The Republicans’ “Rape” Problem, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Nov 2 2012 @ 2:38pm

Todd Akin just rolled out an ad featuring a rape victim:

Rachel Wiener adds:

In a video posted on Akin’s website, Burrell elaborates, saying she regrets her abortion. "Todd is advocating for women so that women don’t have to do what I’ve had to do, and that’s grieve every year," she says. It’s not clear whether her pregnancy was the result of rape. 

Meanwhile, Washington congressional candidate John Koster is the latest Republican to venture out on thin ice:

"Incest is so rare, I mean it's so rare. But the rape thing…you know I know a woman who was raped and kept her child but gave it up for adoption, she doesn’t regret it. In fact, she’s a big pro-life proponent…But on the rape thing, it’s like, how does putting more violence onto a woman’s body and taking the life of an innocent child that’s the consequence of this crime, how does that make it better? You know what I mean?"

Margaret Hartmann tallies it up:

Fortunately for Koster, his comments aren't likely to cause as big a controversy as other Republicans candidates' remarks on the subject. "Rape thing," may be flippant, but it pales in comparison to Todd Akin's "legitimate rape," Richard Mourdock's belief that pregnancy from rape, "is something that God intended to happen," or Tom Smith's contention that the situation is similar to "Having a baby out of wedlock."

New polling shows Mourdock's campaign in a freefall from his rape comments. Weigel weighs in:

[Attacks against Republicans on their rejection of rape exceptions] work because voters are also skittish about the question of when life begins. Just this week, a national YouGov poll asked Americans when abortion should be legal. A full 67 percent favored some restrictions or total restrictions. A full 74 percent wanted to keep it legal in cases of rape or incest. Republicans are better off when then this distinction never gets explored.

Ed Kilgore makes a keen observation about the evolving debate over abortion:

More broadly, the antichoice movement has spent much of the last decade or so shrewdly guiding the policy debate to topics involving possible exceptions to a general regime of legalized abortion: so-called "partial-birth abortions," sex-selection abortions, abortions "of [sic!] convenience, denials of public funding for abortions, and most recently, second-trimester abortions at a stage where antichoice "scientists" claim the fetus can feel pain. This is why the percentage of Americans self-identifying as "pro-life" has gone up gradually over time.

But now, with state legislatures busily enacting anti-abortion legislation and the prospect of a Supreme Court majority overturning Roe v. Wade tantalizingly close, the debate over abortion, at least on the Right, is suddenly about exceptions to a regime where abortion is illegal. And so you get arguments between the "personhood" supporters and the "no-exceptions" supporters on the one hand, and those who while generally favoring an abolition of the right to choose, might consider, in their enormous compassion, exceptions for rape and incest victims, or perhaps the use of contraceptives the serious antichoice activists consider "abortifacients" (basically, all of them other than barrier methods or coitus interruptus).

Previous Dish coverage here and here