We all know that abortion is one of the major issues that help fill the divide between the ideology of the Republican and Democratic political parties in America. Republicans are famously pro-life, meaning they do not believe in abortion as a suitable option. Democrats are the opposite, pro-choice, meaning they believe that a woman has the right to terminate the pregnancy if she wishes to do so. This is the drawing of the battle lines, but the issue is more complicated than that as more hypothetical situations come into play. For example, some Republicans are against abortion for any reason whatsoever. Some believe that there are situations where abortion should be a legal option, like when the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother or the pregnancy came about as a result of rape. Naturally, Democrats have long used the latter situation as a rallying cry for their cause in an attempt to demonize the Republican point of view by painting the picture that Republicans don’t sympathize with rape victims. Of course, Republicans try their best to offset this reputation, but this week, Republican Representative Todd Akin of Missouri made a comment in a television interview that has set the world on fire. Not to mention doing nothing to help the reputation of his party.
In the interview with KTVI-TV, Akin was asked if he believes that abortion is justified in a circumstance where the pregnancy is the result of a rape. Instead of simply giving an answer as to his beliefs on the matter, Akin replied that rape rarely results in pregnancy. He then used the controversial term “legitimate rape” to describe the difference. In a so-called legitimate rape, Akin believes that the female body has methods of shutting down to avoid pregnancy. Here’s the quote:
“It seems to be, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”
Okay conspiracy buffs…first things first. There is no medical evidence supporting this statement. It is kind of obvious that a woman being raped may very well fight to the bitter end to try to stop what is happening, but if she is unable to prevent, well you know, there is a chance of pregnancy resulting. Most rapists are not too conscientious about using protective measures, so it is an unfortunate byproduct of a terrible crime. So, put simply, Todd Akin is wrong about this, and it’s kind of pathetic that a person in such a high political office would have such disinformation between his ears.
Now, as for the “legitimate rape” term, let’s delve into what Akin was really talking about. He seems to be indicating that there are lots of reported rape crimes in the United States that are not truly rape. What he seems to be angling toward is the idea that many women cry rape when they were in fact willing participants to the activity. When Akin says “legitimate,” we’re guessing he means when a woman is truly attacked by a stranger and forced to have intercourse. The Democrats are throwing mud all over this one, using the “legitimate rape” term out of context to try to make it appear that Akin believes there are situations where it is legitimate to rape a woman. This is not the spirit of the comment at all, if you read it as it occurred. Now, having said that, the whole comment was bonehead and should have never happened. But to make matters worse, the political mudslinging is trying to take it a step farther by accusing Akin of insinuating that there is a such thing as “legitimate rape.” The term legitimate is actually referring to the accusation of rape by the female, meaning that the rape was a cut and dry case of a man forcing himself onto the victim.
Bottom line: Akin is an idiot, and he made a really stupid comment. The Democrats have every right to pounce on it, but they have enough to pounce on without having to take things out of context. Why go out of your way to make something that already looks terrible even worse at the risk of damaging your own credibility?
But wait a minute. That’s politics, right? Fire away.