Let me just lay out the quick facts.
Congressman Todd Akin (R-MO), who’s running against Senator Claire McCaskill, went on television and said that women have a mysterious power to prevent becoming pregnant in cases of “legitimate rape.” More extensively he said (and I quote Talking Points Memo):
“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
As it turns out, the American Journal of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates 32,000 pregnancies a year are caused by rape.
Later, Rep. Akin said he “misspoke.”
He’s one of the most conservative people in Congress, according to Govtrack.US.
In addition to all the other things he’s against, Rep. Akin thinks the “morning after” pill, which can be used in cases of rape among other scenarios, should be banned. It’s been portrayed as preventing implantation of embryos, but as the deftly-titled Jezebel piece headlines, “Morning-After Slut Pills Don’t Actually Prevent Implantation, After All.” They are not in any way akin to abortion, and yet are often referenced that way in popular debates because it’s politically convenient.
To add to the national implications of Akin’s illogic, it turns out that both he and Romney running mate Congressman Paul Ryan supported the HR-3 bill. It initially would have redefined rape as “forcible rape,” which could have had the consequence of making rapes of people who were drugged, passed out, or too young or developmentally disabled to actively resist excluded from the category. After an outcry, the “forcible rape” language was dropped.
On Monday, President Obama held a press conference where he laid out what should have been the obvious, stating:
The views expressed were offensive. Rape is rape. And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we are talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people and certainly doesn’t make sense to me. So what I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women.
Rep. Akin has six children. Perhaps one of them can give him a science lesson… or simply a lesson in morality.
You can school him yourself via Twitter @RepToddAkin. Many people have been, using the #LegitimateRape hashtag. Here are just a few of the posts: