Four years ago I asked Senator McCain how he could choose a running mate with such an extreme view as to oppose abortion even in cases of rape, incest or health or life of the mother. Let me be clear that I am not without some baggage when I asked this question. I was the victim of rape at the age of 13 by the local mechanic who was in his late 20s and snuck into the house while the door was unlocked to hide in my bedroom and wait for me. It was the small town of Odessa, MO - Rep. Todd Akin and Rep. Paul Ryan probably wouldn't have considered it "legitimate rape". My mother worked graveyard shift so I was alone in the house, there was no one to hear me scream, and I was too terrified to do more than struggle until the threats of worse made me stop.
What I asked back then was could you honestly look a 13 year old girl in the face, after she's been brutalized, her innocence stripped away in the most horrific way, and tell her that her body is now a prison and a daily reminder of that attack for 40 weeks? And now I ask the voters of this country, not just women, to give this serious thought, because it is no longer a fringe idea that only a few republicans like former Gov. Palin shared. It is the predominate view and the platform of the entire Republican party to overturn and make ALL abortion illegal even for rape, incest, health and life of the mother. One of my daughters was also raped as a teenager. Pre-teen to young teenagers are the second largest group in this country percentage-wise to be sexually assaulted. Can you, as a mother, father, grandparent, uncle, aunt, cousin of a young girl live with taking that choice away from her? Can you take it away from an adult woman who has been brutalized? I was lucky - I didn't get pregnant, I only had one attacker, he calmed me down with threats and didn't just beat me or torture me for fun. That's lucky for a rape victim. It still would have been hell to live in that prison for 40 weeks. I had nightmares as it was, without the daily reminders.
Romney has said he supports the exceptions of rape, incest and life (not health) of the mother, but he has also clearly stated that he wants to see Roe v. Wade overturned, which would return the right to the states. Almost immediately, it would be illegal in about 30 states. I'm sure there's a few more that would follow. This means women of means could travel to take care of their issues, but poor women (who are often more likely to be preyed upon as well) would have little to no options, exception illegal and dangerous abortions or home remedies like we saw pre-1974.
Romney and Ryan have also both supported the Personhood Amendment that was up for vote in Mississippi, which is part of the Republican Party platform. In fact, Ryan co-sponsored this type of legislation at the federal level. It not only criminalizes all abortions, it criminalizes many forms of the most common and effective birth control. In conjunction, they are both in full agreement about defunding Planned Parenthood which serves as the only source of reproductive and wellness care for over 3 million women. I was listening to the evening news while my 10 year old daughter was getting in her evening computer time and someone was talking about the agenda to reduce access to birth control while also outlawing abortion and she turned around and said "that's backwards, are they stupid?". Out of the words of babes, indeed.
These are not just a woman's right over her own body issues either. Being able to plan how and when you have a child IS an economic issue. It is a family planning issue. Romney is promising to defund Planned Parenthood which serves those women most in need of reproductive services and wellness visits. He has promised to repeal Obamacare, which finally makes being a woman no longer a pre-existing condition! But did you know most insurance companies consider being raped a pre-existing condition? In 2014 when the law changes for adults like it has for children, insurance companies cannot use pre-existing conditions to deny coverage or charge exorbitant rates.
Paul Ryan has voted on a bill that would allow hospitals that receive federal funds, who by law are required to treat everyone regardless of means or insurance, to refuse to provide a life saving abortion to a woman if they are anti-abortion. It would allow the hospital to let the mother die, even if the fetus was pre-viability and would die along with the mother, rather than save her life. I don't believe this is a women's issue - I know my husband and father would NOT have considered it just a women's issue when I was pregnant!
Mitt Romney has made clear and undeniable statements - he will try to overturn Roe v. Wade, he will defund Planned Parenthood, when asked, he said he supported the Mississippi Personhood Amendment and he selected one of the most radically pro-life members of congress as his running mate. Paul Ryan cannot run from his record. He's sponsored, co-sponsored and voted on 30+ pro-life, many of them radical, pieces of legislation. Though they are trying to become "moderate" now, their record is clear.
This is a matter of character. When Mitt Romney spoke of his Mother's warm voice saying women should have a say in government, it was moving. Yet, this is a man who does not believe a woman should be trusted to make decisions about her own body? That he is trying to surround the issues in a smoke screen, saying one thing in the national media or in debates, while his campaign quietly puts out press states saying he didn't really mean that is shameful. It is clear that Mitt Romney is bad for women and what's bad for women is bad for our families, and the country.