2. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that down.”
–Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo.
Todd Akin didn’t just sink his own political career when he declared that women’s ladyparts had laser beams that could destroy rapist sperm. He became the poster boy for the Republican Party’s war on women’s rights. Here was a U.S. Congressman, a man who wanted to be a senator, who didn’t have a rudimentary understanding of women’s reproductive systems — and he was not going to let that ignorance keep him from outlawing abortion even in cases of rape and incest.
What lay beneath this quote’s surface is almost as impressive. Akin used “legitimate” in his statement, which he said he regretted; he actually meant to use “forcible,” because Republicans had been working to outlaw federal funds for abortion in cases of “non-forcible” rape, like statutory rape, or rape by coercion — a bill sponsored by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the GOP’s nominee for vice president. Furthermore, Akin was repeating an oft-cited myth from the anti-choice side; it’s much easier to ban abortion in cases of rape and incest if women who’ve “legitimately” been raped can’t conceive. It means that all the women seeking abortions weren’t “legitimately” raped, and so they deserve to have childbirth forced on them.
Like Mourdock would later find out, actual human beings don’t draw fine distinctions about what rape is legitimate, or whether God wants to force women to have rape babies. Akin and Mourdock both lost their bids for the Senate, helping keep the body in Democratic hands for at least two more years. You see, Missouri and Indiana women had ways to shut those campaigns down.
Image Credits: Donkey Hotey, Bain Capital, David Lytle, Iowa-Politics.us
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