veronica hendrix

Veronica Hendrix

*Republicans quickly scoff when they are accused of waging a war on women.

It’s usually the Democrats who hurl the charge, while “pro-choice” Republican sympathizers either remain silent or receive no sympathy for their dissenting views.

And they have taken stanch offensive to this charge. But if this party  believes it has not waged a war on women, then they’ve waged an assault on women – with policies and beliefs which over time will end in a debilitating knockdown if  women don’t counter punch the blows.

Missouri Congressman and Senate candidate Todd Akin hit hard last week during an interview on a local television station in his home state when he expressed his shocking and dunderheaded view about rape and how a woman’s body responds to a pregnancy caused by a rape.

“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that pregnancy resulting from rape is really rare,” Akin said. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

So. . . if it was a legitimate rape, then the  body would self-abort because the  pregnancy happened in an act of violence? And . . . if the body does not self-abort that means the alleged rape wasn’t really rape – it was something else, right?

Upon what science did he base this grand impartation to the unlearned masses? Try asking the thousands upon thousands of women who are raped in this country each year and discover they are pregnant by their attacker if this is indeed gospel. Perhaps he should have consulted with Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann before he flung out this ridiculous and offensive hypothesis because those girls would have set him straight. While some may not think they are the brightest bulb in the curio, I betcha they could have shown him the light on this issue.

Akin’s remark has ignited a firestorm of criticism from every pillar and post including his own party who has scrambled to distance themselves from their colleague.  He has since stepped back from his view offering a mea cupla of sorts but it’s not easily digested by his party who has asked him to withdraw from the Senate race he is currently in against the incumbent Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill, whose background as a former lead prosecutor included handling many rape cases and establishing a domestic violence unit in Missouri.

“In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview, and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year,” Akin said.

Yeah but you said it and “out of the abundance of the mouth the heart speaks,” to quote a passage from a renown and sacred manuscript the Congressman is probably  familiar with.

His remark, delivered with the resolve and poignancy of a subject matter expert, has incited and galvanized multitudes of women’s groups and organizations. At the core of Akin’s “mis-beliefs” is the issue of choice and with the slip of his lips he has giving women across the national a rallying point no matter what side of pendulum they fall on. Just when many thought the issue of choice didn’t matter in this election because it’s been all about the economy, it does matter and it’s always mattered – it just hovered in the background. And Akin has helped to shine a light on his party’s platform and agenda when it comes to choice in a way they wished he hadn’t.

While his party may not agree with his misguided beliefs about how a woman’s body responds to pregnancy resulting from a rape, they are in lock step with him about the choice a woman should have in dealing with that pregnancy. The Republican Party supports a constitutional band on all abortion nationwide even for rape victims. That’s a fact and critical difference between the two parties. Essentially they are saying that a woman who is raped should be forced to carry that pregnancy to term.

For women and their daughters the right of choice rests in the hands of who they choose for President. Women have been butchered and died in back alleys because they were denied the right to have control over their reproductive rights. I wince when I hear politicians say  they want to take the country back – back to what? The days of underground abortion clinics? It was a dangerous choice then and banding that choice will result in the unthinkable.

There is a decidedly ideological difference between the two parties not just on this issue but many issues from social to  education and economics – all which disproportionately affect women who in many poor, working class and minority communities are tugging at ends that simply don’t meet.

Women make up 51% of the voting population. But that number means nothing if we don’t get out and actually vote. It’s the best way to combat the assault and erosion of our human rights to retain control our lives and the making the choice on how we live our lives.

Veronica Hendrix is a syndicated columnist and feature writer whose work has covered the span of the human continuum – from clinical trials of male contraceptives, to the gang violence. She was the former Media Director for the Los Angeles City Commission on the Status of Women. She is also  the owner of Bromont Avenue Foods. She is the author of “Red Velvet Gourmet Spice Rub and Seasoning Heart Healthy Recipes.” Visit http://bromontavefoods.com for more information.  For comments, interviews, speaking engagements or moderator requests please send an email to [email protected].