Asked whether a woman could legally get an abortion in case she got pregnant from a rape, Republican Todd Akin – a Senatorial candidate for Missouri – gave this humdinger of an answer:
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.
The stupidity is mind-boggling. Let’s break that down.
First of all, pregnancy from rape is no rarer than pregnancy from any other kind of unprotected sex, vanilla or the Christian Grey variety. Atkin goes on to explain why it would be rare.
If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.
I have no idea where this bizarre notion comes from, although I would not necessarily discount fringe religious beliefs as a possible source. As far as I know – and I believe I’m standing on pretty solid ground here – the body has no means of knowing whether it was raped, much less have the ability to refuse to get pregnant if it determines that it was raped. That whole concept sounds more like a mutant superpower to me, than actual medical science.
But Akin’s logic – while resoundingly moronic – is also quite predictable, given his Conservative leaning. Ultimately, he is saying that the preservation of a human life – the baby’s – is more important than the psychological and physical well-being of the victim.
Sad to say, this is essentially the same position adopted by the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines. In this predominantly Catholic country, where even the erroneous belief that abortion is supported by a bill can lead to that bill being stonewalled for close to two decades, any proposed policy or law that seeks to give a woman a choice to terminate a pregnancy arising from rape would be killed within days and its proponents, tarred and feathered. Of course, this doesn’t mean that abortion doesn’t exist in the country. It does, and it probably kills as many desperate mothers as it does fetuses.
This fact alone – that unregulated abortions are fatally carried out despite its illegality – should make the issue of a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy resulting from a rape serious enough to warrant mature discussion and consideration. Political realities however, will ensure that no such discussions will ever take place. Is it any wonder then, that the Reproductive Health Bill is taking forever to pass? The citizens of Missouri are fortunate that Akin opened his mouth and spouted that drivel. At least now, he’s being pressured to quit the race.
Here, at home, we’re not quite so fortunate. We may not have Todd Akin, but we certainly have more than enough of his ideological twins standing in the way of better healthcare for women.