Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Poster of the Week

Tell Ronald Reagan
Women's Trust
Offset, 1984
Washington, D.C.

CSPG’s Poster of the Week was produced during President Ronald Reagan’s 1984 re-election campaign to bring attention to his strong opposition to women’s reproductive rights, which included denying rape victims access to legal abortions. With the graphic depiction of rape, the poster explicitly demonstrates the potential costs and trauma of President Reagan’s stance to emphasize the importance of the 1984 election.
Twenty-eight years later, women’s reproductive rights are in the same jeopardy this election. This Tuesday, the Republican Party released its platform calling for a constitutional amendment to ban all abortions without any explicit exceptions made for victims of rape or incest. This proposed “Human Life Amendment” would give fundamental individual rights and the protections of the Fourteenth Amendment to unborn fetuses.[1] This platform was released amidst controversy over comments made by current Missouri Representative and Republican Senate candidate, Todd Akin, during a televised interview this past Sunday. When discussing his stance on banning abortion in cases of rape, Akin claimed, victims of “legitimate” rape rarely became pregnant since “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Since then, Akin has publicly apologized for his comments, but he has refused to step down from the Senate race. [2]
Although several prominent Republican candidates, including Mitt Romney, have publically rebuked Akins for his comments and called for him to step down, the Republic Party platform supports the policy that Todd Akin had been endorsing when making the controversial statements. While Mitt Romney has stated he would not oppose abortion in cases of rape, he selected a running-mate, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, well known for his anti-reproductive rights position, who once called himself as “pro-life as a person can get.”[3] When pressed on the current Akin’s comment, Paul Ryan claimed, “Rape is rape. Period.  End of story.” [4]  However, this statement contradicts his recent political record as he co-sponsored the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” with Akins in 2011. This proposed act narrowed the federal restrictions on Medicaid funding of abortions, by limiting the existing exception to rape victims to only pregnancies resulting from “forcible rape,” clearly demonstrating multiple definitions of rape. [5]
The extreme position of the Republican platform as well as Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s stance on reproductive rights threaten women’s freedom of choice as President Reagan did in 1984. CSPG’s Poster of the Week was selected as a reminder of what is at stake this November.

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