The Huffington Post's front page on Tuesday featured a large picture of a wire hanger under the headline "GOP Platform: Anti-Abortion Amendment, No Exception." The hanger is a symbol of back-alley illegal abortions performed on desperate women with wire hangers.
The Republican Party is standing by its strong anti-abortion policy even as party leaders try to get their Senate candidate in Missouri, Rep. Todd Akin, to drop out after he provoked outrage with the claim that "legitimate rape" rarely causes pregnancy. The platform to be adopted at the GOP convention next week will call for a constitutional ban on abortion, even in cases of rape and incest, it was announced Tuesday.
"The party's official stance on abortion was approved after just a few minutes of discussion," reports Political Ticker. "The vote to endorse the party's long-standing opposition to abortion and support for a 'human life amendment' took place at a meeting of the GOP's official platform committee in Tampa, the site of next week's Republican National Convention."
The proposed constitutional amendment would define life as beginning at conception, making abortion murder.
The Huffington Post published the jarring hanger image in response to the GOP platform, causing a stir of it's own. Newsweek reacted to the controversial photo on their Tumblr, which posted the image of the HuffPost front page with the tag "Whoa there, Huffington Post!"
Though the comment suggested the HuffPost image was extreme, some user reactions haven't been as critical. Tumblr blogger ckwalsh wrote, "They may have gone for the shock value, but I think this is one of these things where shock value is NEEDED - if that's what it takes to bring people's attention to the issue."
Newsweek added to the mockery of the dramatic image by adding a new coat hanger cursor to their Tumblr blog. "We're retiring the mustache cursor for the day. Here's our new one: a coat hanger," wrote Newswek in the blog about the new cursor.
But reactions to the new cursor haven't all been positive. "No one wants to laugh about abortion laws right now," wrote Mediaite.
Akin's statement, which he has retracted and apologized for, came in a TV interview on Sunday. "First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," the Senate nominee said on the "Jaco Report."
"The nonsense term 'legitimate rape' aside, this claim is based on the belief that the female body won't let itself become pregnant during a rape," said Gawker. "That does nothing to explain all the children born from rape and incest, or any number of accidental pregnancies."
The HuffPost article that features the hanger image points out that, "there is no policy difference between Akin's comments and the mainstream GOP platform." Beyond the idea of there being "legitimate" and illegitimate rape, the notion that women have a natural mechanism to stop unwanted pregnancy seems to be the reasoning behind the far-right anti-abortion stance.
Akins and the Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., both supported the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act of 2011, reports HuffPost. The bill would have classified specific types of rape, like "forcible rape," which would be the only instance that would grant insurance coverage for abortion, but it was not passed.