U.S. Senate candidate, Rep. Todd Akin (R-Missouri), made incredibly inflammatory , offensive and ignorant remarks Sunday on a TV show. He caused an uproar by claiming victims of “legitimate” rape rarely get pregnant because “the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down.”
According to Terry O’Neill, President of the National Organization for Women, “That kind of rhetoric re-traumatizes sexual assault victims. “ She also believes that kind of talk is intended to shame women.
Scientific data does not support Akin’s statements. And pregnancies from rape are not rare. A 1996 study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology estimated 32,101 pregnancies in the United States each year result from rape. (See CNN article)
As a woman, parent, and nurse, I consider Akin’s remarks outrageous and appalling.
I suppose it’s easier for Akin or like-minded individuals to rationalize their support for anti-abortion legislation without exceptions, by telling themselves and others that women don’t get pregnant from rape. No sirree. So, a woman who claims she did is probably lying about being raped?!!!
CNN reported that the fallout over Akin’s controversial comments on rape jolted Republicans nationally and threatened longer-term consequences for them, potentially reviving the “war on women” debate and possibly hurting their campaign to win control of the Senate.
The GOP quickly went into crisis/ damage control mode, with many Republican leaders attempting to distance themselves from Akin’s incendiary rape remarks.
Per Thinkprogress: The Romney-Ryan campaign called Akin’s comments “insulting, inexcusable and frankly wrong,” in spite of Ryan’s close working relationship with Akin on a number of radical anti-abortion and contraception bills. A Romney spokesperson added that the “Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape.”
Well, Bloomberg writer Margaret Carlson contends that Todd Akin and Paul Ryan are more alike than you think. Click on that link to read what she has to say.
Nancy Keenan, President of NARA, conveys that last year, Rep. Ryan teamed up with Rep. Akin to co-sponsor an extreme anti-choice bill, HR 3, which would essentially redefine “rape” and prevent certain survivors of rape from accessing abortion services.
“In fact, when given the chance to apologize for his outrageous comment, Rep. Akin explained that when he said “legitimate” rape, he really meant “forcible” rape—the new definition put forward in the bill he cosponsored with Rep. Ryan.
Hey, rape is rape, however they've tried to parse it.
Keenan also reports that Ryan has cast 59 votes on reproductive rights legislation, all of them anti-choice. He’s also sponsored some “personhood” bills, that, if passed and enacted into law, would end legal abortion in almost all circumstances with no exception for rape or incest.
Keenan argues that Todd Akin exposes the true agenda of the Republican Party.
The Huffington Post article titled Todd Akins Abortion position reflects the GOP platform informs us that the GOP party platform that’s been drafted ahead of next week’s convention, includes an endorsement of a “human life amendment” to the Constitution that would outlaw abortion with no specified exemption for rape or incest.
Ah, so despite efforts by Romney to project party unity, he’s evidently out of step with his party’s most committed activists. (See Bloomberg Businessweek)
Crom.com presents six reasons why Akin’s remarks could cause lasting damage to the GOP:
- He was running against a vulnerable Democratic incumbent, who now is breathing a sigh of relief, even as she condemns Akin’s sexist, misogynistic remarks.
- It reinforces the notion of a Republican “War on Women”.
- Akin is close to GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan. Democrats have tried to define Ryan as a hard-hearted economic extremist who would destroy Social Security and Medicare as we know it while shredding the nation’s social safety net. Now they can add that he consorts with misogynistic reactionaries. Both Akin and Ryan have long opposed legal abortions in cases of rape.
- Ryan and Akin were original co-sponsors of controversial legislation. The proposal, H.R. 3, changed the definition of ‘rape’ to ‘forcible rape', until public pressure forced the bill’s supporters to remove that unacceptable and narrow definition,” according to a New York Daily News account.
- It forced Mitt Romney to put some political distance between himself and conservatives
- It shifts attention away from Romney’s pre-convention message which was supposed to focus on the economy
Mitt Romney and Gov. Scott Walker are part of the chorus of prominent Republicans who’ve been urging Akin’s withdrawal from the Senate race. But despite considerable pressure to quit the Senate race, a defiant Rep. Akin has refused.
According to CNN, Akin was one of the first members of Congress to join the Tea Party Caucus in 2010 and has easily won re-election in recent years. He raised over 2 million dollars this cycle.
By the way, Akin is a member of the House Science and Technology Committee. Wow. Is anyone urging him to drop out of that?