The Republicans have stepped into it on the issue of abortion, and don't let the Republican down the street or the Republican at your office water cooler get away with saying, “Todd Akin doesn't reflect the views of the Republican Party”, or “Romney was pro-choice when he was Governor of Massachusetts.”
The fact is, the Republicans approved a platform at their national convention in Tampa, and in that platform, it says, “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.” There's nothing in there about exceptions for rape or incest.
The same platform also includes this curious sentence: “The Pacific territories should have flexibility to determine the minimum wage, which has seriously restricted progress in the private sector.”
What's that about? It's about the Mariana Islands, which includes Saipan. The minimum wage there $5.05 an hour, and it is scheduled to increase to $5.55 on September 30. When the Republicans use the word “flexibility” here, they mean the flexibility to lower it.
And why do the Republicans think that this is important enough to put it in their platform? The Marianas are important because goods manufactured there are labeled “made in USA”, and can be sold as such by companies such as Tommy Hilfinger, Nortstrom, and Wal-Mart. The sweatshops are represented in Washington by Jack Abramoff, and Abramoff has been assisted in lobbying efforts by another Republican heavyweight, Ralph Reed of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. Former House Majority Leader Tom Delay was their representative in the House of Representatives; he described the low-wage, anti-union conditions of the Marianas constituted "a perfect petri dish of capitalism. It's like my Galapagos Island." Their representative in the Senate was Rick Santorum.
There's a lot more to this than minimum wage, however. Women who work in these sweatshops have been forced into prostitution, and when they get pregnant, are forced to have abortions.
You read right: the same Republicans who believe that women shouldn't even be allowed to have abortions in cases of rape and incest have no problem with forced abortions if there's a few bucks to be made off cheap labour. And by putting the Mariana Islands plank in their platform, they've chosen to wear this on their shirtsleeves. The lesson we can learn from this is, Republicans don't want women to have control over their own bodies, period.
Article by Bill Moyers: Ralph Reed in the Marianas Trenches
Article by Rebecca Claren: Paradise Lost: Greed, Sex Slavery, Forced Abortions and Right-Wing Moralists