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For the second time in my life, I’m going to begin an essay with this Florynce Kennedy quote: “If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.”

The first time, I was in 6th or 7th grade, giving a speech on sexism at a competition held at a local Catholic high school. The judge (a woman, in case you’re interested) was not impressed, thus my first lesson in knowing your audience.

The fact is, it had never occurred to naive little me that this quote might deeply offend someone because it seems so clearly a political statement, and that is all abortion has become: a tool in the box that one party or the other trots out at some point in every election to prove how much they care about the family, about women, about life. Each side accuses the other, with grim predictability, of not truly caring, regardless of their respective positions. But who knows what these politicians really think about these things underneath their posturing? Many have famously changed their stance on the subject or have even profited from the abortions they claim to be against (I’m looking at you here, Mitt). Others claim to be pro-life when they only care about babies in utero and don’t want to support any sort of programs that help them once they emerge.

I’ve found the recent Republican statements about rape and abortion baffling in their cruelty and stupidity. But I also don’t believe the majority of Republicans feel this way. Instead, I think their platform is a cynical ploy to cater to the extremists in their party; it’s their way of locking down the one-issue voters who might otherwise vote Democrat for one reason or another. Because let’s face it, Republican women and men get raped, too. Republican women have abortions, too. No one asks your political affiliation in these situations, and everyone who has faced them deserves only your compassion. Your judgment, you can keep to yourself. You’re not God. Maybe there isn’t even a God to be judgey in these situations, but that’s a discussion for another time.

My belief doesn’t mean I’ll consider voting for the Republicans come November, however. Whatever they think behind closed doors, we’ve all seen the legislation they introduce and heard the crap they spew in public. While I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t end up enacting all of the Personhood laws they’ve come up with, or removing the rape/incest/life-of-the-mother clause from abortion law, I wouldn’t bet my vagina on it.

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