If that’s all they had to offer, perhaps the two people in the room, the men.. should have just kept their mouths shut.
by David Miller
I owe Loveland Magazine readers an apology for the lax and inadequate manner in which I interviewed Republican candidate for Congress Brad Wenstrup on his views on abortion. The interview was at 4 PM, and it was sometime later that evening that I realized how totally unprepared I was. I have been angry and disappointed in myself since. Agony, especially in light of how the national debate turned so horribly Aiken ugly in the days following the interview - intensified my wrong. Victims of “legitimate rape” seldom become pregnant?
I followed up the next morning via e-mail* asking his campaign manager, “As a follow up on a subject he and I talked about yesterday... Brad said he favored the heartbeat bill... Does Brad oppose abortions; in all cases, including when a woman had been raped or the victim of incest? I asked the question because Wenstrup told me during the interview that he was “Pro Life” and that he favors the “Heartbeat Bill” that has been considered at Ohio’s statehouse.
I now wanted the clarity that anyone but I perhaps, would have asked the minute they heard his answer. I was not going to challenge his core faith based beliefs, but clarity certainly was a fair thing to ask, and I failed.
I got no answer to my E-mail, so sent the question again two days later. This time Wenstrup himself assured me that I would hear back from his campaign manager right away. I am still waiting.
During that time I also realized that Wenstrup made another statement that certainly needed a challenge from me. He basically said you don’t have to worry about what he would do if elected, that would lessen a woman’s privacy rights, because as a member of Congress he would probably not be making any decisions about a woman’s reproductive rights.
In his only in-depth interview to date, and perhaps the only one he will do before the November election, I let Wenstrup off the hook. I suspect now that because of the plague Rep. Todd Aiken unleashed, Wenstrup will avoid any more answers about abortion before the election, like... well the plague.
So, here is what Erika Eichelberger, writing Men Defining Rape: A History
might call my “mansplanation” of what I should have challenged Wenstrup on:
So, what about the Ohio Heartbeat Bill? It would prohibit abortions when the heartbeat of the fetus can be
detected, sometimes before a woman knows she is pregnant and provides no
exceptions for rape or incest.
And, what about the U.S. Congress, and would Wenstrup if elected, likely vote on issues affecting women’s reproductive rights?
Take a look back at recent congressional misogyny...
Some in Congress want forced vaginal photo probes as a requirement of having an abortion, and they will make woman pay for them. If the woman has insurance, they would prohibit their insurance company paying for the probe.
Some in Congress want to takeaway funding for Planned Parenthood, and the myriad of services they provide to adults and teens.
Under the Personhood bill, all abortions would be illegal, even in cases of rape or incest. Common forms of birth control would be illegal. What else would be outlawed? The morning after pill, IUD's, hormonal birth control, and in-vitro fertilization.
Some in Congress want to restrict military women’s access to abortion care.
House Republicans, led by Vice-Presidential hopeful Rep. Paul Ryan, have pushed to limit taxpayer funding of abortions for non-"forcible" rapes.
Some in Congress want to protect the rapist's parental rights.
A friend last week really woke me up; she just blurted what was on her mind, mid-discussing-another-subject. Her hands reached out to choke an imaginary man in front of her, but her curled fingers were all too uncomfortably close to my own neck. Her eyes and face red, contorted with rage I never before thought she would be remotely capable of.
“I could just strangle these men who think they have a right to put their legislative hands on a woman’s body,” she said.
More anger from this otherwise mild mannered woman crystallized as she described her rage that what Aiken, and men like him have done in attempting to legitimize rape, was not just an attempt to make rape less likely to be punished, its result would be to make rape an even more common occurrence. She believes these men are making our country an even more horribly dangerous place for women to live in. It would force women and girls to raise the rapist's child, enslaving them for the rest of their lives. The Congressmen and the rapist condemn the mother and child to a life of poverty without even basic health care.
The rapist would go free.
She talked about the rapist using the power Congress gives them to not just be sexually satisfied, which they will never be; it legitimizes hate manifest into power, to punish innocent women and girls.
These past weeks have brightly illuminated abortion and reproductive rights as a national campaign issue that many would like us to think is less important than discussing jobs, Medicare, Mitt Romney’s dog or dogging release of tax returns, or whether Obama would drive a car with a windmill on top.
I didn’t even have to bite my tongue... I was trying to be too polite... trying to be nice. I apologize.
The next time I casually ask for another “mansplanation” on abortion or reproductive rights I hope I place my own hands around my own throat before I do; at least long enough to gut up a challenge if the answers are more legislative rape.
* I also sent a similar E-mail to Dem. candidate William Smith, to clarify his position on "...when a woman had been raped or the victim of incest?" I also received no reply from his campaign. In the interview I conducted with Smith, he declared he was "Pro Life" but didn't want to go back to pre-Roe v. Wade. However Smith also said in contradiction to that statement that he favors the proposed, Ohio Heartbeat Bill. The bill would prohibit abortions when the heartbeat of the fetus can be detected, sometimes before a woman knows she is pregnant and it provides no exceptions for rape or incest.