Ever since Congressman Todd Akin (R) Missouri, gave that fateful television interview last Sunday, the airwaves, blogosphere, Twitter and other social media have been on a feeding frenzy. Mr. Akin was asked whether he believes abortion is justified in cases of rape. To this, he replied:
“It seems to be, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the 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.”
I heard it first late in the day Sunday, when I tuned in to NPR. I must have been in the kitchen or something. I did not catch all of it but I thought I heard as much. By Monday morning, it was everywhere. I listened while getting ready in the morning, in the car en route to work, and even as I made my way home.
I have to say something about this because it’s the kind of public discourse that has no place in a modern society, in a first world country like the United States of America.
The dictionary definition of the term rape is:
1 : an act or instance of robbing or despoiling or carrying away a person by force
3: an outrageous violation
Whether it is “legitimate,” or “forcible,” or “date-rape,” where a woman is made to perform unwanted sexual intercourse when a gun is pointed to her head or she’s been subjected to threats of or actual physical harm, or rendered unconscious or semi-conscious with the use of mind-altering chemicals, or whether a woman or child (male or female) are coerced by an adult bigger and stronger than s/he is by a stranger, friend, or relative, RAPE IS RAPE.
Of course, most Republicans have been so quick to distance themselves from the guy. Even the incumbent president weighed in:
“Rape is rape, and the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we are talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people and certainly doesn’t make sense to me.”
The second issue that so exposes how many like-minded folk to Mr. Akin, still imagine that a woman who is raped can also be at fault is the fact that in many parts of this nation, people somehow have this mystical or mythical belief of this “mind over matter power,” that women can somehow will themselves not to get pregnant when they are raped. How can the female body be capable of “shutting the whole thing down?” This I had to hear again in another news segment because I could not believe what I was hearing. If you don’t believe me, check out the related articles I have collected for you below and click the links to the interviews of people who are backing Mr. Akin’s colossally ridiculous claim.
And, who are these doctors Mr. Akin is referring to? I’d like to know who they are. They are obviously not practicing the most important tenet of MDs: “Do no harm.”
- The larger significance of Todd Akin’s ridiculousness (maddowblog.msnbc.com)
- US in uproar over Congressman Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments (bikyamasr.com)
- Politicians and rape: a serious case of denial | Editorial (guardian.co.uk)
- Republican congressman says ‘legitimate rape’ does not cause pregnancy (telegraph.co.uk)
- What Does Todd Akin Think “Legitimate Rape” Is? (newyorker.com)
- Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments set of Twitter firestorm: what they’re saying online (calgaryherald.com)
- Medical Experts Heartily Dismiss Todd Akin’s Idea of ‘Legitimate Rape’ [Rape Culture] (jezebel.com)
- Not To Be Outdone By Todd Akin, Mike Huckabee Has Some Dumb Thoughts On Rape, Too (thegloss.com)
- Bryan Fischer: Todd Akin right about ‘real, genuine rape’ (rawstory.com)
- Representative Todd Akin Says “Legitimate Rape Victims” Don’t Get Pregnant (thefrisky.com)