Blue Byline

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Policy trumps compassion in Akin’s reality

Post by Brian O'Neill on Aug. 21, 2012 at 12:57 pm with 11 Comments »
August 21, 2012 3:42 pm

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” – U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo.

When someone screws up at the cop shop the general notion is that it was his or her turn in the barrel. Left unsaid is whether or not the barrel and its occupant will survive the trip over the falls. Today that is a “legitimate” question for one Todd Akin, a conservative congressman from Missouri.

U.S. Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo)/ TNT file photo

Akin’s scandalous comments (excerpted from Eugene Robinson’s column) are now at the forefront in his bid to unseat Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. His response, more specifically his word choice in answering an interviewer’s question on a local St. Louis television station, has inflamed the left, the right, the center, the fringe and a player to be named later.

I’ll be honest, when my wife first pointed out the story (Trib 8/20), I read Akin’s comments differently. I took his term “legitimate rape” as reference to common state statutes for rape, such as under Washington’s RCW Title 9A.44. These include rape by force, by illegal coercion, or consensual sex either with a minor or mentally disabled individual

These are the “legitimate” parameters to which I assumed Akin was referring. It appears I assumed too much.

The context for his remarks must be considered by a House bill Rep. Todd Akin co-sponsored last year. The bill sought to limit Medicaid abortion funding to incidents of “forcible rape.” Unfortunately, Akin (and the other co-sponsor, Rep. Paul Ryan – yes, that Ryan) chose to define “forcible rape” in such a dehumanizing and limiting manner that any sexual assault outside of Rape 1st degree (and one clause of Rape 2) would apply.

That limitation, along with Akin’s off-handed remarks about “legitimate rape,” is indefensible. If anyone should have any doubts on that point, I only wish you had been a fly on the wall as I took the statements of: a young women drugged into unconsciousness and then raped by several men at a party; the aging mother of a woman with Down’s Syndrome who wept while describing her daughter’s sexual assault by a caregiver over a lengthy period of time; a father whose voice fractured while we spoke outside the hospital room where his juvenile daughter was undergoing a rape exam after he found her having sex with her 40 year old “boyfriend.”

To give Akin the benefit of the doubt, let us suppose that his purpose in drafting last year’s bill was to further a conscientious battle against all abortion. He is a man of principle, one could argue, and that explains his ham-handed attempt to stifle the discussion.

But that stance does not mitigate all. Not only did the congressman throw science out the window – unless there is an unpublished study, hidden from the masses, that demonstrates a woman’s ability to mentally terminate an unwanted pregnancy – he chose to place political agenda over human compassion. By diminishing the victimization of thousands of women, he has reminded female voters that decisions which only affect them are being made by a small group of men. And some of them just don’t get it.

Since it is no longer safe to assume anything, I would like to offer the following edification for the enlightenment of the congressman from the great state of Missouri: A legitimate rape is any rape as defined by law. No more and no less.

And about that trip in the barrel…I hope Akin knows how to swim.

Leave a comment Comments → 11
  1. The Republican Christian Right are defining themselves.
    The best thing to do is let them.

  2. Chippert says:

    And the Republican foot just keeps getting shoved further into the Republican mouth. Mike Huckabee followed up on Akin’s deplorable remarks by pointing out how many great and famous people, such as Marian Anderson, were the products of a rape, seeming to say that there is a good side of rape. Keep talking, reds. You’ll manage to alienate almost everyone yet.

  3. reformedliberal says:

    Akin’s choice of words was abominable, on that we can all agree. Everything beyond that is simply partisan opportunism, and dishonest. It is an ‘inconvenient truth’ that there is, in fact, some science (maybe current, maybe not) that supports what Akin was trying to say.

    But of course that won’t stop cynical partisans from pushing all of the emotional buttons, and Brian punched every one of them.

  4. Chippert says:

    reformedliberal: can you cite links to that “inconvenient truth”? Surely with the search engines we have today you can find supporting documentation!

  5. Brian O'Neill says:

    Reformed liberal – You are trying way too hard to be offended. This column was an apolitical viewpoint on abominable word choice. If you want to see partisan jabs where there are none, that is your choice.

  6. BlaineCGarver says:

    Brian, some people feel obligated to attend every fight they imagine they are invited to….I will say this, when Lefties commit a gaffe, they all stick together, and laugh it off. At least conservatives booted this moron in the butt, and I believe RNC has withdrawn support.

  7. Brian O'Neill says:

    I agree. Akin’s harshest critics seem to be other conservatives also running for office. That speaks volumes.

  8. I’m trying to figure out why abortion is even a political issue. What a woman does with her reproductive system is her business and her business alone. It is NOT the business of a bunch of stupid men who seem to think they should have a say. Better we women get together and lobby to ban both vasectomies and condoms. Oh, and let’s ban the sale of all “male enhancement drugs and apparatus too.” Yeah, guys, I know about those pumps and slings and attachments. Hard to pick up a magazine or watch TV without seeing an ad for how you guys can “get it on” bigger, harder and for longer. This entire debate makes men look foolish, ridiculous, and Akin is just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s start talking about real issues – like how we are going to feed and educate our children.
    But I DO congratulate Brian O’Neill for at least talking about Akin in the TNT. The rest of the editorial staff, including the women, have been disgustingly silent.

  9. NotPoliticallyCorrect says:

    I’m trying to figure out why abortion is even a political issue. What a woman does with her reproductive system is her business and her business alone. It is NOT the business of a bunch of stupid men who seem to think they should have a say.


    I have to say I strongly agree with you. Abortion should not be a political issue. I also agree with all the other things you mentioned for guys.

    The Government should stay out of the bedroom, Nor should they pay for what goes on or the result of what goes on in the bedroom.

    In the case of rape, I would support whatever means to help a woman, who has been a victim.

  10. some science (maybe current, maybe not)

    Well gee….there is “some science” that says that the world is flat and the center of the universe.

  11. when Lefties commit a gaffe

    what was the “gaffe” committed by Akin? Saying what is the real rationale behind the GOP Platform plank against ALL abortion including cases of incest and rape?

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