Is the Republican Party really pursuing a war on women?
Well, yes and no to that question.
abortion rights then you're not going to find a welcome spot in the Republican fold.
If you look at individual members of the party, however, you can find plenty of examples of misogyny and totally wrong-headed thinking.
The latest incident involves Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin who said in an interview while promoting the idea abortion should be illegal even in case of rape "It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something. You know, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child."
One has to wonder what an "illegitimate" rape is. Good luck with a definition because legally, rape is rape. And for someone who is on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, you'd think he'd know something about the science of reproduction but he apparently does not.
And while plenty of commentators have tried to rescue Akin by saying his remarks were unfortunate or a "gaffe," they obviously don't know the guy because it's not the first time he's been in the rape thicket.
Akin, who is a Congressman seeking to jump up to a Senate seat, was a co-sponsor of a Republican bill in the House that proposed to limit Medicaid from providing funds for an abortion to only in the case of "forcible" rape. All rape is forcible, otherwise it's not really rape, is it? And by the by, another co-sponsor of the bill was Republican vice presidential running mate Paul Ryan.
Ultimately the forcible phrasing was dropped and the subsequent bill went nowhere, but it gives you a good sense of where Akin sits on the abortion and rape issue.
Certainly Akin's remarks have brought condemnation from top-tier Republicans, calls for his withdrawal from the race and a withholding of campaign funds from the party, which must hurt because they realize he had a good chance of unseating Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill in the fall election.
Akin's response -- I'm not going to do it -- saying a few words in one sentence on one day shouldn't change everything he's gone through to get his party's nomination through the primary process.
Sorry Todd, it does.
It wasn't the first time Akin tried to push more restrictive abortion legislation working around the word "rape." This wasn't isolated or a gaffe and it shouldn't matter how hard you've worked to get on the ballot.
Akin thinks he knows best for women, and he thinks there are a lot of independent voters out there who believe the way he does and will jump in to support his candidacy.
If Missouri is "The Show Me" state then I suggest the state does -- show him the door.
In her praise of the primary election held Aug. 7 in a recent guest commentary in the News-Review, Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson paints a glowing picture of her efforts to assure that Michigan's voting process is beyond reproach.
But she didn't tell the whole story of the voter application question of whether or not the potential elector is a U.S. citizen and what occurred behind the scenes.
Johnson in her role as head of the election process put the question of citizenship on the voter application back in February all by her lonesome, with the directive that if people refused to comply with the question they couldn't vote. If they swore they were U.S. citizens they were given a provisional ballot, which is subject to challenge and rejection. If they refused to swear their citizenship, no ballot.
So sure was she that it was a good idea, she sought legislation that would have made the question the law of the land in Michigan -- which passed the Legislature in June and was then, in July, vetoed by Gov. Rick Snyder who said it would cause confusion at the polls.
Not that Johnson pulled the question, changed the instructions about the oath and provisional ballot or failing to issue the ballot, or helped clerks with any possible confusion about the fact the governor had vetoed the bill. Oh no, business as usual until election day when some of that confusion came to roost and her office issued a "clarification" mid-day that if a voter refused to answer the question they were to be told by election officials that they must be a U.S. citizen to vote -- and were then to be issued a ballot.
Voters are already required to affirm their citizenship when they register to vote, and for voters who religiously go to the polls year after year, election after election, the question was insulting and many of them were downright angry.
So thanks, Ruth, for the shout-out to the election workers who made it all happen on Aug. 7 and for the voters who used their right to vote to do just that.
Just be a little more forthcoming on that U.S. citizenship question than you were in your commentary.
Kendall P. Stanley is retired editor of the Petoskey News-Review. firstname.lastname@example.org.