In case you missed the news flash, Todd Akin, congressman and candidate for Senate in Missouri, is a despicable shitbag who lacks even basic understanding of human biology:
“First of all, from what I understand from doctors, (pregnancy from rape) is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in a clip posted to YouTube by the Democratic super PAC American Bridge. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Of course, having called down the fury of every human being on the planet with even a shred of decency on his head, he immediately backpedaled:
“In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year…”
No, Todd Akin. You did not misspeak. Unless by “misspoke” you mean “Whoops I told everyone what I actually think and now you’re all mad so I guess I’d better lie my ass off.” Misspeaking means you said pineapple instead of papaya when you were talking about what you had in your fruit salad. It means you had a brain fart and forgot the word ostracod in the middle of a presentation. You don’t get to pretend it was just a little verbal flub (teehee!) when you flaunted not only your jaw-dropping ignorance but your complete lack of empathy as well.
Don’t you dare, for shame, speak of empathy. If you had a single speck of empathy in your being, you wouldn’t be attacking the suffering and trauma of countless women and men by implying there is even such an animal as a rape that doesn’t count.
And no, this does not come out of the blue. Justine Larbalestier has a nice summary on her blog about just how pathetically ancient this “legitimate rape” line is. Guess it’s nice to know he’s getting his knowledge of reproductive mechanisms from the eighteenth century, along with presumably his understanding of biology in general as well. He’s not alone in this backward clinging to long-debunked ideas. However, for bonus laugh-and-cry-simultaneously fuckery, I will note that Akin is on the House Science Committee. Awesome!
Even better, Akin has since clarified his position even more on Mike Huckabee’s radio show:
Huckabee asked Akin whether he was talking about “forcible rape” when he used the term “legitimate rape.”
“I was talking about forcible rape, and it was absolutely the wrong word,” Akin said.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard this. Remember last year? Remember when the Republicans tried to pass a bill prevented Medicaid funding of abortions except in cases of “forcible rape,” only backing off when it called down a veritable firestorm on their heads? Todd Akin was in on that too. A hell of a lot of Republicans in the House were, including Paul Ryan. Akin didn’t misspeak now, and it was no mistake when he supported that “forcible rape” language either; he hasn’t changed his mind, he’s just taken another reminder that he shouldn’t say those things out loud where people of conscience can hear.
I have seen a lot of conservatives attacking Akin and distancing themselves from him. Good for them, and I surely do appreciate it. But this “legitimate rape” thing is just the same as the despicable “forcible rape” language of last year – Akin himself has confirmed that. This is an attempt to redefine the very idea of rape to the detriment of victims and the benefit of predators. And now one of the supporters of that gem could be the next Vice President.
The eighteenth century called. They want their science and their values back.