Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for August 20th, 2012

US Senate Candidate Todd Akin of MO Believes “Legitimate Rape Victims” Won’t Get Pregnant

with 9 comments

Folks, I’ve seen some bad politicians in my lifetime.  And I’ve seen some stupid ones, too.  But rarely have I seen such utter stupidity — not to mention total ignorance of biology — on display by a bad politician as with the comments of United States Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), currently running for the US Senate against incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO).  Akin believes that victims of “legitimate rape” are not likely to get pregnant because apparently the female body “will shut (stuff like that) right down.”  Here’s his full comment, in context, from a recent post at Talking Points Memo:

Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri who is running against Sen. Claire McCaskill, justified his opposition to abortion rights even in case of rape with a claim that victims of “legitimate rape” have unnamed biological defenses that prevent pregnancy.

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Akin said that even in the worst-case scenario — when the supposed natural protections against unwanted pregnancy fail — abortion should still not be a legal option for the rape victim.

Obviously, Akin is plain, flat wrong.  (Not to mention unlettered, ignorant, and in need of a basic health refresher course.)  Pregnancy can occur with any unprotected sex between two people, and while rape is much different than “unprotected sex,” rapists don’t usually wear condoms, nor do they worry about birth control. 

You’d think all of this goes without saying, but apparently to someone like Akin, it doesn’t.

Look.  As President Obama said today, “rape is rape.”  Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, too, has condemned Akin’s statement, calling it “insulting” and “inexcusable.”  Good for them.

Indeed, many in the GOP has condemned Akin, yet the main problem the GOP has right now is that Akin, along with GOP VP candidate Paul Ryan, himself a US Rep. from Janesville, WI, tried to get a law through the House of Reps. that used a similar term — “forcible rape” — to limit government aid for abortions.

Here’s a link to one of the best articles I’ve managed to find yet regarding why Akin’s shocking remark may torpedo the GOP’s chances in Missouri and elsewhere; the upshot is that Akin knows Ryan well, and because of what amounts to secondhand contamination — and well-known, long-held similar views with regards to rape — this may hurt the GOP Presidential ticket in the fall.

Conservative commentator John Podhoretz, writing in Commentary Magazine (here’s the link), describes Akin’s remarks thusly:

The moral, intellectual, and spiritual ignoramus who spoke those words is Todd Akin. He won the Missouri primary two weeks ago in a three-way race against two other conservatives, taking 36 percent of the vote—his two major rivals together won about 60 percent.

The PJ Tatler bluntly says this about Akin’s remarks:

This isn’t a gaffe. It’s a nuclear bomb.

Exactly so.

My advice to Akin is this: withdraw from the US Senate race while the getting’s good.  (As I understand it, Akin has about a day to withdraw, then the Missouri GOP can field another candidate.  Anyone would have to be better than this guy.)  Then figure out a new line of work, hope your Congressional pension will be good enough for you to while away your golden years, and do your best to stay away from microphones for the good of all concerned.

I’d also suggest taking that refresher course on basic human biology, too, as that might keep you from making any more small-minded and uninformed comments.  But that’s only something you should do if you wish to rejoin the rest of the human race as an informed, thinking, and feeling human being . . . no pressure.