Monday, August 20, 2012

What Todd Akin Said

You must have heard about the Todd Akin statement by now, right?   This:

A summary:

Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri who is running against Sen. Claire McCaskill, justified his opposition to abortion rights even in case of rape with a claim that victims of “legitimate rape” have unnamed biological defenses that prevent pregnancy.
“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Akin said that even in the worst-case scenario — when the supposed natural protections against unwanted pregnancy fail — abortion should still not be a legal option for the rape victim.

Garance has written an excellent history of similar claims among the forced-birthers in the past.

It is very funny, of course, Rep. Akin's views on those unnamed biological defenses that women have!  Could it be vagina dentata he thinks of?

Let's not go that way.  Let's, instead, look at what this statement reveals about Todd Akin otherwise.

Note the reference to "legitimate rape."  What does "illegitimate rape" look like?  What Akin really means here is that women cry rape when they are not raped, that many rapes (perhaps most?) in his mind are not real rapes at all but just an excuse for a woman to get an abortion or to punish an ex-husband in divorce proceedings:

Akin previously was the cosponsor of a bill to redefine rape, and it was recently reported that Akin opposed a state law against spousal rape because it might be used as a tool against husbands in a "messy divorce."
 Smells a bit of some MRA arguments, don't you think?

Then there's Akin's statement about who should be punished in the case of a "legitimate" rape:

But let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something. You know, I think there should be some punishment. But the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.

Akin's desired punishment, of course, falls on the pregnant rape victim.  It is she who must go through nine months of a pregnancy and then a forced birth.  This can be dangerous.  It also means that the rapist's crime is allowed to continue, that the rape victim is made to give birth to a child the rapist decided she might as well  have, and to face all the health risks, physical as well as psychological, that the situation carries.

But that's not where Akin's sympathies lie, of course.

How odd that some wingnuts argue rape is an adaptation, something men practice because the mysterious genes for rape have survived from the distant past!  That view of rape ties it intimately with fertility.  Then there's this view of rape where someone who is raped doesn't even need contraception to protect her against pregnancy!

The two views have a connection, of course.  You can figure that one out easily enough.

I can't believe I wrote a serious post on this!