Missouri GOP Leader Follows Mike Huckabee in Doubling Down On Akin’s Rape Pregnancy Comments
Republican Congressman Todd Akin’s positions regarding rape, abortion, and women’s rights are well known by now. Akin is running against Claire McCaskill for the US Senate in Missouri and revealed his misogynous comments in an interview broadcast on Sunday. While there are some GOPers who are pushing for Akin to drop out of the race for revealing the true nature of the GOP’s position on women’s rights, there are others who are coming to his support, including fellow Missouri GOP Committeewoman Sharon Barnes who told a NY Times reporter that while few rapes result in pregnancy, but that if God has chosen to bless the rape victim with a life, you don’t kill it.
While Republicans at the national level were in a hurry to shove him aside, Republican opinion had not hardened against Mr. Akin in Missouri, in part because of the salience of the abortion issue. ‘The congressman is totally, firmly, solidly pro-life,’ Sharon Barnes, a member of the state Republican central committee, said, adding that Mr. Akin believed ‘that abortion is never an option.’
Ms. Barnes echoed Mr. Akin’s statement that very few rapes resulted in pregnancy, adding that ‘at that point, if God has chosen to bless this person with a life, you don’t kill it.’
‘That’s more what I believe he was trying to state,’ she said. ‘He just phrased it badly.’
Ms. Barnes said that she believed that the controversy would blow over, and that once people in the state became more familiar with Mr. Akin, they would learn ‘what a great, conservative, godly man Todd Akin is, and they’ll put his comment in its proper context.’
On Monday afternoon, well after his financial supporters had threatened to withdraw, Mr. Akin took to Twitter to declare: ‘I am in this race to win. We need a conservative Senate.’ The post included a Web link for donors to contribute to a campaign that was already running on vapors and was heavily dependent on outside support, especially from Crossroads GPS, co-founded by Karl Rove.
Her position is that Akin was right, but that he phrased things badly. Even in his attempted walk back, Akin let his misogyny flow. He tried to claim that he was talking about forcible rape, as opposed to nonforcible rape. Akin was among those who peddled amendments to federal law to create a category known as “forcible rape”. “Forcible rape” amendments are designed to deny medical access to abortions for those women who are date raped or raped by their spouses or significant others. The measure failed to pass Congress, but the die is cast.
What Akin and his fellow Republicans ignore is that rape is rape. It’s the most intimate kind of violence a person can inflict on another. Doesn’t matter if the person is an acquaintance, a spouse, or someone who isn’t personally known. “Forcible rape” is a bogus construct that opens the door to allow spousal rape and date rape where “forcible” isn’t explicit - as in using a knife, gun, or other weapon to engage in the rape act.
And with folks like Bryan Fischer and other right wingers, socons, and the GOP mainstream (when Ryan became VP nominee, he brought this wholly into the mainstream) trying to defend this indefensible crap, they once again highlight stark differences with the Democrats and everyone else. The GOP is pushing a misogynistic agenda that hurts women in every way imaginable.
This follows the nonsensical ravings of none other than former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who now has a talk radio show. He hosted Akin, allowing Akin to try and clarify his comments, but Huckabee added his own craziness. He called out the upside of being raped and getting pregnant - that there were some people who ended up doing extraordinary things despite having been the product of being raped. It’s a mindview that completely ignores the violence inflicted upon the woman and the lasting emotional effects that rape has. The victims may suffer from PSTD, substance abuse, self-harm, endure sleep or eating disorders, depression or other mental health crises, commit suicide, and poor self image. I
Moreover, they’ve shown themselves more than willing to peddle junk science and just flat out junk to claim that there’s something to Akin’s claims. As Charles has pointed out, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists notes that there are at least 10-15,000 pregnancies that are a result of a reported rape or incest that end in abortion; the actual number of pregnancies due to rape or incest is necessarily much higher.
Each year in the US, 10,000–15,000 abortions occur among women whose pregnancies are a result of reported rape or incest. An unknown number of pregnancies resulting from rape are carried to term. There is absolutely no veracity to the claim that ‘If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down.’ A woman who is raped has no control over ovulation, fertilization, or implantation of a fertilized egg (ie, pregnancy). To suggest otherwise contradicts basic biological truths.
The GOP is pushing pure unadulterated crap, but people continue to buy it because it feeds into their worldview.