When Rep. Todd Akin recently brought the phrase “legitimate rape” into political discourse, I was simply stunned. Yet his horrifying and dangerously ignorant assertion is, even after all these years, merely a bald-faced acknowledgment of what our rape culture has allowed to exist: the idea that women are only rarely “rape-raped.”
Local TV news stations in Colorado, a swing state, are fact checking many of the political ads inundating the airwaves. Two local stations in Denver were mostly right in their recent analyses of ads attacking Mitt Romney’s position on a women’s right to choose.
CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley let Mitt Romney off the hook over lingering questions about his position on abortion in cases of rape.
A Missouri Republican who came to the defense of Representative Todd Akin told the The New York Times last week that, while “abortion is never an option…. If God has chosen to bless this person [the rape victim] with a life, you don’t kill it.”
When public officials make statements that are scientifically inaccurate, it plants a bad seed.
The GOP platform committee did not amend language from the 2004 and 2008 GOP platforms, which “assert the sanctity of human life,” and provide no exceptions to abortion in any case whatsoever. The committee add language opposing drugs such as mifepristone, but members agreed that this platform amendment did not apply to EC.
The real question that needs to be addressed is not whether rape can cause pregnancy. The question is: will measures that ban women who have been impregnated by rape from having abortions be enacted, enabling rapists, with state support, even greater power to deprive women of their dignity and personhood?
Thanks to the Akin outburst, the extremist positions taken by anti-choice politicians are now finally becoming more visible to a larger public.
In keeping with Mitt Romney’s strategy of distancing himself from Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan is now distancing himself from Paul Ryan.
Akin’s statement and the GOP’s anti-choice positions aren’t just an election year “war on women” narrative. They are part of a reactionary, fundamentalist backlash to modernity. It’s a war on science. It’s a war on facts. It’s a war on critical thinking. But, really, consider it a war on democracy.