Akin is Both Wrong and Incorrect–and Not Alone

It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.

Todd Akin said two awful things about rape & pregnancy, and people are so busy focusing on the one he has retracted that they’re totally glossing over the one he–and the rest of the GOP–hasn’t. 

Look, it’s appalling that someone sitting on the Congress’s science committee ever fell for the notion that biology has special intrusion countermeasures against rape-sperm–especially given how easy it is to find out that a fair number of women get pregnant from rape every year. 

I used the wrong words in the wrong way, and for that I apologize.…The fact is, rape can lead to pregnancy. 

But he apologized and retracted half of his statement. If we can’t let people change and learn, they never will. Sure, it might not be genuine, but how about the benefit of the doubt?

No, what people should be focusing on is the second part of Congressperson Akin’s statement, which he has not retracted, and which none of the rest of the GOP has said anything about. He is still asserting that abortion should be illegal, with no exceptions. If there were truth to the notion that no pregnancies arose from rape, then maybe it would be reasonable to not have exceptions allowing abortion in cases of rape. But since he has acknowledged that rape can result in pregnancy, he is now saying that women do get pregnant from being raped, and that doesn’t matter.

And, sure, there may be some statistical variance between the percentage of raped women who get pregnant and women having consensual unprotected sex. Or there might not. Regardless, there are probably thousands of women getting pregnant every year because of being raped. (I’ve found reliable tallies and estimates ranging from an outlier 3200 through a cluster of numbers around 25k-32k.) 

But this whole thing is, at best, a case of people who dislike abortions for noble reasons rationalizing supporting no exceptions or, at worst, a smokescreen to distract from the very real attacks on abortion availability.

While we’re all being appalled that Todd Akin doesn’t know his biology, where’s the outrage that he and a whole lot of other GOP politicians are fighting above-board to eliminate the legality of abortion while also somewhat-surreptitiously doing everything they can to make access to abortion impossible, even if it is legal? 

That should be the real story here: That Paul Ryan says there should be no access to abortion. That Michele Bachmann [probably] doesn’t support access to abortion in cases of rape and incest. That Mitt Romney wants a “personhood amendment” that would declare a fertilized ovum a “person”, thus not only outlawing abortion but many kinds of birth control. That a whole host of other GOP candidates, and serving politicians, at various levels of government don’t believe in access to abortion under any circumstances. That the GOP platform says there should be no access to abortion. That 30 GOP senators would vote against a bill saying that the government shouldn’t hire companies that don’t allow their employees the option of legal charges if they are raped. That Mississippi is doing everything in its power to make abortion impossible, while pretending that this in no way contravenes the intent of Roe v. Wade. And that’s just what I can recall off the top of my head, without doing any digging. 

So, please, stop wasting so much effort debunking the already-debunked, already-retracted claims of biological defenses against rape babies. Focus on the fact that, absent that reasoning (which just about every GOP candidate who has said anything on the issue has attacked), abortion foes have to confront the fact that they are supporting forcing a raped woman to carry the baby to term. Or focus on the broader issue that many of them are fighting mightily to stop abortion while not doing anything to deal with the consequences or causes of unwanted pregnancy (or doing things that will increase the likelihood). Or focus on the hypocrisy of being against government intervention but against freedom of choice when it comes to abortion.

Or, if you absolutely must raise the topic of rape-sperm intrusion countermeasures, talk about how Mitt Romney may have decried Akin’s comment, but has not disavowed the source of that “information”, who has met with Romney during this election season, nor actually disagreed with the GOP platform that he is nominally representing. 

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