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Keep the government out of women’s vaginas

» Ronniesia Reed

–rreed24@my.apsu.edu

As a woman who enjoys being in control of her own body, I feel neither the government nor anyone else should have control over what I do with it.

Recently, pro-life U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., made comments in an interview on the “Jaco Report” about abortion and rape, suggesting rape victims should not be allowed to get abortions because women cannot get pregnant from “legitimate rape.”

This comment has created an uproar across the country and has reignited the abortion debate. Many people have voiced their opinion on this issue, including those in Rep. Akin’s own party, opposition candidates and even President Obama.

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“Rape is rape, and the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we are talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people and certainly doesn’t make sense to me,” Obama stated in an article in The New York Times.

As Obama said, rape is rape, and it can get a woman pregnant. Approximately 32,101 rape-related pregnancies happen each year, according to a 1996 study by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. This means, if all of these women chose to go through with their pregnancy, there will possibly be around 32,000 people born from rape each year.

Rape victims might not be physically, mentally or financially prepared to have a baby. I believe women who have children due to rape might be likely to mistreat their child or treat them differently because of the trauma they went through; this is not fair to the child or the mother.

I personally do not like the idea of abortions, but I also do not like the idea of an innocent child or mother being put in that situation at no fault of their own.

I also do not like the idea of a politician or the government forcing a woman to have a child they do not want, or plan to have, by taking away their choices.

“Babies need their mother … Women are not always prepared to raise a child and it’s not fair that the father gets to make the choice all the time,” said Jill Eichhorn, coordinator of the Women’s and Gender Studies program at APSU.

“What happens politically is that people talk about saving the life of the baby, and yet they’re also trying to cut the programs to help mothers raise these babies.”

After seeing how many people were upset by his comment, Akin realized that he should have put more thought into his comment and released a statement apologizing for his remarks.

“As a member of Congress, I believe that working to protect the most vulnerable in our society is one of my most important responsibilities, and that includes protecting both the unborn and victims of sexual assault,” stated Akin.
“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.” The rest of his statement can be found on his campaign web site at akin.org.

He is running for senate: Of course he is going to apologize. Akin did not want to lose any more votes than he already had.

Many people, especially rape victims, have found his comments to be very offensive. Eve Ensler, activist, performer and blogger for The Huffington Post, wrote a letter to Akin on the behalf of women and rape victims.

In the letter, Ensler paints a picture of how she, and other women who have been raped, were affected by his comment.

“You used the expression ‘legitimate’ rape as if to imply there were such a thing as ‘illegitimate’ rape,” Ensler said. “Let me try to explain to you what that does to the minds, hearts and souls of the millions of women on this planet who experience rape … it is a form of re-rape.”

Ensler also said Akin’s statement implies women’s understanding of rape must be qualified by some higher, wiser authority.

The idea of the government dictating whether or not a woman can abort her unborn child after being raped implies the same thing.

The child is innocent, but the mother of the child may not view them to be innocent. She might look at the child as a burden she did not want. That child does not deserve to be killed, but it does not deserve a dysfunctional life either.

The woman, who has already had a piece of herself taken away, deserves some rights and choices in the situation of rape. She did not choose to be raped but should at least be able to choose whether or not she has the child.

For more information on women’s rights or to get involved with women’s rights issues, visit http://www.apsu.edu/womens-gender-studies

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