Mr. Romney, I recently learned that you believe abortion should be allowed in cases of rape but I also understand that your party is having a hard time defining the word rape. I thought you might like a little suggestion from this military wife... I recently saw a great film that explains it all. It's called The Invisible War. Have you seen it? You haven't? Then guess what, today is your lucky day.
Mr. Romney, just in case you don't get a chance to drop by, let me tell you about this film. Our military has a problem that they've had a hard time addressing over the decades. It's the problem of rape. The film tells the story of the many, many victims but highlights the stories of a few very proud military women. The film also explains the role of the perpetrator in rape; yes, somehow people forget that a perpetrator even exists. Then the film explains how many of these victims are raped all over again by the very system that should be designed to protect them.
Part of that problem has to do with how folks think about rape... you know, folks that think rape comes in different shapes and sizes, that rape can be legitimate and illegitimate, that it can be forceable or not forceable. I bet you know a few folks that think like that, don't you?
Well, in the military, lots of people who think rape comes in different shapes and sizes make sure that women who report rape and sexual assault regret that they ever did so in the first place. These women find that the investigation often doesn't focus on a perpetrator at all, but on themselves. Sometimes these women are even accused of being a part of a crime, like adultery. Yes, I know it's hard to believe, but it's true. Sometimes even unmarried women are accused because the guy who committed the assault was married so it must have been adultery, right? Would that be a case of illegitimate rape?
But Mr. Romney, I know that you're a good family man. I know that you and Ann understand that women wouldn't lie about such a horrible crime as rape. I mean, who would want to go through the scrutiny, the blame, the investigation of their personal lives unless something horrific had really happened? Thank goodness that some in the military are finally beginning to understand this. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta watched The Invisible War and soon after changed the reporting process so that the most senior commanders become responsible for the decisions to investigate. He gets it. Of course, he's a Democrat, so you might not want to follow his example, right?
Maybe the words of the brand new Secretary of the Air Force would resonate better. This guy, General Mark Welsh, impressed even Senator John Cornyn. Maybe you could ask Senator Cornyn about their meeting next time you have lunch together. Here's what General Welsh had to say:
"When it comes to Airman resiliency, suicide prevention, and sexual assault prevention and response, I believe you're either part of the solution or you're part of the problem," he said. "There is no middle ground."So which is it, Mr. Romney? Are you part of the solution or part of the problem? It sounds like from your recent interview with CBS, that you might be part of the solution. After all, unlike your own party's platform, you
Currently, due to Federal Law, women that are cared for by the military health care system are denied all abortions, even those in cases of rape, incest, or the life of the mother, those three that you support. Currently, women who serve or are married to those who serve or are the daughters of those that serve, cannot have an abortion for any reason whatsoever at a military facility nor at a civilian facility using their TriCare health benefits.
What that means is that for a woman in the military that is raped and gets pregnant is that she has to fund her own abortion, even when that rape was perpetrated by a fellow serviceman. Not only does she have to fund her own abortion, she has to arrange for the leave to do so which means asking permission from her commander who may or may not believe in abortion rights. To make things worse, if this woman lives in a state where receiving an abortion has been made more complicated by the local state legislature, she may have to travel to another state, again using her own funds. To make it even worse, if she lives at an overseas base in a country where abortion is illegal, she may need to fund travel back to the United States and need even more of her personal leave to accomplish the trip. Can't get much worse than that, can it? We only wish. If she is in a deployed location, it becomes even harder as getting back home would mean using military planes and once again, a commander's permission to do so. Can you see how complicated this is getting? Our active duty military women and the wives and daughters of our active duty soldiers are treated like second class citizens for requesting a procedure that is legal in the US of A.
So, Mr. Romney, if you are elected President, would you fight to change the law that prevents an active duty servicewoman from having an abortion, especially if that woman became pregnant due to rape by a fellow soldier?