Maryann Tobin

Republicans have backed themselves into a corner on the abortion debate.

On one hand, they have to maintain their appeal to the delusional fringe that thinks women have magical powers over sperm from “legitimate rape.” But they also have to pretend to pander to normal people, otherwise known as mainstream Republicans and independents. And let's not forget that half of the entire population of the United States consists of women – who vote.

However, the real problem for the Republicans lies in women and the central plank in their charge against abortion.

In order to retain enough support from women voters to ever win another election, they have to preserve a woman's right to abortion in the case of rape, and not just "legitimate rape" as defined by Representatives Todd Akin and Paul Ryan. But if they do that, the GOP would also have to abandon their crusade to overturn Roe vs. Wade, if they can't constitutionally outlaw abortion – except for rape.

The anti-abortion Republican movement also blows another giant hole in the Tea Party message. It makes it rather obvious that arguments for "smaller government" become exposed for what they really are, which is code for only ending entitlements like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Smaller government means smaller payments for education, environmental protection, research, and funding for state projects. Smaller government in the Republican mind applies to all government spending except defense, which Ryan and Mitt Romney support spending even more money on, if they win their 2012 bid for the White House.

And now for the mother of all holes in the anti-abortion-smaller government argument.

For all the noise Republicans make about smaller government, nothing exposes them more as masters of misrepresentation than the abortion debate. It is the very symbol of personal freedom, and they are trying to take it away.

Women are not stupid. Regardless of whether they are Democrats or Republicans, they know that the abortion fight is really about giving the government the power to decide who gets to have children and who doesn't.

Sounds more like communist China than America.

Nothing is more personal to an American family than the decision to have children, whether by rape or by choice. Should the U.S. government really be given the power to control the outcome of pregnancies?

Republicans call President Obama a "socialist" and "anti-American" because he believes heath care should be a human right and not a privilege only for the rich or those with generous employers.

Yet for decades the Republicans have been trying to bring to American society a social-engineering rule best known in communist China. With a few tweaks, it's their version of government control over reproduction.

Even the crazy people on the far right, who believe in magical sperm-killing powers in women who have been raped, should not deny that their bid for government control of reproductive rights is a massive overreach of extremist rule.

Now that U.S. Senate candidate Akin has voiced what Republican rule over personal freedom really means, it shouldn't be too long before people start showing up at political rallies carrying signs that read, "Keep your government hands off my uterus."


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