A covert video shot by anti-abortion activists has put Republicans on the attack against Planned Parenthood, and one presidential candidate's push to dismantle the women's health center has taken a dramatically inappropriate turn. In a series of tweets on Sunday that was all shades of disgusting, Rand Paul used rape language in multiple calls to defund Planned Parenthood. It really is a new low of tactless lobbying for votes.
Earlier this week, anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress released footage of a Planned Parenthood official speaking somewhat glibly about fetal tissue donations. The heavily edited video miscasts the organization's practice of donating fetal tissue for medical research as a profiteering black market business. Planned Parenthood has since apologized for the official's tone, but continues to vehemently deny that it makes money off baby body parts.
That fact, however, appears lost on Paul, who took to Twitter to pitch himself as the premiere pro-life GOP candidate. The six-part tweet-a-thon culminated in a link for a petition to help him not only defund the women's health center, but also "put pro-abortion Democrats on the defensive for their outrageous pro-abortion extremism." But it's how Paul began talking that belied whatever possible good intentions the Kentucky senator may have had.
I'm not taking "no" for an answer. I'm going to pull out all the stops to force a vote on my amendment to #DefundPlannedParenthood.
In case you didn't catch that, Paul invoked the same "not taking no for an answer" claim that rapists use when they say a victim "wanted" it. For decades, "no means no" has been a critical part in the campaign to end sexual assaults, but it appears some people are still confused that consent must be willingly given. "Yes" and "no" are two of the most fundamental words in any language. Ain't nothing hard to understand about that.
If you really want to get into the weeds of unpacking Paul's horribly penned tweet, what does it say about a person who's happy to "force" something on someone — whether that "thing" is a vote or a penis. And don't even get me started on what it means to "pull out."
Given Paul's track record with women's rights, it isn't surprising to see him clamoring to pull Planned Parenthood apart brick by brick, dollar by dollar. But is it OK to touch on rape culture to sell your platform? No senator, it's not. And in case you weren't sure, that "no" means no. Not yes.