By now I'm guessing that most of our readers have heard about the comments made by Missouri Congressman Todd Akin — who is currently challenging Senator Claire McGaskill — on Sunday about why an abortion exception for women who are raped isn't necessary.
“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Mr. Akin said of pregnancies from rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down..
I guess I don't need to mention that Akin is a Republican. Anyway, his remarks have provoked a storm of outrage, media commentary, furious emails from Democratic candidates attacking the remarks, and emails from progressive groups begging people to sign petitions or send donations. Millions of words have been expended on it, but I think this says it all:
"Rape is rape. And the idea that we should be parsing, qualifying and slicing what qualifies as rape doesn't make sense to me and doesn't make sense to the American people.... What I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn't have a bunch of pols, the majority of whom are men, making health-care decisions on behalf of women."
Thanks, President Obama!
In the last day, many Republicans have stepped up to condemn Akin's remarks and urge him to get out of the Missouri Senate race. He's refused — and 5 p.m. today was the deadline!
But it's a little hard to believe they aren't just freaking out because Akin said pretty much what they all believe. Remember the dust-up last year over the deceptively named "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" (there has been none for decades), which would have allowed an exception only for "forcible rape," and stirred up a discussion about when a woman was REALLY raped? It's really pretty much the same thing — the idea that some rapes count more than others.
The bill was cosponsored by Akin and 226 other House Republicans, including vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan. Progressives are making a big deal over that, dubbing the bill the "Akin/Ryan Bill." But it's worse than that. I repeat: it was sponsored by 227 Republican Congresspeople. That includes every single Ohio Republican congressperson except John Boehner, and I think that's a technicality having to do with his being speaker.
See list here:
It even included Republican fake "moderate" Steve LaTourette, who recently announced he's retiring at the end of his current term.
He claimed the extremist climate in Congress as his reason. He said,
It's been my experience that compromise, cooperation, getting something done, is not rewarded. The group of people that are interested in that type of result _ the circle's becoming smaller and smaller.
Well, Steve, there's nothing reasonable about parsing what is "legitimate rape" and what isn't. It's a offensive and wacko extremist position that basically makes government judge and jury of a woman's morals. It's oppressive and it's mean.
Luckily, although it passed the House (thanks for your "moderate" vote, Steve), it died in the Senate.
Don't fall for the indignation directed at Akin by Republicans from Mitt Romney on down. They just want to conceal their real agenda when it comes to women — and Akin blew their cover.
Here's a Salon article that makes that same point: