As part of her effort to frame herself as a moderate, Hawaii’s Republican candidate for senate, former Gov. Linda Lingle, ran as far as possible from Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) “legitimate rape” comments this weekend, calling his assertion that women can’t get pregnant from rape “deplorable.”
But Lingle’s own record is not dissimilar from Akin’s when it comes to helping rape victims prevent pregnancy. When she was Governor of Hawaii, Lingle vetoed a bill that would have required hospitals to provide emergency contraception to rape victims who wanted it, citing hospitals with religious objections. She even boasts about the veto on her website.
At the time, there was only one Catholic hospital system in the state, St. Francis Medical Center, which would probably not have received any rape victims anyway, since it did not host an OB-GYN program. And since Lingle vetoed the bill, Catholic Bishops have come out in favor of supplying emergency contraception to rape victims. Lingle, on the other hand, has not shifted positions.
When Lingle vetoed the bill, many of the arguments against her decision echo those now being used against Akin. “Rape is a crime of violence,” the CEO of Planned Parenthood Hawaii wrote to the Honolulu Advertiser, “These women did not ask to have sex, they were forced to – and for the governor to force them to become pregnant by withholding emergency contraceptives is callous and appalling.”