Remember the all those extreme right wingers who tried to rationalize their objections to allowing abortion in cases of rape or incest, and ended up not getting elected? Just in case you thought this was something new in politics, it’s really not. This is from 1998:
More of a concern within the Bush campaign, however, are Mr. Quayle’s recent comments about abortion to an 11-year-old child, Suki Chong, who works for ”Children’s Express,” a program broadcast on public television stations. In an interview for the show last week, Suki asked the candidate whether he would rather she had a baby than abort the fetus if she became pregnant through her father. Mr. Quayle replied: ”My answer would be yes. The idea of a father abusing a daughter is a horrendous situation.” But Mr. Quayle said he would ”like to see the baby have an opportunity.”
In 1988, this was such a grotesque idea that no one took it seriously, especially coming from a vice presidential candidate who would have no real power. Besides, he wasn’t saying it should be against the law, merely that he would advise this girl not to abort. And at least he acknowledged that the idea of a father raping his own daughter was “horrendous” instead of burbling on about “the father’s perspective” or claiming that father’s raping their daughters is “so rare.”
It is not just a sad day when Dan Quayle looks comparatively classy. It is an inexcusable day. We must not forget that the comments politicians made this year are nothing new. They were not a freak occurrence. They were simply new rationalizations for old ideas: that rape culture must be bolstered and supported to prevent women enjoying the sexual freedoms reserved for men. This position so lacks compassion for the women who were once female fetuses that it remains impossible to take seriously the claims that these people care about fetuses or anything else but themselves.