Monday, August 20, 2012

Rep. Todd Akin and The Case for "Legitimate Rape"

Usually I follow the blogging principle of letting foolery stay in the realm of fools. But when foolery is spewed from the mouth of an elected official I feel it is my duty to let that fool don the word laced cuckold he deserves.

That he being Missouri Representative Todd Akin who had the nerve to go on live TV and discuss his hard line anti-abortion stance in relation to women's anatomy.

"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. You know I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child."

I don't have a problem with Representative Todd Akin being anti-abortion. I am only slightly annoyed by his hardline stance being against abortion in the case of rape and presumably incest since those exceptions typically go hand in hand for Republicans. What disturbs me to no end is somewhere in his mind he believes there is such a thing as illegitimate rape. The kind of sexual assault that does not count because the woman by very nature of being woman is at fault.

The illegitimate rapes that happen because of what the woman was wearing, or how she was dancing, or how high her booty was tooted up in her favorite pair of skinnys, or where she was walking late at night, or what she was drinking to just to have a good time. In these cases rape must be illegitimate because the woman was asking for it.

However, I highly doubt Representative Todd Akin would make the argument Jerry Sandusky's victims were asking to be assaulted by loving football, hanging around a locker room or charitable organization, and looking angelic, forever young; incarnations of Peter Pan if you will.

Representative Todd Akin and by extension no man in Congress would make the argument Jerry Sandusky's victims deserved to be assaulted and the results of said assault they must deal with for the rest of their days instead of seeking help. Yet this argument has been easily made not only by Akin, but by the general Republican body who believe so fully in the condition of life they rather sacrifice the mental and emotional health of one person's life for the safe arrival of a newborn.

Men are never subjected to the microaggressions women endure that at times can lead to sexual assault or rape. For Representative Todd Akin to illegitimize any type of violent sexual act against a woman for any reason, let alone for reasons motivated by politics, makes one wonder what he would urge if one of his female loved ones was raped and turned up pregnant.

Maybe he'd just offer consolation since Representative Todd Akin happens to know in cases of a "legitimate" rape a woman's body shuts down and refuses to produce a viable pregnancy on the sheer will the circumstances of said pregnancy were rape. Because Representative Todd Akin is a man he knows better than women how women's bodies work because of course he's allowed his phallic symbol of power to drink from the well of life. Representative Todd Akin in his omniscent capacity knows ovulation stops in the case of legitimate rape. In cases of legitimate rape Representative Todd Akin knows sperm dies at vaginal entry and does not swim to an awaiting egg because that egg is repelling the force of the rapist because the rape is legitimate. Representative Todd Akin knows in a legitimate rape a woman's body will reject the abomination baby. But only in cases of legitimate rape.

I am disgusted a man with a wife and six children, among them girls, believes in his bones rape can be categorized and substantiated. Representative Todd Akin's remarks are a tiny blip on the abortion rights radar when at the heart of his statement he is demonizing a certain group of women for abuse they never invited.

Earlier this year women across the country acrimoniously erupted when the Catholic Church and Catholic institutions such as hospitals and universities dared complain about having to offer birth control under certain insurance plans. The discussion on contraception then led to a discussion of abortion already making headlines when the Susan G. Komen foundation misguidedly decided to stop funding Planned Parenthood because the clinic for women at some locations performs abortions; as if all medically trained doctors don't know how to vacuum a baby and scrape a womb.

The demonic picture I've painted for you in that last sentence is the way women have been treated in this country since 2010 when the Tea Party took over and decided the only social issues the government should regulate are the ones they are vehemently against. The issues of contraception, abortion, sexual health, reproductive rights and apparently even rape are open to debate, discussion and potential reform. Stories like that of Sandra Fluke, the unassuming mascot for women on the rag(e) don't move our Congressman to empathy for women. Instead they are moved to act against the wills of their own wives and daughters.

Democrats capitalized on The War on Women but the pithy phrase demeaned the real concerns and the rhetoric was no longer recognized. Instead we had a hyperbolically glib argument over issues many fail to realize are relevant to the future of women's health and by disparate extension women in the workforce.

Agents for President Obama continue to send emails about what's at stake for women in this election in an effort to hold on to their lead amongst women in the polls. The most recent email from an Organizing for America staffer declares in bold bullet points how a Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan administration would limit women's sexual health. Bloggers have no shortage of paragraphs to expend on the subject, myself included. Planned Parenthood is campaigning on its own bus tour asking women to stand up for themselves and to their government. And in its summer recess our government in the form of a Missouri Representative has managed to insert foot into mouth, and head into ass on the subject of sexual assault, reproduction, and women's health.

Apparently Representative Todd Akin missed sex ed in grammar school and anatomy in high school. If you like Akin also missed those classes here is a brief explainer. Women's bodies simply do not by sheer will stop the reproductive process no matter what stage it is in. Therefore if a woman is raped and she is ovulating she can get pregnant. That's just the way the body works. As for what a woman does after she becomes pregnant, no matter the circumstances, is now between her, her partner, and the government; local, state and federal, where some members are hell bent on abolishing abortion, criminalizing miscarriage, questioning the practical uses of birth control, and limiting access to general health care because by some chance a woman may walk in carrying a life she does not desire and walk out rendering a decision she will live with for the rest of her life.

In the case of rape (there is only one kind and it is always legitimate), accidental or planned pregnancy a woman should be able to make the decision she deems best without anyone: neighbor, naysayer or U.S. Representative, demonizing the decision on slip shod science.


1. What is "legitimate" rape?
2. Is the life of a mother less important than the life of a fetus?
3. With ideas like Akin's do women have a reasonable right to worry about their reproductive rights?
4. Your own 2 cents. 
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