Todd Akin's Idiocy is Infectious
The evil genius of the
By now his remarks are familiar, but just in case ...
Akin told a local TV interviewer: "First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare." He continued: "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
My own take is that there's a dual-core of asininity here. First, Akin's formulation makes it sound like if an "alleged" rape victim is pregnant, it must mean that she wasn't really raped, like she was either asking for it or lying. After all, real rape victims don't get pregnant. I cannot imagine how infuriating it would be for a rape victim to have her rape claim dismissed by her pregnancy.
But even here, Akin couldn't stick the landing of his own buffoonery. Because he doesn't claim this is a universal scientific truth, just a rule of thumb. It's "really rare" -- he says -- for "legitimate" rape victims to get pregnant.
I'll let the doctors and statisticians debate that one. But let's say it's true. What's Akin's point then? We already knew that abortions stemming from rape are statistically rare. People have been talking about pro-life exceptions for the "rare instances of rape and incest" since Roe v. Wade was decided. But the rareness of such instances doesn't change the moral questions one iota.
To bring up frequency makes it sound like it's all a numbers game, which is wholly contrary to the principled pro-life argument. If the argument is that a fetus is an independent being deserving of life, rareness is a red herring. Conversely, if it's cruel to force a woman to carry a rapist's child to term, rareness is a red herring.
And besides, whatever the absolute numbers might be, if you're a woman who's been raped and impregnated, 100 percent of you has been affected.
But these are just my biggest objections to Akin's comments. Such is the Rorschach nature of Akin's jackassery that they apparently lend credence to countless other interpretations.
I was one of the millions of Americans on the receiving end of an email from
She, like her fellow party henchmen and henchwomen, does this by making it sound as if Akin's offense is being against abortion in cases of rape and incest -- just like Romney and Ryan! There's nothing outrageous about opposing this view, but that simply isn't Akin's outrage. Oh, and it's not Romney's position (or Ryan's now that he's joined the ticket).
Another common explanation for Akin's gaffe is that he meant "forcible rape" as opposed to other kinds of rape. This has sparked a bonfire of feigned ignorance. How could anyone think there are different kinds of rape? One is tempted to quote
But I found her views repugnant then, so I won't rely on them now. Nor will I fire up the way-back machine to recount all of the things
Suffice it to say, the law has distinguished between various forms and degrees of rape for a very long time. Statutory rape, for instance, may be entirely non-forcible and consensual.
The simple fact is that the theatrical outrage -- on both sides of the political aisle -- is only partly attributable to the actual outrageousness of Akin's comments. Much of it has to do with the fact that Republicans are desperate not to lose a senate Seat they thought they had in the bag (and which could hold the deciding vote on ObamaCare's repeal). And Democrats are just as giddy about saving the seat -- and hanging Akin around
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Todd Akin's Idiocy is Infectious | Politics
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