LOCAL SPIN: Womb With A View
Todd Akin has secured the rapist vote, but who else’s?
Thursday, August 23, 2012
It would be easier to believe the story happened this way: The national media, as it is sometimes wont to do, confused a piece from humor site The Onion with actual news, then reported it that way.
What other way to explain that, when asked about his views on abortion (and specifically abortion as it relates to instances of rape), a man who holds elected office in the U.S. House of Representatives and is currently seeking a U.S. Senate seat said the following: “It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Rep. Todd Akin, R-MO, who sits on the House Committee on Science, said during a TV interview. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Certainly more bombastic and horrifying than his comments from June 2011, in which he extrapolated that NBC – in playing a video clip of the Pledge of Allegiance minus the “under God” part – had a long record of being liberal and that “at the heart of liberalism is hatred for God and the belief that government should replace God.”
See how that works? NBC omits words, thus is liberal and as everyone knows, liberals are godless and bent on replacing God with government. A woman is raped, may become pregnant and choose to seek an abortion, but everyone knows women who are “legitimately” raped really don’t get pregnant because rape is so traumatic, the body ignores the laws of science and compensates by preventing the rapist’s sperm from meeting the victim’s egg.
“It’s more of the same,” my husband said as he gnashed his teeth. “I believe what I believe and don’t confuse me with the facts. I’m going to talk about science without being a scientist, and I’m going to talk about medicine without being a doctor.”
When the facts disagree with the ideology, just change the facts.
The outcry was immediate, fierce and (in some cases) darkly funny. A few of my favorites from the Twittersphere: @funnyordie “Todd Akin’s remarks serve as a reminder that the difference between genius & stupidity is that genius has its limits”; @jamiekilstein “How about if you don’t understand how something works you don’t get to regulate it”; and @NickSchug “Todd Akin is now furiously browsing WebMD and is like ‘fuuuuuucccccckkkkkk.’”
Akin did what so many who enjoy the taste of shoe leather have done: He offered a non-apology apology, saying he “misspoke” when he used the word “legitimate.” He says he has empathy for rape victims, but his record shows this isn’t the first time his true belief system was revealed.
It’s also why the GOP is frantically trying to distance itself from him.
Akin and Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential candidate, Paul Ryan, co-sponsored the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion” act, which sought to change federal law, grant personhood and constitutional rights to embryos, and mandate that only women who were “forcibly raped” could seek abortions.
AT WHAT POINT, EXACTLY, DID THE BITCH STOP ASKING FOR IT?
There’s that pesky ideology again. Forcibly raped. Legitimately raped. What does that look like, exactly? Is it forcible if a weapon is used? Is it forcible if the victim has bruises? Is it forcible if she was drugged? Is it forcible if she was dressed provocatively, or had a drink? At what point, exactly, did the bitch stop asking for it?
Because that’s what it comes down to: the ideology that rape isn’t rape unless a legislative body deems it so. It’s using politics to take away a woman’s rights to control her own body.
Romney has asked Akin to quit the Senate race, as has Ryan himself. A group of conservative current and ex-congressmen, including Sen. Roy Blunt and John Ashcroft, issued a statement Aug. 22 saying they don’t believe it serves the national interest for Akin to stay in the race: “The issues at stake are too big, and this election is simply too important.” But the deadline for Akin to voluntarily drop out came and went; now the only way he can remove himself is via a court order.
Akin, meanwhile, has taken to Twitter to portray himself as a victim. “I apologized but the liberal media is trying to make me drop out. Please stand w/me tonight by signing my petition.” A link leads to his fundraising site; in two days, he raised nearly $20,000.
A few weeks ago, Weekly reporter Sara Rubin took a lengthy look at local politics through the lens of the Monterey County Republican and Democratic central committees. On the GOP side, she found the committee purposely avoided discussion of the issues the national party so fiercely embraces – like abortion and gay marriage – while hammering away at issues of the economy. But it would be wise for them to chime now, because Akin is one of their own. As one viral Tweet puts it, the GOP now gets to carry Akin and his ideology to term against their will.
MARY DUAN is the Weekly’s editor. Email email@example.com or follow twitter.com/maryrduan