Every politician slips once and awhile. Many tend to be more regularly gaffe prone, and lots of current Tea Party types have some pretty questionable opinions. But, so far as I know, only Rep. Todd Akin (R-2), Claire McCaskill’s senatorial election opponent, manages to say something foolish and offensive on just about every day of his campaign. His latest: women who are victims of “legitimate” rape, rarely get pregnant:
Talking Points Memo (TPM) summarized the offending comments:
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.”
Akin said that even in the worst-case scenario – when the supposed natural protections against unwanted pregnancy fail – abortion should still not be a legal option for the rape victim.
“Let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work, or something,” Akin said. “I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”
And then TPM noted that, contrary to Akin’s junk science beliefs:
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. The study found an estimated “32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year.”
Almost as striking as Akin’s emphasis on “legitimate” rape, and his credulity when it comes to biology, is his belief that abortion in cases of rape has something to do with punishment. His failure to even entertain the idea that forcing a woman to carry her rapist’s child to term might be damaging to her welfare only underlines how insignificant the welfare of women and, in cases of rape, the unwanted child, is to anti-abortion fanatics.