Oddly enough for someone who is so emotionally invested in politics, I am trying to avoid writing about election topics. Neither my psyche nor my blood pressure can stand a lot of that these days. The combination of negative campaigning (not necessarily inaccurate) and simple virulence has made me draw back from a topic I am normally deeply engaged in. (There will be a post at some point about the slew of voter eligibility laws, I promise.)
This story cried out for attention, however: Republican Todd Akin of Missouri, currently running against Senator Claire McCaskill, said in a television interview that women who are survivors of “legitimate” rape have biological defenses which prevent them from getting pregnant.* This is, of course, complete horse manure: the female body cannot discriminate between forced and unforced sex. Of course Akin doesn’t really care about that, either: he thinks that in any case abortion and the morning-after bill should be banned, even in cases of rape.
It is one thing — despicable, but rational — to argue that rape should not provide an exception to anti-abortion laws. But to argue that women do not get pregnant as a result of rape — which has been clearly disproved by science** even if it were not patently ridiculous on its surface — is an attempt to put a pseudo-scientific sheen on what is nothing more than an attempt to control women’s reproductive lives.
This man cannot understand basic human biology; how does he understand complex legislation? For some inexplicable reason (but then, I find the election of any Tea-Partier to public office to be completely incomprehensible) he was elected to the House of Representatives. Now, if poll numbers hold true, he is poised to be sent to the Senate.
If that indeed happens, my opinion of the good people of Missouri will plummet through the floor.
*This is reminiscent of last year’s attempted “forcible rape” amendment to the House Health Care Bill and guess what? Akin was a co-sponsor on that one, too.
**The stats are kind of horrifying: five percent of rapes resulted in pregnancy — some 32,000 per year — with 32% of pregnant victims not discovering that they were pregnant until the second trimester.