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Senator Doug Henry on Rape and Abortion: Non-Virgins, Wives Don’t Count

February 7, 2008

Oh, good grief. Via the Nashville Scene’s aptly named “Confederacy of Dunces” column this week, we learn of Tennessee state Senator Doug Henry’s comments on (presumably against) amendments that would exempt rape and incest in a bill that would say that nothing in the state’s Constitution protects the right to abortion (emphasis mine):

“Rape, ladies and gentlemen, is not today what rape was. Rape, when I was learning these things, was the violation of a chaste woman, against her will, by some party not her spouse. Today it’s simply, ‘Let’s don’t go forward with this act.’ ”

Should I take this to mean that Senator Henry (despite what state law says) does not believe non-virgins and men can be raped, or that wives cannot be raped by their husbands?

Update: Kleinheider at Volunteer Voters is following up on this, and hears from Senate Democratic Caucus Spokesman Mark Brown that, “Senator Henry’s remarks are not meant to be a dissertation on what acts should or should not be defined as rape. They were a commentary on the importance of having clear and precise language in our constitution.”

13 Comments leave one →
  1. February 7, 2008 11:18 am

    I don’t even know what to say to this, except that it really makes me wish Bob Krumm had beat him.

  2. February 7, 2008 6:31 pm

    Yuck. I bet of he got raped, he would change his mind about that definition.

  3. February 7, 2008 6:31 pm

    IF he got raped…whoops!

  4. ThresherK permalink
    February 8, 2008 10:00 am

    I’ve been trying to Google some context for this bizarre statement and can’t find anything. Henry’s own website is no help, and there are only a few mentions under the quote itself. Anyone find any better?

  5. Julie permalink
    March 15, 2009 1:11 pm

    Wow. Ignorance at it’s best. Or worst.


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