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Will Todd Akin Win His Bid For US Senator After Illegitimate Rape Comment?

Updated on August 21, 2012
America's response to Todd Akin's comments.
America's response to Todd Akin's comments. | Source

By now, everyone has heard about Todd Akin’s “Illegitimate Rape” comment. For those who haven’t, here is the quote:

It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. 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.

What’s Akin Really Saying?

Let me break down what he’s saying:

  • Some rape is not legitimate (i.e., women like to make this stuff up to get what they want)
  • There is no biological basis for pregnancy - women have control over it. (Did you hear that everyone? Next time you don’t want to get pregnant, just repeat: “Go away, sperm. Stay away from my eggs!” Shut down that “whole thing.”)
  • When thinking about “punishment,” the rape victim should not be considered. Let's forget about the fact that forcing a woman to carry out a pregnancy and give birth to a child who is the product of an extremely violent sexual act is undoubtedly one of the cruelest forms of punishment just about any woman could possibly imagine. (But, really, if she didn’t want to be raped in her heart of hearts, she should have just magically willed the pregnancy away.)

What do you think?

Should Akin Be Elected?

See results

Should Akin Be Elected?

To their credit, the Republican leadership has responded swiftly, with Romney denouncing the comments as “insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong.” (Glad we need a presidential nominee to point out that the comments were “wrong.") Even Karl Rove has denounced the comments. Some Republicans, such as Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown and Wisconisin Senator Ron Johnson called for Akin to resign from his nomination.

Indeed, Akin has issued a meager apology, but has not withdrawn from the race (yet).

Akin is not the first politician to say something this asinine about rape. In 1990, Republican nominee for Texas Governor said, “Well, bad weather is like rape: if it’s inevitable, you might as well relax and enjoy it.” He lost the election to Ann Richards after this comment, despite an impressive lead before it, and it is his most enduring legacy.

Some may call this type of comment a “gaffe,” allowing Akin some leeway. Just about all politicians occasionally fub some language here and there. The problem here is that this gaffe belies a harmful belief system about women and rape, suggesting that some rape is more legitimate than other rape, and that women are somehow complicit when rape happens. While Akin may wish he had never spoken those words, it’s difficult to imagine that he doesn’t actually believe them.

Now it is up to Missouri voters. Will they tolerate this type of ignorant, inaccurate, and many would say, misogynist, rhetoric from their politicians? Or, will they send a message by electing Claire McCaskill for U.S. Senate instead?

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    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 5 years ago from East Coast

      I doubt if he will recover from this one and be elected. I take great issue with the large number of men who want to restrict some women's health rights and this guy shocked me when he said this. I doubt this will stay front and center because Republicans threw him under the bus and are avoiding any mention of Akin.

    • Wizard Of Whimsy profile image

      Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      As of this morning, it appears Akins is moving forward with his campaign. Even quoting is "old friend" John Paul Jones:" We have not begun to fight."

      I believe his view is more widely held by others in his party than they care to admit. At least this close to the presidential election in November.

      Note that at the GOP convention they will, once again, be putting forth the "Sanctity of Human Life" crusade. Extending the 14th Amendment to unborn children. Hmm.

      I hope he does NOT withdraw and that the truth about the assault on women's freedoms stays front and center.

      Could be a blessing in disguise.

    • BizVT34 profile image

      BizVT34 5 years ago from USA

      Just so the facts are out, here is Romney's position on abortion "He opposes abortion with exceptions for rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother."

    • Princess Prisca profile image

      Princess Prisca 5 years ago from Heaven living on Earth

      LauraGT,

      Excellent write :-)

      I totally agree with your subject matter...

      Blessings!

      Ciao...Princess Prisca

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 5 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      Then according to Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan a woman can be raped but cannot have an abortion, but once that child is born who will support that child? No one. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are taking safety nets for poor people away. So, the child can be born, but after that ?

      They do not care about women or children, well at least the ones who are not in the womb.

    • bridalletter profile image

      Brenda Kyle 5 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      My bigger hope is Missouri becomes a democratic state with sensible, normal down to earth, middle class directed views and oust the crazy, ignorant misguided souls to find another line of work.

    • peoplepower73 profile image

      Mike Russo 5 years ago from Placentia California

      And the republicans want big government out of your business, unless you are a woman...no pun intended!

    • LauraGT profile image
      Author

      LauraGT 5 years ago from MA

      Chris Dane: Again, I hope you're right. I think the more Tea Party and other right-wing folks who speak their minds, the better to expose their true viewpoints.

      ThoughtSandwiches: Yes, the Ryan connection is not unexpected, but still disappointing (I guess I'm an optimist at heart and hoped maybe he wasn't that bad!) Let's hope that this continues to expose Ryan's backwards policy positions.

    • ThoughtSandwiches profile image

      ThoughtSandwiches 5 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      Laura,

      It is interesting to note that Representative Atkins was the co-sponsor of a bill with Paul Ryan (yes, THAT Paul Ryan) in which they tried to narrow the meaning of the word rape.

      Currently, federal law does not allow the use of Medicare to pay for abortions with the exception of for women who have been raped. The "No Tax Funding for Abortion Act" (again co-sponsored by Todd Adkins and Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan) sought to remove that language to be replaced by "forcible rape."

      Forcible rape? Legitimate rape? How many kinds of rape to these guys think there are? I'm not surprised that Mitt Romney got right in front of this because that is hardly a debate he wants to have with the Vice Presidential baggage he is toting around. Truth be told the Right has been attacking women for quite some time. It need to stop.

      I will be sharing this article.

      Thomas

    • Chris Dane profile image

      Chris Dane 5 years ago from Maryland, USA

      Oh, I think Claire has another six years, and the GOP is red with embarrassment. This Tea Party loon just cost them the Senate, joining Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell in the Hall of Shame. Akin will resign tomorrow, I bet.

    • LauraGT profile image
      Author

      LauraGT 5 years ago from MA

      I hope you're both right. It will be interesting to see how the election goes. Hopefully, at worst, people will just not vote. But, I think we're so polarized that people may stick to their guns (so to speak) and vote for him - after all, he is running against a woman.

    • Cagsil profile image

      Cagsil 5 years ago from USA or America

      He'll never be elected. He ended his career in politics with this one. And, I'm going to be glad to watch it happen. As a rights advocate, I found his statement to be completely disgusting. The entire episode has made grow America's awareness of the politicians who are in office. Some are even surprised by the amount of stupidity politicians continue to demonstrate, however, I'm not surprised by it one bit. And, I'm on the side that he should resign. He isn't fit to hold office. Great hub! :)

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      I totally agree with you Laura. I think the GOP leadership is denouncing Akin because they feel it will take the whole party down. Unfortunately I believe many of them actually are closer to Akin's view than any other. I hope the voters see them for what they are. They are Far Right zealots who feel they know what is best for women. Great Hub.