Saturday, September 01, 2007

Blowback Mountain: Connecticut’s Indifference To Rape

Q: What’s Blowback Mountain?

A: Blowback is what happens when the news media runs a hard hitting story for several days on a subject of interest to them – and something happens. Here in Connecticut, blowback usually involves the participation of political shakers and movers. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is generally in the mix, his critics say, because he likes to bathe in liberal moral unction. The mountain is when everybody's in on the game.

Q: Can you give us some examples?

A: Sure. A little story that appeared in the press several years ago concerning some work done by contractors on a lake cabin purchased by then Governor John Rowland was attended by lots of blowback. Incidentally, the little winding path that led eventually to Rowland’s destruction first appeared in the Journal Inquirer. That paper has not been congratulated often enough for exposing suppurating public wounds. The resulting blowback blew the governor into prison. When Catholic hospitals decided months ago not to distribute Plan B medication to rape victims, the usual people set up a holler: Attorney General Blumenthal got involved, an almost certain indication that blowback is about to occur; pharmacists were forced by law to dispense the medication over the objection that doing so would offend the religious precepts of some persnickety observant Catholics; a law was passed forcing administrators, doctors and nurses at Catholic hospitals to violate their religious precepts; the news media kept the story on their front pages for days on end; the usual mob of commentators pitched it – major blowback.

Q: The Journal Inquirer now has unearthed a story that you think should blow us out of our socks. What is it?

A: Well, I think it should be of interest to people who had been writing with such fervor about rape and Catholic hospitals, for sure. The issue there was: In refusing to dispense Plan B to rape victims, Catholic hospitals in particular and Catholics in general were indifferent to victims of rape. Of course, they weren’t, but go tell that to the marines. This was the underlying presumption of most of the news stories. Controlling intuitions, you understand, rarely appear in news stories, but still that was the fuel that fired the indignation. The JI story, reproduced here, concerns the repeated rape of a fifteen year-old girl who had been used as a sex slave by Adam Gault. Now, the first thing to notice is that the story itself is long legged. Sex always sells. U.S. Republican Senator Larry Craig ought to have known this when he was playing footsie in a bathroom stall with a police officer on the hunt for immodest homosexual or heterosexual U.S. senators. But he didn’t, much to his chagrin. Major blowback, leading to premature retirement. Anyway, the Gault story involves sexual slavery with an under aged girl, impressed into service by a manipulative slavemaster. The legs on the story got considerably longer, in my opinion, after the paper had published the story showing that an abortion facility in Connecticut had facilitated the repeated rapes of this young girl…

Q: And yet, you were about to say.

A: And yet, apart from some objections registered in the pro-life press no blowback. Nada, relatively speaking. The tribunes of the people are asleep in the hay. We wait in vain for them to blow their horns. Not a peep. In fact, Blumenthal, according to the JI story, is treading very carefully here -- when he should be hobnailing it across the stage. Blumenthal told the reporter from the JI that "Striking a balance between the conflicting privacy and medical interests, law enforcement goals, and also parental rights is indeed an excruciatingly difficult task. No state has ever found a perfect balance, and I'm not certain it can be done." There was no conflict involving parental rights in the case under discussion because the rapist was not a parent, and if the law requiring abortion providers to report rapes interferes with more compelling interests, the law should be abolished. So long as it is on the books, abortion facilities should be compelled to observe it. That was the position of Blumenthal and Rep. Michael Lawlor, co-chairman of the Judiciary Committee, when Catholic hospitals objected to the distribution of Plan B in their facilities because doing so would violate religious precepts. Interviewed by the JI reporter, Lawlor, barely suppressing a yawn, allowed that the legislature had undertaken “an elaborate review five years ago of the protocols and guidelines given abortion clinics and other care providers about their reporting responsibilities under child sexual abuse laws. ‘We can always look at them again, (Lawlor said) but I think they work well now.’”

Here are the relevant points from the JI story: 1) the girl who was raped was under the age of consent. Therefore, for purposes of prosecution, it simply does not matter whether she agreed or not to have sexual relation with her manipulative partner, himself a married man. Apparently, the man’s wife also facilitated the rapes; 2) somewhere along the line, the girl became pregnant; 3) she had an abortion; 4) the abortion facility did not report the incident to the relevant authorities, as it is legally obliged to do. Can we add one and one here and get two? Is the abortion facility licensed by the state to perform abortions? If so, why isn’t Blumenthal clamoring to have the license revoked? Please don’t tell me that he would be operating beyond the borders of his legal authority here; Blumenthal has been known to jump the starting line whenever it has been in his interests to do so. Let him go out and find a whistleblower. Is the state of Connecticut compiling stats to show that abortion facilities are in compliance with state law – which requires them to report rapes? Has someone alerted the moral epigones in the state legislature? Is Michael Lawlor alarmed that abortion facilities may be thumbing their collective noses at him? And where – in God’s name, if you will excuse the expression – are all the outraged commentators? What flower pots are they hiding behind this time? Has someone ticked Colin McEnroe’s nose? He appears to be nodding off. Has someone rung up George Gombossy? Where is the ruckus? Where’s the blowback?

Q: Could you make some attempt to collect yourself?

A: No
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