Not on Tax (or only indirectly so): GOPer Akin’s "legitimate rape" comment
by Linda Beale
Not on Tax (or only indirectly so): GOPer Akin’s “legitimate rape”
As most of you have heard by now, the Missouri Republican nominee for Senate, current House Rep. Todd Akin, in a Sunday interview with KTVI-TV, justifying his opposition to any abortion ever, even in the case of rape, made the following incredibly absurd statement:
First of all, 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 on the rapist and not attacking the child. Amy Davidson, What Does Todd Akin Think ‘Legitimate Rape’ is?, New Yorker (Aug. 19, 2012).
Davidson makes a number of worthy points about this troubling statement by a sitting Congressman who happens to serve on the House committee dealing with science issues. The statement demonstrates:
- “biological ignorance” (women do get pregnant from rape)
- disregard of women’s interest in the matter (“Akin apparently has not [realized] that people possessing a ‘female body’ are also part of the political conversation”)
- Akin’s ethically challenged thinking (“There is the puzzling idea that the putative rarity of pregnancies caused by rape would make it any less of a ‘tough sort of ethical question.'”)
- absurd categorization of rape into “legitimate” and otherwise (“[D]oes Akin think that doing what one could to survive would delgitimze the rape–or that a legitimate victim is [only] one who sees rape as a fate worse than death? …The problem here is not just whether Akin thinks conception during rape is possible, but what he thinks rape is.” emphasis added)
Even when Akin tried to limit the harm done by his statement (he twittered “I have great empathy for all victims. I regret misspeaking”), he nonetheless confirmed his view that pregnancies resulting from rape don’t merit abortions.
What GOP Rep. Akin’s statement reveals is the craven indifference of the right-wing of the Republican party to the suffering of a woman left to bear a child of her rapist, its unconscionable disregard of scientific fact, and the inexcusable attempt to appeal to America’s fundamentalist “value” extremists on the right who want to impose their views on social and fiscal issues on all the rest of us, no matter what the consequences.
As a recent poll by the Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation demonstrated, the strongest group of Republicans, albeit still a minority at 28%, is represented by Tea Party members who support radical social visions of 1900s morality rules being imposed on everyone (fundamentalist religious views enshrined in law and in “traditional” interpretations of the Constitutions, resulting in no same-sex marriage, no same-sex adoptions, no abortions (even for rape victims)) combined with 1900s ideas about tax revenues and spending provisions (removing the safety net provided by Medicare and Social Security and substituting some version of privatization or elimination of these programs, so that the elderly are thrown back on charity care; allowing today’s robber barons (corporate moguls and private equity vulture capitalists) to fire workers and reduce their pay indiscriminately through dismantling of unions whenever possible; elimination of tax burdens on capital income; and remaking the corporate tax code to be even more favorable to multinationals).
And Paul Ryan, Romney’s vice presidential selection, is of accord with this group and opposes an abortion ban exception for rape victims (though Romney’s campaign on Sunday claims that the Romney-Ryan ticket would not opposed abortions after a rape–as though we have any reason to believe that will still be Romney’s position a few days from now…..).
As a commenter noted, Akin really just said what he believes out loud, betraying to everyone what he really has in mind. I hope Missourians recognize this snake in congressman garb for what he is–someone who shouldn’t be allowed to touch a Senate seat with a 10-foot pole.
cross posted with ataxingmatter
Presumably, the imaginary mechanism that “shuts down” pregnancy after a rape is something good, yes?
Then whyohwhy the opposition to the drug RU486, which would actually (not hypothetically) do exactly that?
It would be very interesting to see what a society would look like should women evolve to be able to choose, free of any possible coercion, whether to conceive or not.
Here is the thing that gets me about the whole “legitimate” qualification: in accordance with rule. The use of the word implies that there is some rule or rules that determine whether the activity shall be accepted as rape for determining future action.
Now, we have heard people note that “rape is rape”. That is true. But the use of the word “legitimate” does not imply that rape did not happen, at least not in the way I believe the congress person used it. This is why he can feel comfortable with saying he misspoke.
I believe (and I have not hear or read anyone addressing this) that the congressperson’s qualification is the result of the idea that some women were asking for it. In this mind set, you can now have legitimate rape and non-legitimate rape.
As dangerous the lack of the application and use of science by this congressperson is, the qualification of “legitimate” to rape is the presentation of a total excusal from responsibility for a male’s sexual actions (or female toward a male or homosexual however rare, but you know the congressperson has no conception of this). It is the expression of the male centered universe. A universe some have been taught is true as Eve was the temptress.
This to me is the real risk with such a person in congress.
The use of the qualifier “legitimate” in the context of Akin’s full remark seems clearly to be intended to suggest that the activity itself may not be rape. He is obviously attempting to obfuscate the issue of pregnancy resulting from rape by bringing up the implication that women who claim to have been raped may not have been victims of a crime.
I would agree in part Jack, but the concept of the Eve tempting Adam is very much a part of Akin et al concept. So, yes, if the lady was in the worst phrasing “asking for it”, then the pregnancy is not the result of “legitimate” rape and thus the lady deserves the punishment of the knowledge of pregnancy.
No abortion for you.
As to being a crime, I think the line of thinking is along the same line that allows us to have white collar crime that is unprovable and thus no bankers jailed and you got nailed with a joint, so off to jail for you. They are both crimes. One is a legitimate crime and one is not I believe is how Akin et al’s world works.
One rape is legitimate (the one who did not ask for it) and the other is not (the one that asked for it). That women don’t get pregnant means they were the legitimate rapes and thus are not paying for Eve’s sin if you will. Thus Akin et al do not see rape resulting in pregnancy, at least not the “legitimate” rape.
I know what you are saying, but it is not enough to just say he is obfuscating the issue. We need to make sure we understand their line of reasoning if we are to protect a woman’s liberty and promote person equality.
Dan here…Nancy had trouble posting to comments…here it is:
No commenting makes Nancy an unhappy. Well, maybe not unhappy but temporarily inconvenienced.
What I was going to say was that Akin reminds me of John Knox. How, you ask? Knox got his nickers in a twist about how snotty and overbearing women were (presumably in regard to some abstruse doctrinal issue like whether women have souls because if they didn’t, he didn’t have to pay attention to their whining. But, if they did, he still didn’t have to pay attention to them because they didn’t matter according to the Bible and all patristic sources. So there, said Knox, and fired off his first volume of Trumpet Blast Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women, in which he told all them wimmens to shut the hell up while also correcting his fellow clerics who had fallen into error by taking the evil witches’ side. So, then, he went home and wondered why his supper was burned and his shirts weren’t washed and his wife wasn’t talking to him. Hah.
Now Akin is wondering why people are so mad at him. Gee. Maybe it’s because he’s wrong and everyone has known that women have souls since Knox’s wife ran off with a Baptist preacher with more liberal ideas on the subject. Ya think? Nancy
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Just heard on View Point with Elliot Spitzer that Todd Akin is a born again christian described as a “true believer”. His issues are not fiscal but social: abortion, anti gambling and home schooling. He is also outside the repub party as they left him out during the redistricting, so he feels no loyalty to help the party by getting out.
the way you tell the story is sort of true except for the timing.
That liberal Baptist preacher was there at the beginning of the story..