Monday, August 20, 2012


From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

Senate candidate's comments on rape stir outcry

Missouri Congressman Todd Akin, a conservative Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, said in an interview broadcast Sunday that women's bodies can prevent pregnancies in the case of "a legitimate rape," adding that conception in such cases is rare.

Akin, a six-term congressman running against incumbent Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill, was asked in an interview on St. Louis television station KTVI if he would support abortions for women who have been raped.

"It seems to me first of all from what I understand from doctors that's really rare," Akin said. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," Akin said of a rape victim's chances of becoming pregnant.

Akin said in an emailed statement later Sunday that he "misspoke" during the interview, though the statement did not specify which points or comments.


Terry O'Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, on Sunday called Akin's remarks "flat-out astonishing."

"That kind of rhetoric re-traumatizes sexual assault victims. ... That kind of talk, I believe, is intended to shame women," she told AP Radio.

More here.

Oh god, what a freakin' mess. I don't even know where to start with this one, it's so all over the place and weird. Well, I can start here: I'm slightly sympathetic to the "even for rape and incest" crowd in that theirs seems to be the more consistent position--that is, they're "pro-life," and while rape and incest are horrible, falling victim to such heinous crimes is not a justification for what they believe to be murder. But like I said, I'm only slightly sympathetic, and only because I respect the logic. The anti-abortion movement, whether it is consistent or wishy-washy, is all about controlling women, and not at all about preserving life. And you totally see that in Akin's weird biology assertion.

There is no such thing as "legitimate rape." Rape is rape. Period. Either a person consents to sex or doesn't. There are no shades of grey here. But Akin attempts to redefine the meaning of rape vis a vis a woman's sexuality. Some women may claim to have been raped, but these claims are illegitimate because...what...she wanted it? She was wearing too short a skirt? She's a dirty fucking pagan whore? Clearly, the Missouri Congressman's construction of rape, as an idea, is embedded with a harsh Christian fundamentalist judgment: if you are raped, it's your fault for being a slut, unless, of course, it's my daughter, in which case the rape was "legitimate" because my daughter's not a slut.

But hey! No need to worry about your daughter, Congressman, because women don't get pregnant from "legitimate rape." I'm tempted to attribute such a Bronze Age understanding of biology to the so-called "abstinence based" sex ed programs polluting our public schools, but Akin's too old to have endured such bullshit--no, he probably got a decent understanding of the physical mechanics of sexuality, at least, from his time in school before the rise of the religious right. Actually, I have absolutely no explanation why a grown adult man in 2012 would embrace such utter nonsense. Maybe he gravitated to it because it fits his views about abortion so nicely, sort of picking and choosing flat-earth science to make his argument work, kind of. Or maybe he's an idiot. Hard to say.

But I do find his thinking to be typical, which is a big drag.