in vitro fertilizationThanks to Congressman Todd Akin, we’ve all spent a lot of time lately talking about “legitimate  rape” and the rape exception for abortion. All but the most conservative of the Republican party have condemned the Senate candidate for suggesting that women can’t get pregnant through rape, because their bodies have magical ways “to shut that whole thing down.” Mitt Romney called the statement “inexcusable,” and called for Akin to drop out of the race. President Barack Obama stated that, “Rape is rape,” and reinforced his support for a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health decisions.

We’ve had a lot of conversations about abortion, rape, and what happens when the two intersect.

But in the rush to denounce to Todd Akin and his backward beliefs about the power of the female uterus, many have overlooked the extreme stance on all reproductive health issues taken by the official platform of the Republican Party. While the media rushed to cover the Congressman from Missouri, the GOP gathered under the leadership of Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell to determine the party’s position on all major policy issues for the upcoming years.

While we were focusing on Todd Akin, Republicans approved some positions that everyone should be aware of and that many women should be concerned about. According to CNN, this clause was approved to be part of the Republican’s official party platform.

“Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”

Let’s all be clear, this is the language of Personhood. This is the believe that human life starts at conception. And while many just looked at this and pointed out that it would criminalize all abortion with no exceptions for rape, incest or the life the mother, there are a lot of other ways that Personhood laws affect women. Mainly, it would severely limit birth control and in vitro fertilization.

Personhood would reduce available options for birth control. Hormonal choices, such as The Pill, could become illegal. The fast-growing and popular choice of the IUD would certainly be unavailable. Women and men would be limited to choices like condoms and spermicide if they didn’t want to go the Natural Family Planning route.

(Photo: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock)