Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

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.

9 Responses

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  1. You know, when I read that, I was sputtering mad. Usually when I’m mad, I can lay it on the line, but, you know it’s crossed the line, when I can’t even talk straight. Yet there he is, this Todd Akins doesn’t even understand basic biology. And he’s trying to make laws about this? Yet where are the laws to punish the rapists? Oh, right, we need to legislate what women can or can’t do, not lock up the freaking crooks…


    August 21, 2012 at 2:13 am

    • Yeah, I was angry, too, Lika. We keep running in to what I call “new lows in human ridiculousness and stupidity,” especially when it comes to politicians.

      One of the articles I read about this — can’t remember which — said that it’s obvious that politicians aren’t the brightest bunch of people who ever walked the Earth. (More or less, that’s what the article said.) But that this is stupid _even for them_.

      And yes, it’s obvious that this man comes from the shallow end of the gene pool.

      Barb Caffrey

      August 21, 2012 at 6:58 am

      • Yet many scientists say that Homo-Sapien-Neanderthal does not exist in today’s age. So why do we hear about so many of these neanderthals then?

        Here is one you might like, this guy, Aleks, thinks that women are not only equal, but better than men.


        August 25, 2012 at 2:50 am

      • I’m thinking that this guy is related to the amoeba that figured out how to get big enough to walk on land, and maybe he shoots Godzilla turds when he’s excited, I don’t know.


        August 27, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    • For whatever reason, comments aren’t threading properly . . . anyway, Lika, I like Aleks’s blog, as you thought I would. But Aleks isn’t the only male feminist out there; Phil Donahue was probably the most famous (maybe still is), but Michael — as in, my amazingly wonderful husband — was also very definitely in this category. Michael believed that most men needed a serious consciousness raising, at best . . . and he thought most women were far more interesting to be around. Michael wasn’t concerned what anyone thought about him, God/dess bless him forever, and this is how he honestly felt. (Which is probably why we got along so well.)

      Barb Caffrey

      August 25, 2012 at 5:36 pm

      • I know that there are other male feminists out there. 🙂 I just think Aleks is the most viscous. lol.


        August 29, 2012 at 2:33 am

    • Once again, WP isn’t threading properly . . . anyway, Lika, I agree with you that this man does not seem to be the sharpest knife in the drawer. What’s sad is that he’s not the only stupid candidate out there (and may I say that most of these sillier sorts of candidates seem to have an R after their names?) . . . I just have no words.

      Barb Caffrey

      August 28, 2012 at 1:19 am

  2. Under H.R. 3, only victims of “forcible rape” would qualify for federally funded abortions. Victims of statutory rape—say, a 13-year-old girl impregnated by a 30-year-old man—would be on their own. So would victims of incest if they’re over 18. And while “forcible rape” isn’t defined in the criminal code, the addition of the adjective seems certain to exclude acts of rape that don’t involve overt violence—say, cases where a woman is drugged or has a limited mental capacity. “It’s basically putting more restrictions on what was defined historically as rape,” says Keenan.

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    August 26, 2012 at 11:58 am

  3. So while banning abortion for rape victims used to be an outré position among Republicans, now it’s become almost normative. Politicians who hold such views, however, haven’t come up with a good way to talk about them. Indeed, it’s not clear that they’re willing to grapple with the consequences of their beliefs themselves. The fiction that real victims don’t get pregnant—a notion whose absurdity should be obvious to anyone who has ever read about Serbian rape camps or the epidemic of sexual violence in Congo—allows them to elide the entire issue. Otherwise, they would have to say forthrightly that they believe that the state should subject women who’ve been raped to forced pregnancy.

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    August 28, 2012 at 8:25 pm

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