Politician’s views demean women

By Editorial, Chattanooga, TN–Consensual sex is “similar” to rape when the couple in question is not married, at least according to Tom Smith, a Pennsylvania Republican candidate for Senate.

Smith– who told reporters at the Pennsylvania Press Club he was not comparing the two– went on to do seemingly just that when talking about his daughter’s pregnancy, saying, “Put yourself in a father’s position, yes, I mean it is similar.”

Smith began this topic after a reporter asked how he would handle a daughter or granddaughter becoming pregnant as a result of a rape, after discussing his agreement on an abortion ban with no exceptions for incest or rape.

Smith responded by telling the reporter he “lived something similar to that with my own family.”

As ignorant and unfortunate as Smith’s thoughts– or lack thereof– on the matter of pregnancy and rape were, they follow an even more outrageously ridiculous statement by Rep. Todd Akin.

Akin recently said that women who are “legitimately raped” almost never become pregnant from the rape because “the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down.”

In case anyone is uncertain about that little tidbit of so-called science, that is absolutely not the case.

Sex is sex, and can result in pregnancy when it is between a man and a woman, regardless of whether or not it was wanted.

In fact, according to a 1996 study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year. On average, there are an average of 207,754 victims of sexual assault every year, according to numbers from The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.

Because Akin’s comments have come under fire, he has released an ad in which he admits that rape can, in fact, lead to pregnancy.

Despite their demonstrated lack of knowledge on the subject matter, older conservative men just cannot seem to keep from getting involved in a discussion about women’s sexuality.

If men whom our country considers electing into positions of power are not educated enough to speak appropriately, then what does that say about the rest of our population?

“She knew my views but fortunately for me…she chose  the way I thought,” Smith was quoted as saying in the interview about his daughter’s decision to keep the child.

Putting the matter of abortion to the side, there is a fundamental issue with what Smith said concerning his daughter’s pregnancy, which is—to him—whether or not his daughter consented to the sex which resulted in the pregnancy did not matter.

But a right to choose is a basic one, and one that is highly valued within our society.

Yet, in comparing consensual sex to rape simply because his daughter was not married, Smith is essentially implying his daughter’s decisions do not matter. He is saying that he does not value her right to make her own choice if it does not follow alongside his own narrow-minded view.

Not only does Smith demean his daughter’s– and all women’s– right to choose with this statement, he also marginalizes and belittles women who were raped and who absolutely did not have a choice in the matter.

Beyond ignorance, Smith’s statements show a lack of compassion and blatant carelessness for those who have suffered such an attack.

It is shameful that this is the sort of person who is allowed a political platform and who receives support when he voices such appalling thoughts on matters which he knows absolutely nothing about.

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