GOP congressional candidate Dennis Ross mumbles and dissembles about forced birth/rapist rights
The former congressman and candidate for the Florida's new 15th Congressional district is very reluctant to answer his would-be constituent's questions clearly about forced birth and rapist rights.
Ok, I’m breaking the hiatus for this. Will not make it a habit. But this was a special occasion. And it’s brief.
Florida’s Republican state government, backed by the U.S Supreme Court, is reaching into our loved ones’ bodies; asserting dominance over them; enhancing rapist procreation rights; and forcing pregnant girls and women to risk their lives in childbirth to increase the “domestic supply of infants.”
So I thought it was only fair that I ask Polk GOP stalwart Dennis Ross about this between chest press sets this morning at the Lakeland YMCA. After all, Dennis, who is admirably buff, is also a recent former U.S. Congressman from Lakeland and current candidate for Florida’s new 15th Congressional district.
I wouldn’t have done this at the Y in the past. But ya’ll broke the “peace” of Roe; and these are the new rules, at least for me.
Is Dennis to Kelli Stargel’s left on rapist rights? Or just weak?
Dennis is running in a crowded Republican primary field that includes current state Rep. Jackie Toledo and, rumor has it, outgoing state Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland. Kelli is one of the strongest GOP voices for prioritizing rapist procreation rights over the health and lives of pregnant rape victims. See article here.
Here’s my discussion with Dennis. To my hearing, he seemed a little wobbly on Kelli’s ironclad commitment to rapist procreation rights. You can judge for yourself. But I’d encourage Kelli to attack him on his overall weakness. (Dennis is welcome to suggest any corrections to the record if he feels anything is wrong. I’m easy to reach; and I don’t duck questions.)
Billy: “Would you support a federal abortion ban?
Dennis: “I support state’s rights”
Billy: “That’s not what I asked.”
Dennis: Acknowledged that wasn’t what I asked, was unwilling to go further in his answer. Some general incoherent cross talk ensued before I moved on.
Billy: “Ok, do you agree that Florida should not have a rape exception?”
Dennis: Answer was largely incoherent. Dennis said “it” should not be a “cookie cutter” approach and should be considered “case-by-case.” It wasn’t entirely clear what “it” was. I attempted to clarify.
Billy: “Let me try to clarify. Do you think Kelli Stargel’s vote for no rape exception is a ‘cookie cutter’ approach?”
Dennis: Answer was again largely incoherent. Would not say yes or no. Eventually declared, “I believe life begins at conception.”
Billy: “So every woman who has an abortion is a pre-meditated child murderer?”
Dennis: “Don’t put words in my mouth, Billy.”
Billy: “How can they not be if you believe life begins at conception?
Dennis: “This isn’t the place for this, Billy.”
Billy: “Well, you won’t address it out on the campaign trail.”
Dennis: “Hi coach!” to a guy walking up to us, signaling the end of the discussion.
The exchange was entirely civil and useful. I ended it when Dennis chose to. It will always be that way for me.
In that, I was — and am — far more deferential to his personal space than he is to the wombs and fallopian tubes of women — including raped women.
Own the brutality of your cheap language about life
And his reluctance to answer anything clearly, especially the “begins at conception” v. “pre-meditated child murderer,” is very telling.
I’m not afraid to say life doesn’t begin at conception — or contraception, for that matter. So I’m also not afraid to declare that the millions of women who have terminated pregnancies — including millions of Republican women — are not pre-meditated child murderers. I put words in my own mouth.
Dennis is too weak to put words in his own mouth. He wants “life begins at conception; brutalize women to protect it,” to come without any moral discomfort or consequence. He’s quite common in that way.
Weakness on state-sanctioned brutality against women — against anyone — should be confronted and illuminated everywhere. Intimate, quiet discomfort will be among our most powerful weapons in reversing the brutality of forced birth and rapist rights in the coming years and decades.
Get used to it, peace breakers. You’re all going to get the chance to chat about this with me.