Monday, August 20, 2012

The Legitimate Rape of Todd Akin

Congressman Todd Akin seduced the Republican primary voters of Missouri into giving him the nomination for U.S. Senate over a couple of other good candidates just a couple of weeks ago. Akin's folksy charm seemed to connect and he was expected to dance past the incumbent Democrat Claire McGaskill to the altar with Missouri voters in November. Then yesterday he got caught in flagrante delicto answering an interviewer's question on abortion:
"First of all, from what I understand from doctors, if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down".

Today, Todd Akin made the walk of shame on Mike Huckabee's radio show:
"I care deeply for the victims of people who have been raped. They're equally vulnerable and a rape is equally tragic. I made that statement in error. Let me be clear. Rape is never legitimate. It’s an evil act committed by violent predators. I used the wrong words int he wrong way. What I said was ill-conceived and it was wrong and for that I apologize."

"Ill-conceived?" The pregnant pause that followed Akin's original remarks quickly turned into universal condemnation. He's now desperate to abort his remarks or at least administer an effective morning after pill. No one wants to acknowledge his bastard child, you would think.

The L.A. Times has traced this illegitimate pregnancy back to Dr. Jack C. Willke, former president of the U.S. National Right to Life Committee, who reportedly said today:
"This goes back 30 and 40 years. When a woman is assaulted and raped, there’s a tremendous amount of emotional upset within her body," Willke said, adding that this trauma "can radically upset her possibility of ovulation, fertilization, implantation and even nurturing of a pregnancy."
Rape is, of course, the hard case for a right to life that begins unequivocally at conception. Look the rape victim in the eye and tell her, "I know that you have been violently assaulted and became pregnant against your will, I know that the whole experience has been traumatic and deeply wounding, I know that an abortion would help you put this horrible experience behind you and move on with your life. But you should consider the life inside you as precious and bring it to term."

It is a big cop out to build into your right to life belief system that women who are violently raped don't get pregnant. If you have to believe that in order to believe what you believe, well, that undermines the whole belief system.

It's also unnecessary. The debate over abortion in the U.S. isn't about conception any more. The idea that morning after pills or even early term abortion can be feasibly forbidden is a pipe dream, both in terms of medical technology and public consensus. No less a prolife advocate than Ron Paul acknowledges the futility of that.

The real debate is over at what point after conception the rights of the unborn begin to count. Surely all but the most heartless abortion-on-demand-until-birth zygote can look the woman in the eye who is 8 to 8 1/2 months pregnant with a healthy, viable baby and say, "You waited too late, even if you were raped."

Update: Akin posted a full apology and request for forgiveness Tuesday:

Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, the incumbent candidate running against Todd Akin, has a problem. She may be the last public official supporting Akin's decision to continue his campaign.

It appears to have started in the three way primary Akin won by 36%. McCaskill ran ads such as this one backhandedly touting Akin as the true conservative:

She titled that ad "Three of a kind, one and the same: Todd Akin". But was Akin really "the same" as businessman John Brunner or former state treasurer Sarah Steelman? How many of the 37,000 votes that gave Akin the primary victory (just 6% of the total cast) were Democrats encouraged by McCaskill? Now McCaskill is arguing to keep Akin in the election:
"For the national party to try to come in here and dictate to the Republican primary voters that they are going to invalidate their decision that would be pretty radical."

That's too cute. It will be hard for Democrats to complain if McCaskill's hand-picked challenger refuses to drop out after she has said it would be too radical to force him out, by implication more radical than the remarks he made which have led to the calls for his ouster. And if he wins ...

More McCaskill defense of Akin on KTVS in St. Louis:
"Elections are sacred. There was an election, so I think the voters of Missouri should be respected, not have some big-wig, fancy people from Washington come in here and threaten him that he's got to drop out."
How is it a "threat" to condemn the indefensible and decline to make campaign endorsements or contributions? How exactly is Akin's bungling of his candidacy after the primary vote "sacred?"

1 comment:

buddeshepherd said...

Yeah, he sure pulled a boner when he made that statement...
I had a teacher in bible college who did a lot of work with prisons. He liked to use that expression. I don't appreciated having it pointed out to him that yes there is nothing like the embarrassment of a public erection, except for using that phrase repeatedly in a room full of virgins.
When you get outside your own weird little world you have to realize it. The news people protect the lefties when they start talking insider crazy talk but they hang on to every misspoken word of the crazy christian.
Which is not to defend crazy Christian talk. The anti-abortionists are a little crazy. Obviously the argument is not about early term abortion, especially in the case of rape, and to go crazy on the sanctity of a fetus ends up lending support for the horror of a late term abortion. Yet even with that issue there may be exceptions.
The problem is of course is the utter lack of anyone in authority to make wise moral judgements. You can't legislate wisdom.