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I’m going to post Lindsey Beyerstein’s short piece from In These Times in its entirety, because she is a Facebook friend and I don’t think that she’ll mind.
The Republican senate candidate from Missouri believes that pregnancy from rape is a lot like trial by ordeal:
Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri who is running against Sen. Claire McCaskill, justified his opposition to abortion rights even in case of rape with a claim that victims of “legitimate rape” have unnamed biological defenses that prevent pregnancy.
“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
It all comes down to traditional values. If you throw a suspected witch in the river and she doesn’t drown, she was a legitimate witch. If she drowns, she wasn’t legit after all. Oh, well.
Todd has this all figured out: If you get pregnant, it wasn’t legitimate rape. Ergo, so-called “rape victims” don’t deserve abortion exemptions.
A fuller story, including the video of this U.S. Senate candidate (did I mention that?) from Missouri making an ass out of himself, is available here. That article does the responsible research, so that I don’t have to:
A 1996 study by the American Journal of Obstetricians and Gynecologists found “rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency” and is “a cause of many unwanted pregnancies” — an estimated “32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year.”
In a tweet, McCaskill said she was “stunned” by Akin’s comments.
Akin is perhaps the boldest among a crop of conservative 2012 nominees who could hamper GOP efforts to take back the Senate in the fall. Akin has called for an end to the school-lunch program and a total ban on the morning-after pill.
His claim about “legitimate” types of rape is not completely foreign to the current Republican Congress, however. In 2011, the House GOP was forced to drop language from a bill that would have limited federal help to pay for an abortion to only victims of “forcible rape.” Akin was a co-sponsor on the bill.
In Rep. Akin’s defense, my understanding is that some females can, in fact, automatically spontaneously abort a pregnancy in response to stress of the sort that might be expected to accompany a rape. Unfortunately for him, those females are rabbits, and I have a feeling that my understanding may come from the novel Watership Down.
I like to finish a story like this with a demand that someone in an appropriate position condemn it. Who shall it be, who shall it be? Oh yes: Elizabeth Emken, please step forward and condemn your fellow U.S. Senate candidate! If you’d like to ask Republican U.S. Senate candidate from the great state of California Elizabeth Emken to condemn Rep. Akin’s remarks, here’s her Facebook page — and let us know how it goes.