Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Akins Assault on Women's Health & Dignity

Assault on Women’s Health Revisited with Senator Akin, leaving the Republican Party Belly-aching

Though the memory of the 2011 Republican attempts to redefine the rape of an unconscious woman as a noncriminal activity and thus not rape, are still etched in my memory, the party continues to horrify the nation with its Neanderthal postulations. The latest assertion came from Senator Akin from Missouri, who stated that women are unlikely to get pregnant in a true rape situation, because the woman’s Zen warrior vagina is able to battle the offending sperm from penetrating her nubile eggs.  OK, Akin didn’t say that part, but I thought I would add some humor to the situation.  Once again we seem to have a Republican senatorial candidate who still wants to redefine rape, so this ugly issue has not been vanquished.   In the interest of refining the conversation by adding some facts, this article will address actual data on rape, biology, and national data on abortion services for women.

Once and For All Here Are the Definitions and Data on Rape
The New York Times reported that nearly 1 out of 5 women admitted to having been sexually assaulted in the United States. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, which was funded by the Department of Defense reviewed the records of 16,507 adults and of those, 33% of the women indicated they had been raped, beaten, or stalked, or horrifically, in combination. Rape was defined as a completed forced penetration, forced penetration facilitated by drugs or alcohol, or attempted forced penetration. If you apply this relationship to the U.S. female population about  1.3 million American women are rape victims annually. In the same survey 1 out of 71 men also reported they had been raped. [1]

The ability of a sperm to penetrate an egg or ovum has little to do with the female vagina’s functioning, but rather with the sperms facileness and speed within the window of opportunity in terms of the female ovulation cycle. The vagina is the entry point for the sperm. Where the individual woman’s work really comes into play is in the ability to carry the fertilized egg through  the development cycle of the pregnancy term. The woman’s “welcoming vagina” does not clinically decide pregnancy, as-in- yea for the good guy and nea for the rapist.

Implications for Women’s Health Care
The assault on women’s health care has been ongoing for years, but the attempts to offer low income women the same health care options that wealthier women have for family planning has increased the temperature of this pot boiler. In my previous articles on statewide positions for reproductive autonomy I have revealed which states restrict oral birth control, even for private sector employees, those that restrict birth control options for any state worker, and of course, those seeking the personhood amendment for an unborn fetus. If these states are so concerned for the unborn child, let’s take a closer look at the welfare of children in Missouri, which spawned the odious Senator Akin.

Missouri  currently has a ban on abortion, which is not enforceable because of federal protection under Roe-V-Wade. Though Missouri has not criminalized abortion (yet), it is one of the more restrictive states for this medical procedure. For example, in the State of Missouri, all private insurance plans are restricted from providing abortion coverage in their health plans. This flies in the face of the national statistic which indicates that 46% of private employer plans offered abortion services in their group medical plans according to a 2003 Kaiser Foundation Survey.  So Missouri already makes it tough for women who are forcibly impregnated.  Missouri also denies access to abortion for Medicaid women.

According to the Kaiser Foundation 2010 National Insurance Survey, 82% of Missourian women had some type of insurance, with nearly 19% on Missouri Medicaid or other state subsidized plan for women living in poverty. Compared to the nation, Missouri is in the middle in terms of how much income a woman is allowed to have in order to qualify for its Medicaid program, at 185% of the federal poverty level.

Akin has created a lot of belly-aching though his views are shared by many in the Republican Party which has recently come out with its formal platform stating it is against abortion even in the event of rape or incest.  Though I pride myself on my objectivity and data-driven approach to policy making and of course my voting process, my ability to consider any Republican candidate as suitable material for elected office is waning when the party spends its time coming up with this type of proclamation during one of the worst economic depressions the United States has seen. To all women in this country, I remind you that we are at least 51% of the country’s population and I encourage you all to vote with your autonomous vaginas in-tact.

For more information on how your state ranks in terms of reproductive autonomy, contact the healthpolicymaven, who conducted a fifty-state survey in 2010 and recently updated it in 2012.
And this is the healthpolicymaven signing off still unpenetrated by the Republican attempts to control my privacy.

This article was written by Roberta E. Winter, MHA, MPA, and may be reprinted with her permission. I do encourage you all to share it virally for this issue deserves attention.

[1]Naomi Wolf,  Vagina, A New Biography, Published by Harper Collins, September 2012,  Chapter, The Traumatized Vagina, p. 97