Monday, August 20, 2012

Todd Akin and “Legitimate Rape”

I was trying very hard to avoid any discussion of politics or politicians for a while. I find the whole topic very draining. However, this story was brought to my attention and I found it impossible to ignore. The Republican Senate nominee in Missouri is stirring up a bit of controversy that no one can put a good spin on. Representative Akin is against all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest. Why? It is his belief that in cases of “legitimate rape” a woman’s body automatically blocks unwanted pregnancy from occurring. And Akin has done his research. He has asked doctors who have confirm that pregnancy rarely occurs from rape. It seems we have gone back to prehistoric times once again. What happened to the old warning given to teenagers by Ann Landers…it only takes having intercourse one time to conceive? I thought everyone knew that. However, this 65 year old, six term member of Congress must have missed the news flash.

Let me just post his exact words here so there is no room for misinterpretation: “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. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”

I’m sure that he has pretty much ended his career with his comments. I can’t imagine any person adhering to these beliefs. If I hadn’t read about the incident myself, I might not have believed it. But, here it is in black and white. And then, realizing what he had done, Mr. Akin tried to do damage control and explain away his statement, He misspoke. He has compassion for rape victims. All the while sticking to his position that all life must be protected regardless of how is was conceived. Romney and Ryan were quick to disassociate themselves from Akin, while he was going down in flames. In fact no one has come to his defense. The comments are political suicide.

I really find this appalling and yet there is more. Here is what else he believes: “He also looks to be the first legislator to make the argument that rape prevents pregnancy,  arguing in the late 1980s that the odds of a pregnancy resulting from rape were “one in millions and millions and millions.” His explanation? The trauma of rape causes women to “secrete a certain secretion which has the tendency to kill sperm.”

It is scary that is this day and age, with so much information available, that people who are running for office are this ignorant of the facts. You would think that someone close to him would have educated him as to the reproductive process so he would know his argument doesn’t hold water. The sad thing is, he isn’t the only one to hold these views in spite of scientific evidence to the contrary.

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