Over the past eleven years the word extremist has become entrenched in the lexicon when describing terrorists or Islamic radicals, but it can certainly apply to any group whose ideology is outside the perceived center of a society or violates common moral standards. Extremism can be defined as beliefs, attitudes, or actions far removed from the ordinary depending on the observer’s values and moral scope. It is disturbing that in a moderate society like America, extremism is rising to keep pace with radical Islam and as usual, it has as its basis religious dogmata, notably, the Hebrew scriptures that many conservatives believe should replace the Constitution as the law of the land. For the past few days there has been outrage over Richard Mourdock’s remark that rape is a form of god’s blessing on a woman, but his so-called extremist view is the mainstream position of the Republican Party including the party’s presidential ticket.
If Americans recall, the official platform of the Republican party concurs with Mourdock’s extremist understanding of pregnancy resulting from the violent act of rape. It is crucial to note that rape is, next to murder, as traumatic and heinous an act against a woman there is, and regardless a person’s religious views or intrinsic misogyny, it is a crime unlike any other as far as the degree of viciousness and intrusion into a woman’s body. Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan cavalierly contends rape is just another form of conception, and he cemented his pro-life credibility working in concert with Missouri senatorial candidate Todd Akin in co-sponsoring a federal personhood bill, the Sanctity of Life Act, in 2009 that gives a zygote the same Constitutional rights and privileges as an adult with total disregard for a woman.
The 2012 Republican platform included the provision; “Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.” It is unfortunate Republicans fail to actually read the 14th Amendment because Section 1 clearly states, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States,” and unless they change the Constitution, their personhood amendment is automatically negated according to the wording of the Fourteenth Amendment. However, wording aside, it is the blatant disregard for “persons born” (women) inherent in Republican ranks that is the serious issue America’s women face in the Republican version of Sharia Law.
Since Republicans are attempting to decriminalize rape and punish women who are violated and impregnated, it is little surprise that presidential candidate Willard Romney continues supporting Richard Mourdock and his contention that god bestows a blessing on rape victims. Romney’s “sort-of official” position on abortion is it should be restricted to cases of rape, incest, and the health of the mother, but that belies his religious belief there is no exception and that accordingly, abortion must be criminalized.
The media propagates the notion that Romney is moderate on abortion, but he has made it clear that he thinks, “the right course on Roe v. Wade is to have it overturned,” “we should have a prohibition on abortion,” and that “as governor I vetoed any bill that was in favor of choice.” Willard gave his justification for eliminating a woman’s right to choose when he said, “I’m not gonna apologize for being pro-life, my faith has very strong beliefs about abortion,” and there are two instances of him pressuring women to give birth regardless the mother’s “life was in peril,” or that a fetus “was severely damaged.” If Romney was compelling a mother whose life was in danger to give birth, it is natural he continues to support Mourdock’s candidacy because he said he would be “delighted to sign a ban on all abortions.”
Romney is hardly alone with an extreme anti-woman agenda and Mourdock did not start the decriminalization of rape. At the start of the 112th Congress, instead of focusing on creating jobs, the Republican House began an earnest drive to restrict a woman’s right to choose beginning with “legitimate rape.” Perhaps the Republicans are legitimately concerned about the life of the unborn, but it is more likely they are ushering in a form of Sharia Law.
It is fairly well-known that in strict Islamic countries, women who are raped are stoned to death or severely punished for being brutally assaulted. When Republicans are willing to punish a woman by forcing her to give birth to a rapist’s child, or force her to prove she was “legitimately raped,” they are sentencing the woman for a man’s crime. In fact in Pennsylvania, a bill was just withdrawn that would have limited welfare benefits for low-income mothers unless they could prove their newborns were a result of rape, but only after a wave of criticism because it was too extreme. However, the Republican party has become nothing but extreme in their attitudes toward women and its basis is the same as the Taliban or harsh Sharia Law; religion.
The religious connection is not just about the life of the unborn, it is about controlling women, their bodies, their ability to choose when they start a family, or to protect their health, and it is religious patriarchy. As far back as 1996, there were over 32,000 pregnancies as a result of rape, and many more go unreported because to prove it was legitimate, or forcible, means prosecuting the rapist that may take two to three years in court, reliving and retelling the attack, and facing hostile defense attorneys, and if Republicans have their way, women will carry to term, give birth, and raise a child that was forced on them. It is the height of evil that patriarchal Republicans are pursuing punishment for being traumatized and physically violated by forcing a woman to give birth after a criminal assaulted them. The same vile Republicans oppose other means of terminating forced pregnancy such as a morning after pill, and the result is the same; punishing the woman for a man’s crime. Instead of taking every available means to relieve a woman who has been brutally traumatized, Republicans advocate forcing them to undergo nine months of torture, and at least another 18 years raising a reminder their life was forever altered by the most violent means; rape.
This current crop of Republicans are as brutal and misogynistic as any Islamic extremist and possibly more hateful, and not only because a maniac like Mourdock believes god’s blessing resulted from a violent act. Abortion is legal and solely a woman’s choice, but rape is a crime that forever alters a woman, and for a man to condemn them to carry a child they did not ask for, or want, is worse than being stoned to death; it is psychological torture. The fact that Romney, Ryan, and Republicans advocate a Constitutional requirement for women who are brutalized to undergo nine months and a lifetime reliving a heinous crime like rape puts them in the same category as the Taliban, and to tell them it is a blessing from god, or another method of conception, or prohibited by the Mormon cult is not a reason, it is a justification for punishment.
Mourdock may be the current “bad guy” in an ongoing assault on women, but he is supported by extremists in the GOP and their platform that, if it came to fruition, condemns women impregnated from a brutal assault to a lifetime punishment, and compared to a quick death by stoning, makes Republicans more extreme than the Taliban.