I have some sympathy for politicians who make verbal gaffes. After all, everybody says things they regret later.
So I’m curious about what people think of current Congressman and GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin, who was asked why he opposes abortion even in the case of rape. Akin claimed that “from what I understand from doctors, (pregnancy from rape) is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Akin later claimed that he “misspoke”.
Really? I’m trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I’m having troubles. In the past, Akin praised an anti-abortion militia group that participated in invasions of abortion clinics. Akin also voted for an anti-marital-rape law, questioning whether women used accusations of rape as a legal weapon in a messy divorce.
But what really makes me shake my head is that Akin is a current member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Really.
The other thing that is ironic in this case is that one reason Akin won the GOP nomination for the Senate is that Democrats, including his upcoming opponent Clair McCaskill, donated $1.5 million to his campaign, helping him win over more moderate candidates. Of course, McCaskill expressed outrage at Akin’s rape statement, but isn’t that a bit disingenuous given that she donated to his campaign? When does something stop being good strategy, and start being dirty politics?
UPDATE: According to the reliable electoral-vote.com:
Earlier this year, every House Republican and 16 Blue Dog Democrats voted for a bill that would have redefined rape in federal statutes to be “forcible rape.” If this bill had become law, then statutory rape, the rape of a drugged or mentally impaired woman, or any rape where the rapist did not use physical force would not be considered rape. The bill died in the Senate. When Akin said “legitimate rape” he undoubtedly meant “forcible rape” as defined by the House bill but forgot the exact terminology.
Congressman, and now vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, was a co-sponsor of that bill.
But what’s really hypocritical about this is that the Republican Party platform is going to contain a call for a constitutional amendment forbidding all abortions, even in the case of incest or rape (including forcible, legitimate, or whatever). So why are they shocked at Akin’s statement?