rep. Todd Akin’s campaign against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) imploded last year after he justified his opposition to abortion rights even in case of rape with a claim that victims of “legitimate rape” have unnamed biological defenses that prevent pregnancy.

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

It would appear to be a truly bizarre conservative fixation, since most women do not have an abortion due to rape-caused pregnancy. But the problem for conservatives is that rape is a case where forcing women to remain pregnant seems cruel even to those who otherwise think abortion should be banned (all those slutty sluts slutting around and what not).

In a sense, it’s analogous to rubella in the 1950s and 1960s. The rubella virus, when it infects pregnant women in the first six months of pregnancy causes birth defects. Usually this is deafness accompanied by vision problems and heart defects, though even more serious problems often occur including mental retardation. Today, abortion is recommended in those exceptional circumstances where it does happen. While rubella fortunately isn’t a concern anymore–it’s the “R” in the MMR vaccine–in the pre-vaccine era, it was a terrifying prospect and led to underground acceptance of abortion–it was the circumstance, even though rare, where most people would ‘allow’ an abortion (boldface mine):

Reagan, a historian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, says German measles, especially during its 1963-65 epidemic, created so much anxiety in America because “a woman might have it and have no symptoms. But if she caught the virus during pregnancy, it could harm the developing fetus,” resulting in infant death or birth defects including blindness, deafness, mental retardation or heart malformations.

“These were very frightening potential outcomes, and they shook the public’s confidence that most babies would survive birth and be healthy and normal,” Reagan said….

“The early abortion-rights movement began at this time, with this concern for expectant mothers, and for families who appeared to be the perfect, idealized 1950s, 1960s family,” she said. “To have the group that was seen as inherently respectable and moral talking about abortion really did change, I think, the picture of abortion — from deviant to respectable — and thus changed the public discussion.”

This is why conservatives need to downplay rape-related pregnancies. Outside of the theocratic wing of the conservative movement, rape does change abortion from “deviant to respectable.” And if abortion “is a blessing” in one circumstance, that would potentially convince people to keep abortion legal.

This is why they can’t shut up about it.

This entry was posted in Blastocyst Liberation, Microbiology, Rape, Vaccination. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Why Conservatives Can’t Stop Talking About Rape: Because It’s the New Rubella

  1. Pingback: Links 3/6/13 | Mike the Mad Biologist

  2. Pingback: Raped women pregnancy rate. Do they shut the whole thing down? | Alea Deum

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