Several days ago, Rep. Todd Akin, candidate for the U.S. Senate said something he shouldn’t have said. Certainly, he wishes now he wouldn’t have said it. The important question we should ask ourselves, though, is if he believes what he said.
By now you’ve probably heard his remarks. In an interview aired on KTVI-TV, on the topic of whether or not women should have the right to an abortion in cases of rape, Akin stated, “First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
The logical extension of his remarks seems clear. Akin seems to be saying that women cannot get pregnant during rape. Or, at least, it’s very difficult. During a “legitimate” rape, as he says, the female body has the ability to ward it off. Forgetting that Akin seems to be saying that there are different kinds of rape, some more “legitimate” than others, he seems to assume also that the female body has the unknown magical ability to cease a pregnancy in the case of an assault. It is tough to not conclude Rep. Akin is from the Dark Ages with statements like that.
Akin claims he misspoke; that this was just a verbal gaffe. Nonsense. We all lived through eight years of a George W. Bush presidency. Joe Biden is our current vice president. We known what verbal gaffes are. Anyone can misspeak. But there are simply too many layers to Akin’s comments to believe he didn’t know exactly what he was saying. He talks about learning this from doctors. He talks about “legitimate rape.” He says the female body has ways to “shut that whole thing down.” That’s not a gaffe. That’s very deliberate speech. No, when Akin said what he said, he believed every word.
Akin has thus far declined requests to resign from the race. The GOP is furious. Not only are Republicans aiming to throw him to the wolves to quell continued talk of the GOP’s many perceived anti-woman policies, they also understand that the longer Akin sticks around, the more Democrats can use his remarks as ammunition.