(The Root) — So this happened: Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), who is currently running for the U.S. Senate against Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill, was talking yesterday about abortion in cases of rape and said, “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 of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”
Whether you agree with a woman’s right to choose or not, you have to see how troubling this commentary is. And by “troubling” I mean “completely and utterly effed up.” Twitter has been having fun with the #SayAnything2012 hashtag, used to express the idea that conservatives say anything to win. But this is more than that — this is actual political ideology. A woman’s body fights off pregnancy when she’s legitimately raped — not when it’s illegitimate: you know, when the rapist doesn’t file the proper paperwork or get the right signatures?
“Oh, I’m sorry. This rape isn’t legitimate. There’s no raised seal. Oh, and you forgot to sign the back.” — A woman’s body.
This is horrendous. As much as Todd Akin is trying to backpedal, we have to remember that this isn’t a random comment. Rep. Akin co-sponsored the infamous No Tax Payers Funding for Abortion Act — which initially attempted to redefine rape — with vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. This is a pattern that seems to pop up within the right wing way too often.
I realize that I find this conversation gag inducing because this isn’t just theoretical for me. I know someone who got pregnant through rape. We talked about this issue way before Akin’s ridiculousness, and she told me that she didn’t tell anyone because she was raped by someone she was dating. She genuinely thought no one would believe her.
Now I know why. Apparently her rape wasn’t legitimate.