Anybody remotely interested in women’s issues should be aware of the ripples Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin made last week, when he defended his anti-abortion policies – even in the case of rape or incest - by claiming “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
(Despite an estimated 25,000 women getting pregnant as a result of rape every year, presumably because they weren’t raped “legitimately” enough according to Mr. Akin’s standards.)
He’s since been forced to apologize for “misspeaking,” but Rep. Akin is still desperately trying to cling onto his campaign nomination in the high-profile race against incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill.
He defiantly declared: “The good people of Missouri nominated me, and I’m not a quitter” – and recently released this video advert in which he claims: “I have a compassionate heart for the victims of sexual assault. I pray for them.”
But apparently, it’s too little and too late. Although many might dismiss Akin’s comment as typical right-wing fuckwittery in the continued war against women, apparently even right wing Republicans have limits. The Grand Old Party is retreating away from Akin as fast as an Elephant can.
“Congressman Akin’s comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable and, frankly, wrong,” said Mitt Romney – himself once a committed pro-choice candidate, before the GOP establishment got their mitts on Mitt. He supported the Republican Party withdrawing funding for Akin’s reelection campaign; and called for him to step down from the race.
Spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg went even further – claiming: “a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape,” an unusually specific limitation from a party that has many members who support Akin’s “no exceptions” policy on abortion.
Perhaps the Republican’s reaction shows that when it comes to important issues like abortion, even they have a line in the sand they won’t (officially) cross.
Is that the thin end of a wedge? One that can be chipped away at to maneuver the GOP towards a more middle-of-the-road position on a woman’s right to choose?
Let us know what you think about this controversy in the comments below.