Is Mitt Romney Dumber Than He Looks?

All decent people believe that rape is a particularly horrible crime. But it’s even worse than you think, and here’s why: Other awful crimes pretty much reach their peak of awfulness at the moment they happen. If you are mugged and robbed, that’s likely going to be the worst of it. But that isn’t necessarily true with rape. After the attack, the victim’s situation can just keep getting worse, in new and different ways.

If you file a police complaint, you will probably need to go for an intense rape exam. You will stand on a piece of white paper and carefully remove all of your clothes, which will be retained by the police and examined for hair, fiber, and fluid evidence. While still dealing with the trauma of your attack, you will be photographed naked to preserve evidence of bruises, bite marks, scratches, or bleeding. You will be carefully examined for injuries. You will be swabbed for evidence of another person’s body fluids.

And then the police may not actually use any of this evidence. They may never catch the perp. Despite funds available to local police departments through the Debbie Smith Act, thousands of rape test kits just sit in police evidence lockers, untested. According to FBI statistics, in 2009, there were an estimated 88,097 forcible rapes.

If police do identify a suspect and make an arrest, it’s your life that may wind up under the microscope. And thanks to the efforts of far right-wing anti-women groups and outfits like the “False Rape Society” led by Glenn Sacks, there’s an organized effort to persuade people that sexual assault statistics are overblown and that women tend to lie all the time about being raped. Try as you might, you will not find equivalent groups dedicated to convincing people that murder or burglary stats are overblown or that men tend to lie about being victims of some particular type of crime.

If you are a victim of rape, you may have to answer questions that a victim of a violent mugging certainly would not have to answer. What were you wearing? How much did you have to drink? How many sex partners have you had? Did you have sex with someone else before or after this alleged crime?

And unlike a victim of a mugging or robbery, you may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease that will change your life forever. And, despite the idiotic drivel spewed by anti-choice zealots like Rep. Todd Akin, you may also become pregnant. A study published in the Journal of American Obstetrics and Gynecology estimates that every year, more than 30,000 pregnancies result from rape.

If you’ve been raped and become pregnant, you may discover that you have no choice if the Republicans win in November. Paul Ryan, the GOP Vice Presidential nominee, has made it abundantly clear that he believes there should be no abortions, anywhere, for any reason. Period. Ryan was a co-sponsor, along with Rep. Akin and the majority of Republicans in the House, of the “Let Women Die Act,” which would have allowed hospitals to refuse to give a therapeutic abortion to a woman—even if it was necessary to save her life.

If the Republicans win, they say they would repeal Obamacare on day one, which means that pregnant rape victims wouldn’t be able to count on having health insurance. And pregnant rape victims would probably not be able to buy maternity insurance on the “individual market.” They would, after all, have a pre-existing condition: pregnancy. They would not be able to go Planned Parenthood for pre-natal exams, either, because Republicans plan to defund it.

By the time the child is born, the Republicans, who would have given millionaires some huge tax breaks, will have slashed federal funds for programs like Medicaid, day care, food stamps, and SCHIP, all of which help the disadvantaged and that could help a pregnant rape victim. To put the icing on this cake baked in hell, in many states, the victim’s rapist could file for visitation or even custody of the child.

And now, here we have Mitt Romney, who has Etch-A-Sketched, contorted, and flip-flopped himself 180 degrees on the matter of choice, swearing with each shake of the Etch A Sketch that he will never ever change again. By now, everyone on the planet realizes that Romney has changed on choice so he could charm the Tea Party loons, who now dominate the party. This past weekend, Romney said he was upset that Obama mentions the subject and that the press asks about rape so much. Romney wants us all to stop talking about the issues of rape, abortion, and choice—like that’s going to happen. I guess he really is dumber than he looks.