Monday, August 27, 2012

I'm late on Akin and what about circumcision?

The whole Todd Akin controvesy was interesting to watch given that he was beat up by both political parties.  I guess Republicans know when to throw a Senate candidate overboard when he'll hurt the chances of an already weak presidential nominee.  But, as a Catholic, reading the blogs (and my representative reading sample is JBTC's blog roll; not expansive, I agree) I was nominally surprised that none of the blogger, not even Leila wanted to capture this very hot story.  I searched for "Akin" on her blog but got nothing.  However, Altcatholicah did have something to say....   

Yes, I know that most of us are here to wax spiritual about infertility, adoption, secondary infertility, how you're carefree now you're a mother, you've always been a mother but like to hang out with the denied, etc., but what about some good old-fashioned praise for a guy who stands up for the Catholic belief on abortion?  No abortions ever, no exemptions.  And instead of just saying that, what he believed, Akin gave an offensive blowoff to women pregnant because of sexual assault.  "Give me a break, pregnancy from rape is rare because a woman's body can 'shut the whole thing down.'"  As an infertile, I found this political explanation of science and biology pretty amusing.  I guess even with repeated loving, consensual sex, my body "shuts the whole thing down."  And even referring to fertilization and conception as "the whole thing" is super funny.  I'm missing out of the "whole thing." 

As someone who hasn't been assaulted in that most horrific way and therefore in no position to judge how a victim should respond or interpret the possibility of pregnancy, I offer only my opinion on the political controversy.  If there's something a politician loves better than the unborn, it's his/her ability to be re-elected.  If the Republican party would have defended Todd Akin in the wake of a Democratic challenge, I'd have a lot more respect for them.  But his big money donors headed for the hills and left him sadly hanging onto his run for the Senate. 

And back to Altcatholicah (I'm too lazy to link, sorry) but they posted one essay from a woman recently raped who concludes her story by saying, "Rape is a horrible crime; an abortion won't make it better -- it merely compounds the tragedy."  It sounds like the writer is making a global judgement about the importance of not having an aborting your rapist's child (jeez, that sounds chilling) but if she's a Catholic, it absolutely makes sense.  It also makes sense that Sophia Mason at Altcatholiah wanted to give her profound thoughts on the discussion.  If they made sense.

Mason writes, Of course these women need help and support. But it is foolish—and dangerous—for men and for women who have never been in such circumstances, to make condescending assumptions about what sort of' 'help' might be best."  But then she goes on to do just that, make condescending assumptions about what sort of help might be best for "these women."  That has such a Clinton-esque ring to it.  "I did not have sex with THAT woman."  Mason, as a Catholic goes on to support a Catholic idea that conceiving a baby with that man that raped you as a unique healing experience that you shouldn't miss out on, hey it's "beneficent serendipity."  

I get the sense Mason thinks police departments and social service organizations are compelling assaulted women to have an abortion.  Strapping them down and forcing the procedure on them.  Give me a break.  If the pro-life folks get their way by restricting access to abortion to everybody, including rape victims, you're the one compelling women into a specific situation, not the scary pro-abortion cops and doctors.  

But, of course, all this discussion of pregnancy is moot when (and I know I'll get hell from saying this from a few particular people) Plan B is available at most hospitals and drug stores (at least in Calif.)  So, then no one if forced think about whether or not they'd have an abortion or not.  Doesn't everybody win in that case?  That's a rhetorical question, people.  

And a small comment on the circumcision issue.  It's big right now and the movement to stop and severely restrict access to male infant circumcision is gaining ground.  What do Catholics think about this?  Isn't this the religious liberty issue that could roll quite nicely into the "government's forcing Catholic employers to provide free contraception" issue that seems to have died?  Just an idea. 



  2. Plan B is not an abortifacent (sp?), and I have seen no evidence that it is. That said, because it only prevent ovulation, and not implantation, it is not 100% foolproof. There is a narrow window between the release of an egg and its fertilitization. If you take Plan B after that, it won't prevent pregnancy.

    Also, a lot of women are traumatized by rape and do not seek medical attention. In other words, not every gets Plan B when they should.

    I think your point about male circumcision is excellent. I will not, however, hold my breath for Catholic activism on this, and we only seem to care about religious liberty when it affects us.

  3. Argh! So many typos! I sound like an illiterate cretin. Sorry

  4. Hey N - sorry I am just reading this post now. Hmm...yes, my blog roll is definitely not expansive and I will be the 1st to say not a good representative of all things orthodox Catholic, etc. But here is my $0.02 about the situation. I applaud Rep Akin for his belief in no abortion, no exemptions never. No problem there. But I do think his statement about a "legitimate" rape and a women's body knowing what to do to protect against a pregnancy in cases of illegitimate rapes (as if we should even be distinguishing between the 2) - well that is sheer lunacy and seriously - did he take a basic biology course? I saw his taped apology and I thought it was heartfelt, but it still doesn't make up for the fact that he stuck his foot in his mouth big time and honestly if the goal is to unseat the current incumbent, Akin should have stepped out of the way and let someone else take up the pro-life cause. Sorry you didn't find much more out there in the blogosphere. And you know how much I love discussing anything political if there is any chance of anyone being offended or put off. NOT! LOL!

  5. Umm...I meant "no exemptions ever". Please forgive my error.