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VERN’S VIEWS: The assault on women

The latest media flap, perpetrated by U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, the nearly brain-dead GOP senatorial candidate from Missouri, is an example of the callous and ignorant understanding of women, their rights and the law. I taught human anatomy for three years in college and medical school and was astounded to learn new things about the female reproductive system and its physiology from Akin.

A little research turned up a 1996 report from the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology that noted there were more than 32,000 pregnancies per year as a result of rape. It represented 5 percent of the victims who were 12-45 years old. This extrapolates out to more than 640,000 reported rapes. Sixteen years later, we have a more courageous female population that reports rapes more often rather than hides them.

From what I read, the rate of violence against women is about the same as in 1996, yet the GOP has recently voted against the Violence Against Women Act proposed by the Obama administration. They want to eliminate abortion altogether – as stated in their recently defined party platform – no matter the cause. They want to limit or eliminate contraception for women. From the lips of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney himself: “We want to get rid of Planned Parenthood."

For those who don’t pay attention, Planned Parenthood provides free screenings for breast cancer, uterine cancer and other female reproductive issues not involving abortions. In fact, the percent of Planned Parenthood work that is proactive for women is more than 95 percent.

Why, then, do Republicans want to end this program for women, especially poor women?

Their theme seems to be: “You must have that baby, but once you do, you and it are on your own — no welfare, no food stamps, no Medicaid.”

That sounds a lot like assault to me.

There is plenty of room for debate on this issue. Good. Maybe eliminating rape and violence against women is a good starting place. I don’t like the concept of abortion; I prefer prevention of pregnancy. Our current laws, however, allow some legally sanctioned abortions.

A recent poll shows Caucasian males in the United States favor Mitt Romney by about 29 percent. In view of this topic, I wonder what percentage of women of voting age favor anything Republican. With the other GOP attacks and fear-mongering about people not in the Republican base, it looks like all women and those who are not in a “favored” group will be compelled to vote out and against those who are working against their best interests.

My questions are: How could anyone with any respect for women and their hard-earned rights even consider voting for an agenda that condones rescinding those rights as well as rejecting a law intended to squelch violence against women? Do these people want to return to the pre-1920 era when women couldn’t vote?

Well, too bad. Women do have the right to vote, and if they have any self-respect and dignity they will vote against the Republican’s anti-woman agenda.

Turner is a retired teacher and industrial engineer who lives near Marble Falls. He is an independent columnist, not a staff member, and his views do not necessarily reflect those of The Tribune or its parent company. His books are available on "Killing the Dream: America’s Flirtation With Third World Status" and "A Worm in the Apple: The Inside Story of Public Schools." He can be reached by email at