Republicans want to throw Rep. Todd Akin under the bus over his comments about “legitimate rape.” They want the world to know his views are “aberrant,” “beyond the pale,” and not representative of the party.
That’s a hypocritical stance: the party knows it and Rep. Akin knows it. That’s why so far he’s refused to withdraw from his senate race against Democrat Claire MccasKill.
Akin’s been in hot water since he expressed his views on abortion in the case of pregnancies resulting from rapes. Akin was responding to a Television interviewer’s questions last week when he offered this classic:
“It seems to me from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” he said, referring to the prospects of a pregnancy arising from rape.
“If it’s a legitimate rape,” he added, “the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”
In subsequent days, Akin followed up his classic comments with more; stating that many women lie about rapes in order to gain access to abortions.
These weren’t remarks coming from a prepubescent boy; but a grown-up Republican male member of Congress hoping to be elected U.S. Senator from Missouri. He had previously enjoyed a wide lead over Mccaskill.
Let’s examine his comments in two separate parts: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down.”
In other words, Akin sees the violation itself, the attack on the woman, the rape, as a secondary issue.
What’s more important to him is whether a pregnancy would result or not. So he’s telling his interviewer that the dilemma of how to deal with the pregnancy, whether to abort or not, rarely arises anyway, because “the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down.”
However, should this “Akin sperm neutralizer” technique not work out, the would-be senator still believes the rape victim should be denied abortion.
That’s where the second half of his answer comes into play: “But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”
Again here Rep. Akin shows where his sympathies are: the victimized woman, once again, takes a secondary position. Even though she was raped and impregnated, Rep. Akin still maintains “the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”
One wonders if Rep. Akin would feel the same way if he was not a man but a woman. The female rape victim’s feelings, suffering, pain, violation, humiliation, stigmatization are of no significance to Rep. Akin.
In Rep. Akin’s mind, the woman’s body is merely an incubator of male sperm; and what results from the sperm, the pregnancy, and preserving it, which to Akin is the most important thing.
After all, in Akin’s view, the woman did have a chance to prevent the pregnancy. So it was her fault that she didn’t “shut that whole thing down.”
This is clearly a Taliban perspective of women and their role in society; blaming the female victim for the rape.
In Afghanistan when a man commits adultery, it’s his female lover who is stoned to death. The woman is killed for failing to “shut that whole thing down.”
Do other Republicans share Rep. Akin’s views that women should “shut that whole thing down”?
We witnessed heated, emotional, and angry debates in State Senates throughout the country about women’s rights to abortion and whether they should be required to submit to vaginally invasive pregnancy tests to qualify for care.
Rep. Paul Ryan also co-sponsored with Rep. Akin a bill preclude government funding of abortion except in cases of “forcible rapes.” This language was later removed from the bill, which passed the House with overwhelming Republican support, but never made it to the Senate.
So Mitt Romney’s running mate also believes that there are different “grades” or “levels” of rapes.
How outraged was Romney by Akin’s remarks? “I can’t defend what he said and I can’t defend his candidacy,” was the Republican candidates initial response. It was only later once he realized the level of fallout that he called for Akin to step down.
As President Obama said after the Akin comments: “rape is rape.”
Rep. Akin was just being honest when he publicly stated what he knows many of his colleagues also believe.
The official published Republican Party platform also would ban abortions even in the cases of pregnancies from rapes.