Debunking ‘Abortion Regret,’ and Donald Trump’s Rape Problem

On this episode of Reality Cast, host Amanda Marcotte interviews Corinne H. Rocca of the University of California, San Francisco, about new research showing "abortion regret" isn’t really a problem for women. There's also a segment on the rape accusations against Bill Cosby and Donald Trump, and one more on the Planned Parenthood hoax.

Related Links


Donald Trump has theories about “all the raping”

The Daily Beast reminds us of a rape accusation against Trump

New York on the Bill Cosby accusations

Rewire’s Jodi Jacobson on the “elaborate ruse”

Jeb Bush wants to defund Planned Parenthood

So many Rand Paul lies


On this episode of Reality Cast, I’ll be interviewing a researcher who worked on the study showing abortion regret isn’t really a problem for women. Also, a segment on the rape accusations against Bill Cosby and Donald Trump, and one more, hopefully the last, on this Planned Parenthood hoax.

Macy Gray has a hilarious song about how much she loves her vibrator and it’s even more delightful than you are already thinking.

  • BOB *

I look forward to the dance remix where the DJ drops in a sample of a buzzing sound.


I find myself surprised frequently that Donald Trump is still conducting his fake presidential campaign, which mostly exists to give him an excuse to say ridiculous things about Mexican immigrants and whatever other fool thing pops into his head that he wishes to share with America. Such as this bizarre interview with Don Lemon at CNN.

  • rape 1 *

If I may translate this garbled nonsense for you: Donald Trump has been running around claiming that undocumented immigration is this country’s biggest problem, because he thinks Mexican immigrants in particular are a bunch of rapists. Yes, it’s fear-mongering hysteria of the sort that makes Rush Limbaugh sound like a calm, rational person, but a bunch of the conservative base is eating this up. To justify this claim, he points to statistics that show that a lot of immigrants are rape victims, which is true, and presto blammo! He concludes this must also mean they are rapists. Why is uncertain, though it is worth noting he’s far from the first right-wing nut to suggest that rape victims are somehow the cause of rape. Apparently you can be a bigot or understand cause and effect, but you can’t do both.

Well, some reporters at the Daily Beast apparently heard Trump ask who is doing all the raping and thought this would be a useful time to remind the world that Trump’s ex-wife, Ivana Trump, accused him of rape when they were divorcing. That accusation ended up in 1993 expose on Trump, but Trump’s lawyers got a last minute statement in by her claiming she wasn’t speaking literally, though the rape as described reads like a literal rape, as in the literal description of it is forced sex. She responded to the story by releasing an even stronger denial where she blames her willingness to say this on her anger over the divorce. It doesn’t seem anyone is going to outright accuse her of perjury, however. Anyway, what she said drew a lot less attention than what Trump’s lawyer said to deflect this story.

  • rape 2 *

“Not exactly true” is an understatement. 100%, undeniably false is the better wording, the wording I would have chosen. Spousal rape has been illegal in New York since 1984 and the accusation claimed this happened in 1989. So yes, it was illegal, if it happened. Also, it’s a lie to call Trump a private citizen while also claiming he’s running for president. You literally cannot be both at once, or the term “private citizen” has no meaning. Sorry, minor derail but it bugged me.

I don’t think this story will hurt him with his fans, half of whom probably think he was just showing his wife who was boss and the other half who believe that women make up rape accusations for giggles, but I was interested in the rest of the world’s reaction to this story. And pleased to see that by and large it was full agreement that what was described is indisputably rape. I meant, if it happened, that’s what it is, but it wasn’t that long ago that you’d have a bunch of people out in public declaring that it was just a couple’s squabble or somehow trying to claim that it doesn’t count if your wife is being mouthy. So, progress. Also on this.

  • rape 3 *

He has indeed, for years and years now. And by and large, those denials worked, especially since Cosby would send out of a school of flying lawyer monkeys should anyone dare suggest in public that perhaps we should consider listening to these women and considering the possibility that this did happen. But with this New York magazine cover, I think we can safely say that era has passed. And a lot of what has changed is people just can’t pretend, anymore, to think that it’s anything but rape to force yourself on an incapacitated woman. Remember, it was only in 2009 that Whoopi Goldberg claimed that it wasn’t “rape-rape” when Roman Polanski gave Quaaludes to a 13-year-old girl so she was too sedated to fight him off while he forced himself on her. And Goldberg had the support of dozens, possibly hundreds of celebrities. So yeah, I think things are getting better, bit by bit.




As I reported last week, it seems that this attempted undercover sting of Planned Parenthood is really not turning into the momentous political victory that anti-choicers thought it would be. It’s true that the time crunch, minute to minute pressures of the modern news cycle all but ensured the media would cover the story without doing the necessary fact-checking on it. But that same hungry maw ensured that there would dozens, possibly hundreds of reporters who were all searching for their own angle on this and so just as quickly, there was an absolute crush of information debunking the claims: Stories on what fetal tissue is used for, stories about the sleazy people behind this video, stories just analyzing the video and determining that the claims made about it weren’t upheld by anything said on tape. The smart thing to do at this point would be to scrap it all and try to find some other dumb angle to go after Planned Parenthood. But that isn’t happening quite yet, and I think comments made by Rewire’s own Jodi Jacobson on RT TV suggest why that might be.

  • PPFA 1 *

So basically, this is all just a dog and pony show. And the show, I guess, must go on, even though the reviews are coming in and it’s becoming clear that no one who argues in good faith is actually falling for their tricks. Republican candidates for president, especially, are dutifully striking fake poses of outrage, going through the motions and pandering to a base that doesn’t really care if the accusations against Planned Parenthood are true or not, so long as they can wallow in hatred for women, especially low-income women, who need these kinds of health services. Painting those services as luxuries that women don’t deserve is frequent go-to talking point, such as with Jeb Bush here.

  • PPFA 2 *

The hope here is that you think of it as just a big vat of money that Planned Parenthood patients dip into and use on, I don’t know, vibrators and fancy lingerie and expensive dinners while you, the middle class conservative American, are watching your own sex life wither and die. That’s the resentment button being pushed here, and that line works really well on the base. It is, of course, completely silly. Most of that money comes from Medicaid billings and Title X. There isn’t just a big vat of money and what it’s spent on is pretty tightly controlled: It has to be contraception and necessary reproductive health care like Pap smears and STI tests. I don’t know what planet Bush is living on, to talk about getting a Pap smear like it’s some kind of luxury spending that could be easily cut. As for contraception, well, I guess we’re talking about the same political operatives who literally sit around making lists of what kind of cheese that people on food stamps should be allowed to buy. There’s no bottom to what these folks will begrudge people who don’t make as much money as they do, which includes something as simple as being able to connect sexually with your partner without having to worry about unwanted pregnancy. If it wasn’t so damaging to others, I’d almost pity conservatives who worry this much about it. How sad is your life that you have the time and energy to sit around worried that somewhere, somehow, a low income woman is having an orgasm and you can’t punish her for it? Sounds exhausting.

But it’s Rand Paul who is really hustling hard and trying to be the face of the defund-Planned-Parenthood movement.

  • PPFA 3 *

So there are three or four lies in there. There’s no evidence that the vast majority of Americans would rather see fetal tissue thrown away than used in medical research. The claim that community health centers can handle the overload when all of Planned Parenthood’s gynecological patients are cut off from their doctor is also a lie. The claim that federal money goes to abortion is a whopping lie. It’s almost dizzying how many lies he packed into such a short statement. It’s kind of astonishing how blatant Paul is, when other supposedly serious candidates like [Jeb] Bush prefer to coat themselves in plausible deniability by only insinuating false things about Planned Parenthood, rather than lying outright.

But it makes sense that Paul would really go after this issue like this. It allows him to pander to the religious right while subtly assuring his libertarian base that he’s not trying to take away their sex lives. It’s only poor people he’s trying to cut off from STI testing and contraception. His supporters don’t care so much that he lies, just so long as they can keep feeling it’s someone else’s sex life that’s under threat.


And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, the shameless double standard edition. Rush Limbaugh famously lost a lot of advertisers a couple years ago when he declared the law student Sandra Fluke is a “slut” because she takes birth control. He had a much different reaction upon reading a study showing all teens, not just girls but boys, are having less sex than they used to. Limbaugh believes that this is because we’re ruining boys.

  • Rush *

So Limbaugh thinks feminism has somehow wimpified men, by, uh, making them less aggressive. But unless you believe sex is something you have to browbeat out of or force on women, that doesn’t make much sense. If it is, then that does literally mean those who do it are brutes and bullies. Honestly, the only person here saying that you’re either a bully or a wimp is Rush Limbaugh. In the real world, the main reason boys are having somewhat less sex is, like girls, they are waiting a little longer to do it. But most 18- and 19-year-olds are having sexual intercourse these days. It’s just that fewer 15- and 16-year-olds are. My guess is that kids these days are smarter about delaying tactics, like mutual masturbation and oral sex, that they can use to satisfy themselves until they’re ready for a bigger leap, but I also guess most conservatives don’t want to hear that.