Tucked away at a resort built on former plantation land in southern Virginia, the Republican Party is once again plotting a come back. And once again, they’re not addressing the flaws in their policy, but rather the message used to convey the policy to the public.
So it is that they were warned not to use the word “rape” anymore:
“Rape is a four-letter word — don’t say it,” the group was advised by a Republican pollster in another session, said one person familiar with the discussion. That was a reference to controversies about rape and abortion that were partly to blame for the GOP losing two Senate seats — in Indiana and Missouri — in November.
This is like thinking you’re going to get Hispanic voters by not mentioning immigration. Rape is sadly an issue that impacts most American women – even if confined to worrying about it and preparing to avoid it. Instead of ignoring it, women would like their representatives to fight for liberty for women by doing things like reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act that the Republicans have refused to pass.
Women want to be given the same rights as men when it comes to their medical decisions. Women believe that they are the best judge of the right decisions for their bodies and they would like to be represented by people who share that belief.
So Republicans might do well to avoid the word rape, but until they change their policies, which reflect the very beliefs they are trying to hide from the public, they are not going to win over women voters. Republicans believe that men who don’t even know the woman should be able to make medical decisions for a woman and her family. They believe that they have a right to inflict their religious beliefs onto all Americans, in spite of a Constitution that clearly says they do not.
While there are many Americans who share those religious beliefs, not many Americans take it to the extreme that Republicans do, where they deny the existence of rape and deny the existence of pregnancy from rape. And many of those Americans who do share a religious belief with Republicans still believe that each woman should have the right to make her own medical decisions, especially if it involves a pregnancy resulting from rape.
It’s worth pointing out that women also seek to reduce abortions (after all, they are the people who have them). Though they tend to prefer the avenues that actually work to reduce abortions, like making birth control accessible to poor women and providing education about reproduction. Republicans have been against these things, while also seeking to control what a woman does with her body once she is pregnant. In short, their position is not about reducing abortions because their policies do nothing but obstruct the very things statistically shown to reduce abortions. They do nothing to reduce rape or to protect women from rape, and then punish women for being raped by stripping them of the freedom to make their own medical decisions.
The word rape is not a four letter word that should not be spoken. It is a four letter word that needs to be discussed more often, in order to take steps to prohibit it. Instead, House Republicans are busy reissuing bills that they know incentivize rape because this was pointed out to them last year when they introduced the same bill. Yet, they reintroduced it again this year without addressing this flaw.
Republicans may not be saying the word rape anymore, but when some of us think of the word, we think of the danger of elected Republicans disenfranchising our liberty while emboldening rapists.