Mitch McConnell, now the Senate Majority Leader, made an astonishing announcement this weekend: he ruled out a vote on the Attorney General nomination of Loretta Lynch, poised to become America's first female African American Attorney General, unless Republicans have their way on forcing rape victims to give birth to the children of their rapists.
So what's the deal with the Human Trafficking bill? Well, a pretty big deal, actually.
For a very long time, to the appalling and righteous anger of those who value women's rights, Congress has forbidden using federal funds for abortion, with one important exception: victims of rape and incest. Congress has never before crossed the line of forcing victims of rape to bear their rapists' children for the lack of financial means. But now, Senate Republicans are poised to do just that.
But isn't this about Human Trafficking victims not being able to use federal funds (collected from fines from crimes)? What does that have to do with rape?
If you are even asking that question, you do not understand human trafficking. It's a horrific crime of terror - predominantly perpetrated on women and children - that enslaves its victims, sometimes selling them into labor, sometimes into sexual slavery. The victims have no say, they have no rights, they have no ability to consent. No victim of human trafficking - during the period of their trafficking - can be considered to have given consent for anything, let alone an act of sex. This is not to even mention that many become victims of human trafficking after suffering from the ravages of conflicts in which rape is used as a weapon of war.
Because no victim of trafficking can be considered to have given consent, all pregnancies resulting from human trafficking is therefore, by definition, a result of rape. Plain and simple. We should also note that the restitution fund is all that victims of trafficking will have aside from the clothes on their backs, and forbidding its use for abortions is trying to force these women to have the children of their rapists.
Republicans have tried and failed - most notably in 2012 - to win elections running on the premise that rape victims ought to be forced to give birth to the children of their rapists. That fetuses conceived from rape were "God's gift". Even in a Republican wave year, 2010, right wing candidates who advocated for this position lost. In 2014, they kept it under wraps.
What they couldn't do through elections they are now trying to do through legislative arm-twisting. What they couldn't sell to the American people in campaigns they are trying to ram down our throats by insisting that countless women who are victims of human trafficking and rape must be re-victimized at the hands of the law by being forced to birth the children of their rapists.
Does anyone still doubt that the "legitimate rape" crowd represents the mainstream Republican view on women?