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When I first heard about Todd Akin’s now super-infamous, and perhaps career-ending comment about how “legitimate” rape victims won’t get pregnant because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” I thought, “Maybe Republicans and science just don’t mix.” After turning down my partisanship a few notches, I was still shocked by how Akin’s extreme, pro-life comments seemed to fly in the face of rudimentary biology . . . you know, the centerpiece of the life sciences.
At a fundraiser in NYC on Wednesday night, President Obama remarked, “The interesting thing here is that this is an individual who sits on the House Committee on Science and Technology but somehow missed science class.”
Vexingly, a few other Republican lawmakers have made the claim that the female body somehow protects against pregnancy during a sexual assault. For example, in 1988 Pennsylvania Rep. Stephen Freind once claimed that women who are raped “secrete a certain secretion which has the tendency to kill sperm,” and in 1995 North Carolina Rep. Henry Aldridge said, “The facts show that people who are raped – truly raped – the juices don’t flow.” Truly raped, he said. Yikes!
According to a study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, among adult women an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape every year. Moreover, a 2003 study published in the journal Human Nature found that the rate at which women get pregnant after a rape or sexual assault is more than twice that of a single act of consensual sex. Dr. Lauren Streicher, an assistant professor at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, was not surprised by that data. And in response to Akin’s statement, Streicher said, “You let me know if you find the doctor that knows how a uterus knows which sperm to ward off.”
However, Akin may be a quick learner, after all. He has since released an ad admitting, “The fact is, rape can lead to pregnancy.” How revelatory.
But now other Republican candidates (even Romney/Ryan) not only have to distance themselves from Akin’s comment (the National Republican Senatorial Committee publicly withdrew its support of Todd (to the tune of about $5 million), but the whole party now faces heightened scrutiny.
Although Akin may have simply misspoke, both his error and his actual views (unlike Romney, he does not believe that rape victims should be permitted to have abortions) have raised serious concerns that some members of the GOP have antiquated, insensitive, and even offensive views of women — the so-called Republican “War on Women.”
All this, and only a about a week left until the Republican convention in Tampa, Fla….
Written By: Rik Sault
On Friday, after three days of oral arguments, the United States Supreme Court voted on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Just as public and political opinion about Obamacare is generally drawn along party lines, with Democrats in favor and many Republicans vehemently opposed to it, the High Court’s Justices seem to be similarly split. It is almost certain that the more conservative Justices will vote to strike down at least one portion of the revolutionary health care law – the so-called individual mandate which requires all U.S. citizens to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty – because, in their view, it exceeds the Constitutional limit of the federal government’s power.
Opponents of the individual mandate generally frame the issue in terms of the freedom of markets, and whether the government can force citizens to buy something. At Tuesday’s oral arguments, conservative Justice Scalia, who is widely seen as opposed to Obamacare, set forth this proposition: The federal government cannot force folks to buy broccoli, so how can it force them to buy health insurance.
But liberal Justice Ginsburg likened the mandate to Social Security. She explained that in the 1930′s, the U.S. had a national problem of people needing old-age and survivor insurance. Therefore, she furthered, it enacted a tax requiring everyone to contribute because without healthy folks and young folks there wouldn’t be enough money to pay for the old, disabled, or widowed. And that tax was constitutional.
While the individual mandate is only one of the two provisions reviewed by the High Court, it received the most argument time, and it seems to be the most pivotal. If the Court strikes down the individual mandate, it could possibly strike down the whole law because the mandate is such an important piece – a piece that cannot be severed.
The Solicitor General, the Obama administration’s attorney arguing in support of the Affordable Care Act, closed his arguments by reaffirming that it will increase public access to affordable health care. He said that Congress has struggled for decades to come up with a way to reform health care. “Maybe they were right, maybe they were wrong,” the Solicitor General said, but the law is within the bounds of Congress’s power under the Constitution, and should not be second-guessed by the Court. Former Bush Solicitor General Paul Clement, counsel to 26 state attorneys general challenging the law, countered, “it’s a very funny conception of liberty,” a law requiring folks to purchase health insurance “whether they want it or not.”
Although the Justices took a vote on the case on Friday, the decision is not expected until June.
Critiques like that are extremely naive. People like Damon severely overestimate the interest of Congressional Republicans in handing Obama any victories at all. For example, a key reason why unemployment rates are so high is that Congress (read: Republicans) wouldn’t vote for a larger stimulus package. As another example, the primary reason why tax policy is so skewed towards the rich is that the GOP (which CONTROLS THE HOUSE) consistently rejects more equitable policies. And so on and so forth. People like Damon sound incredibly stupid when they disregard the existence of the legislative branch. How does Damon think that Obama can pass an expansive progressive agenda if Obama has an obstructive Congress? Is Obama supposed to pass legislation by fiat using executive orders? The answer can’t possibly be “yes,” since excessive executive orders were a key reason that liberals complained about Bush’s “imperial” presidency. In summary, Matt Damon needs to go back to high school and take a civics class.
- “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event)”
- “A huge window shaking bang here in Abbottabad Cantt. I hope it’s not the start of something nasty”
- “The few people online at this time of the night are saying one of the copters was not Pakistani”
- “People are saying it was not a technical fault and it was shot down. I heard it CIRCLE 3-4 times above, sounded purposeful.”
UPDATE: Obama released his birth certificate, and Trump took credit.