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.”
What we need to constantly keep in mind is how we are deciding who is most in need of help, and reevaluating how that fits in with our values. Are we ok with only helping certain kinds of people who need abortions? Can we strategize for a future in which we don’t have to make these tough decisions? How can we get there?
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.
A woman with a pregnancy as the result of rape is facing one of the most difficult and confusing situations imaginable. Indeed, the larger problem remains, which is that Rep. Akin and his conservative allies in Congress and state legislatures stand by their desire to limit the health care options a pregnant woman has available to her.