As of today, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan may find themselves in a wee bit of a bind.
For the past two days, the pair have been running around trying to assure the press and ultimately women voters that they really do believe in “real rape,” not just “legitimate rape,” that they are not as misogynistic as Missouri Rep. Todd Akin, and that, of course, a Romney-Ryan Administration would never eliminate rape and incest exceptions for abortion.
And, now it appears that, all the while, the people really in charge of the GOP—fundamentalist anti-choicers among them—have been writing a party platform that not only makes all of that a lie, but is in effect a promise to make the personhood of fertilized eggs the law of the land.
The draft official platform strongly supports a “a human life amendment” to the Constitution:
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“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,” the draft platform declares. “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.”
Let’s be very, very clear that such an amendment—which Mitt Romney has said unequivocally he would sign—would not only criminalize abortions of any kind for any reason, but also would outlaw many forms of contraception, in-vitro fertilization, and treatment of pregnant women with life-threatening conditions such as cancer. Moreover, it would also criminalize miscarriage.
This amendment is based on the self-same premise that was soundly rejected by voters in Colorado and Mississippi. Radical anti-choice advocates figure, it seems, if you can’t win it in the states, then beat them over the head with a constitutional amendment.
Romney, who in his quest to win the nomination of a party that is oozing with misogyny has all but promised to lock pregnant women in jail cells until they give birth, is now in a real pickle. Post-Akin, he states unequivocally that he would “oh, of course, no question” allow exceptions in otherwise radical abortion bans for rape and incest, through pre-Akin he was absolutely, positively clear he would not allow such exceptions. Ryan is just Akin without the political Tourettes Syndrome: He was an original co-sponsor of the bill to redefine rape, and to let Catholic hospitals deny women care. He also is a co-sponsor of the Sanctity of Human Life Act.
So now the question arises: Which GOP ticket is being nominated, exactly? Is it the one compromised of two men who have done everything but lick the boots (at least to my knowledge) of radical anti-choicers such as the Americans United for Life, the Family Research Council, and the Susan B. Anthony List? Or is it the kinder, gentler ticket that only wants to imprison women who terminate a pregnancy not conceived in rape?
Will these men now challenge their party platform publicly? If they don’t, then they give lie to their post-Akin magical mystery tour. If they do, then they give lie to the innumerable statements they have made (Romney) and actions they have taken (Ryan) to assuage radical anti-choice groups.
The problem isn’t Akin. Its the central position of a party controlled by fundamentalists who believe women have no rights.
Stay tuned, folks.