Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ron Paul Is A Jerk

There are a lot of reasons I think Ron Paul is awful. I won't go into all of them here. However, I do want to comment on this interview with Piers Morgan, in which Morgan challenged Paul on his views on abortion, because what he said was so mind-bogglingly stupid.

Before we start, let's remind ourselves (little as I like to remember this fact) that Ron Paul is an obstetrician-gynecologist. So, in theory, he should know better.

1. Honest Rape

I can't even think about this right now, because my head will explode. I will come back to this.

2. "I would give them a shot of estrogen."

Doctor, in case this wasn't covered in your medical training, the morning-after pill, also known as Plan B or levonorgestrel, is a form of progesterone. There is no estrogen in it, and "a shot of estrogen" is not the treatment for emergency contraception.

So although you seem to have said that in order to sound medical and authoritative, you actually sounded like an ass.

3. "The people who like abortion and endorse abortion..."

No one "likes" or "endorses" abortion. We recognize the right to abortion and the need for abortion, and strive to protect the rights of women to make decisions about their reproductive lives (and, Doctor, if you were truly a libertarian, you would too). All pro-choice people would be thrilled if no one ever needed an abortion again, but that is just not the reality of the world.

You know that, but you are pretending not to, because you want to sound like your position has a shred of legitimacy. But in this interview, you showed how absurd, cruel and unrealistic your anti-abortion platform is.

4. "Does that mean that one minute before birth, you can kill the baby?"

No, it doesn't. No one is arguing that you can. That is a straw man used to distract from the main argument. It is possible to legalize abortion without ever killing a baby one minute before birth.  In fact, that is what we have right now. There are currently limits on the gestational age at which abortion is permitted. It's neither hard, nor confusing. If you want to object to abortion, object to what it truly is, not some exaggerated absurdity that you made up in your head.

(Logistically, it's not even possible to do this. One minute before birth, the infant is crowning. How would you "abort"?)

5. "...that individual should go immediately to the emergency room..."

Spoken like someone who has never met anyone who had been raped, who has never had to visualize a rape, and who has never understood what it is to be female. Does he think that being raped is like being mugged? When it's over, you're kind of annoyed and inconvenienced, and then you shrug, dust yourself off and head over to the authorities to report it?

The fact that a presidential candidate in this day and age can differentiate "honest rape" without a massive uproar shows exactly what our society thinks of rape: that it is the fault of the woman, and if she had just been more "honest" (better dressed, demure, careful, sober, obedient, virginal), then she wouldn't have been raped. And that widespread, unquestioned assumption makes it just so easy to go to the emergency room after a rape - to undergo a painful, humiliating rape kit that may never be tested, and then to describe and prove the rape to the doctors and the police.

6. "...there's no chemical, there's no medical and there's no legal evidence of a pregnancy......Life does begin at conception."

I put this here because he sounded so dumb, but I actually don't care about it. Yes, Piers Morgan is catching him in an inherent contradiction, but so what? His opinion on abortion so ridiculous to begin with that I'm not exactly looking for logic or internal consistency. Catching anti-abortion loony tunes in their own convoluted logic doesn't make them see reason; it only makes them cling to their hateful ideology that leaves no room for humanity.

7. Back to "honest rape"

Ron Paul doesn't want to believe that rape happens because he, as a man, doesn't really have to think about it. He doesn't have to worry that it will happen to him. He is probably not the person women are turning to when they are raped, and I cringe to think that any woman had to see him as their gynecologist.

I also find it astounding that he, as a gynecologist, never encountered women who had been raped, because the fact is that it is depressingly, frighteningly common. It leaves me only to think that with his patients, he didn't ask (likely) and they wouldn't tell him (also likely). Because who would want to divulge this traumatic experience to someone who is going to question whether your rape was "honest"?

I can't stand Ron Paul, and have never been moved by his facile, reductive positions, but this interview showed what a callous jerk and bumbling twit he is. As a doctor, he should at least be able to speak on these subjects with some modicum of knowledge, even if his positions are wrong. But he didn't seem to know the first thing about rape, estrogen, progesterone, or abortion, and as an obstetrician-gynecologist, that is pathetic.