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Please begin with an informative title:

Much as I'm appalled by the neolithic views Akin, Mourdock, Ryan, Mandel et al have sincerely (!) expressed regarding rape, I share the sensibilities of some diarists who find them hilarious at a certain level. These Repubs sound like they're suffering from Rape OCD and Personhood OCD, "regardless of the conception method," as Ryan would say.

But rape is rape, and unlike beauty, it is not in the eye of the beholder. Often only the victim knows for sure, and unless she's a five-year-old or a sixty-year-old virgin (before the assault), she may be unable to prove it.

As a gynecologist, I once treated a 15-year-old who had been referred by her pediatrician for abortion. She had been conned by an older man, then taken to another city and raped. At seven weeks, I expected it to be a simple procedure. But she was obviously in pain, just sitting there on the table, and as soon as I helped her into stirrups, I saw her horrible case of primary herpes. I couldn't even find the opening of her cervix, which was swollen to about five times the normal size. She had picked up herpes, chlamydia, and a pregnancy from her rapist. We had to defer the abortion until her infections were under control, which fortunately turned out okay. But if I had crossed paths with the man who did this to her, I might have pulled out a scalpel and castrated him.

Fortunately these days, outside the metaphysical straitjacket the Republican platform urges us to adopt, if we aren't already protected against pregnancy by our birth control pills or our tubal ligation or our IUD or other circumstances, we can nip rape conception in the bud, possibly even before sperm meets egg, with Plan B or any other Morning After option. And if that fails, which it occasionally does, we can identify persistent trophoblast (placenta precursor) and take medicine to eliminate it before our period is due, and before it is possible to know whether an embryo even exists (in many pregnancies, including the majority that eventually miscarry, there isn't one). Of course this is exactly what Ryan and Romney intend to prevent. Not the rapes, just the 21st-century rape relief.

The idea that the possible future personhood of a 6-hour conception which can't be seen with the naked eye (and which we might not even find with a microscope) should override the will of a here-and-now Female Crime Victim makes about as much sense as the idea that the earth is 6,000 years old. It's ludicrous. Preposterous. Absurd on multiple levels. Dangerous. Unfair to current and future victims. A huge diversion of money and other resources. If it weren't for our long human history of being unable to identify or stop pregnancy so early and being unable to guage the world's geological age, these ideas would be laughed out of existence.

It's not that these rigid Christian Repubs are unaware of "science," either. They think pregnant women don't die in this day and age. Don't worry, be happy: women have magic parts. They think the left-wing concern about "the health of the mother" is a joke, because Progress. In reality, it's their "science" that's a joke. I could be very graphic about pregnancy and the health of the mother, but I tried that once in a LTE at the NY Times, and they cut the gruesome details that keep gynecologists in business.


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