By Ian Rosoff
Everyone is probably aware of the Todd Akin rape comments by now, but it’s a good idea to remember that Representative Todd Akin serves on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, even if his grasp of science, and in particular biology is non-existent. He is the current Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri; I say current because on Sunday Rep. Todd Akin made comments about rape and abortion that are so wrong and ignorant that they have caused many across the country and on both sides of aisle to call for him to step down.
The Post reported Akin’s comments:
“First of all, from what I understand from doctors, (pregnancy from rape) is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in a clip posted to YouTube by the Democratic super PAC American Bridge. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
It is unclear exactly what Akin means by “legitimate rape”, but it sounds familiar to the unusual language he has used when talking about rape and abortion in the past. Last year, Akin co-sponsored a bill that would change the current federal funding of abortions in cases of rape to only cases of “forcible rape.” His co-sponsor was Paul Ryan, and their goal in this Bill was to stop Planned Parenthood from getting money for abortions by claiming girls were victims of statutory rape. Planned Parenthood has denied that this is a tactic. The result of this bill, which remarkably passed the house before dying in the Senate would have meant cases of date rape, incest, and basically any rape not conducted at gunpoint are up for debate.
Mitt Romney is distancing himself from Akin and his comments. Romney told the National Review Online that, “Congressman’s Akin comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong,” but the connection between his running mate and Akin is bound to be ammunition for President Obama. Phrases like “legitimate rape” and “forced rape” are likely to haunt Akin and potentially Ryan.
In Missouri Akin was considered the favorite over incumbent Claire Mccaskill. Interestingly enough she ran ads of her own calling Akin the only “true conservative” in the Missouri republican primary in the hope of running against the candidate she believed to be the easiest to beat. Akin has rewarded her efforts with his remarks, and due to Missouri election law if he steps down now republicans would have to run a write in candidate. A growing number of conservatives are indeed calling on Akin to withdraw immediately. Romney, Ryan, and other heavyweights asked him to step down and he seems as ignorant of his situation as he is of rape.
Akin claims he misspoke, but the damage is done. His comments will dominate the news cycle. It would appear that this quotation was not a “misspeak” or for that matter that is “out of context”. But we ask, to what end? Will it impact GOTV on either side of the aisle. Will it motivate or dissuade people to vote. How will it impact the national, the state and the local races for after all these are important to. We ask this because Voter Turnout is critical in this election and the relationship with the politicians remains tenuous. Will the “hate of Aikan” be enough to drive voters to vote….? Come see us on the 7th of November.
We polled on the question of whether Rep. Akin should step down. The results were predictable with 75% women feeling that Akin should withdraw. Many respondents commented that they hoped he stayed in the race in order to suffer further humiliation.