We have come to the regrettable conclusion as legislators in the Kentucky House of Representatives that shocking, offensive and, yes, ignorant comments will be made by our colleagues which must be ignored in order to effectively fight for causes in which we believe.
But Wednesday’s statement in a committee by Louisville Sen. Dan Seum to a rape victim breaks the limits of our silence and compels us to voice our outrage.
A woman, who was raped while a student at the University of Louisville in 1994, shared her terrible experience with the committee and how her rapist was caught in 2011 through the use of DNA evidence.
Seum’s response? “I understand your pain but I can tell you that over the years this government through its intrusion has done more damage to me than all those criminals out there ever did. That sounds radical but the founding fathers said never trust this government. That’s why we have the Fifth Amendment. That’s why we have the Second Amendment.”
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These callous, cruel remarks reduced this courageous woman to tears, which in and of itself is an affront to us as legislators who treat all witnesses and guests with kindness and respect no matter our personal feelings.
But Seum’s bombastic remarks reach an even higher level of egregiousness given his lengthy record of legislative votes against reproductive freedom.
What is more intrusive than government requiring a vaginal ultrasound on a woman contemplating an abortion or a law banning that procedure altogether? Seum had no trouble casting those votes.
Where is the senator’s disgust with government intrusion when he votes to defund facilities that help women avoid these procedures through medical care and contraceptives? Seum didn’t preach about intrusive government then.
The audacity of his pugnacious response underscores the disturbing trend of too many lawmakers in Frankfort who flip their hard and fast “less government” philosophies to combat reproductive rights for women.
Their hypocrisy is head spinning and disingenuous and Seum’s reprehensible comments have shined a glaring light on their relentless doublespeak.
We applaud this young woman’s bravery and grace in dealing with a horrific experience far too many men, women and children in the commonwealth face.
Shame on Seum for spewing spiteful rage at a Kentucky citizen who, but for the grace of God, could have been his daughter.
We wonder how he would have cast his vote then?
Reps. Joni Jenkins of Shively, Kelly Flood of Lexington and Mary Lou Marzian of Louisville are Democratic lawmakers in the state House.