A West Virginia lawmaker justified opposing exempting women who became pregnant during a rape in an anti-abortion measure, because it is “beautiful” that a “child [could] come from this.” Amazingly, this is not even the first horrible rape comment made by a Republican lawmaker this week.
Del. Brian Kurcaba (R) told a hearing on a new, extremely severe abortion restriction, that even women who seek abortions after a rape shouldn’t be allowed to get one because they should embrace the wonderful gift of the child.
“Obviously rape is awful,” he said, before going on to say that it isn’t necessarily awful. “What is beautiful is the child that could come from this.”
Republicans in West Virginia saw huge gains during the midterms, and for the first time in eight decades found themselves with a majority in the Legislature. They wasted no time in aggressively rolling back West Virginian women’s ability to undergo an abortion.
The bill, like similar ones across the country, seeks to ban abortions after 20 weeks, except when the mother’s life is in danger. They argue that at 20 weeks a fetus can begin feeling pain – a premise that scientists are quick to point out is not based on science. As if to emphasize that disconnect, lawmakers used their time quoting passages of the Bible on the house floor, rather than medical studies to justify the bill’s existence.
Kurcaba’s comments are remarkably similar to others expressed in the past few years. As Huffington Post points out, most notably is the similarity between his remarks and that of U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock of Indiana who derailed his campaign after he declared:
“I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
And then there was Todd Akin, who also managed to sabotage his own campaign chances when he thought he was in a unique position to define what was and wasn’t a “legitimate rape.”
After a number of male Republicans spent the 2012 election speaking about rape with disastrous results (including Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock), Republican strategists have been begging conservative politicians to just stop talking. It was reported that in late 2013, House Majority Leader John Boehner sent his staff around to the offices of nearly every legislator and candidate with a message to just please stop bringing up rape.
GOP strategists even held lectures to educate politicians about just how to avoid the issue:
It’s way past time: House Republicans need to stop talking about rape.
That’s the message GOP lawmakers got here Wednesday evening from Kellyanne Conway, a top GOP pollster.
Conway said rape is a “four-letter word,” and Republicans simply need to stop talking about it in their races for office. [source]
They have a right to be worried, as conservatives cannot seem to speak about the issue of rape without saying something so mind-numbingly dumb, misogynistic, and offensive that it temporarily reminds voters of just how hateful and heartless the Republican Party has gotten lately. Making matters much more difficult, however, is that the economy under Obama is soaring, leaving very few wedge issues left for 2016 hopefuls to focus on. Apparently, the temptation to talk about rape is just too great and, now that they have the power to actually do something about abortion, Republicans don’t mind wading back into the issue with absolute confidence.
Feature image via WV Delegate Elections 2014