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Buffoon of the Week: I Nominate Todd Akin

When the Republican Congressman said victims of ‘legitimate rape’ don’t get pregnant, he did more than make a political gaffe—he earned the title of Ignorant Misogynist.

Just when you think congressional reputation couldn’t get any lower, along comes Republican Congressman Todd Akin. This legislative ‘genius’—who has been sent to Washington six times by a segment of the electorate from Missouri, and is now running for Senator in that state—made the following statement during an interview with a local FOX television news station:   

“It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape is] really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Where do we even begin?!

At the bare minimum, I’m sure I don’t have to explain that, No, the female reproductive anatomy can’t distinguish between forced or consensual intercourse when it comes to conception. Just think how much easier it would be if women who didn’t want to get pregnant could just ‘will’ their bodies to make it go away. Perhaps we should be a wee bit concerned that Rep. Akin sits on the House Science Committee.

In real life, rape actually does result in unwanted pregnancy with “significant frequency.” It’s estimated that more than 32,000 rape-related pregnancies occur each year (which is likely a low estimate, given that rape is often underreported). That was the conclusion from actual scientists and doctors, according to study findings they published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology: 

“Rape-related pregnancy is a cause of many unwanted pregnancies and is closely linked with family and domestic violence.”

Which leads us to the most reprehensible part of Akin’s statement: using the word legitimate to describe rape. Is he suggesting that some rapes are not legitimate, that the woman somehow really wanted or invited the sexual assault to happen? Perhaps Akin believes there are situations where a woman doesn’t really have the right to say “No.” Is rape only ‘legitimate’ when the victim doesn’t know her attacker? Maybe, for Akin, ‘No Means No,’ except when it doesn’t.

Sure, this is a guy who’s got the best intentions for women’s health. Riiiiight.

Of course, Akin just continued on with the theme of marginalizing the woman whose body has already been abused and assaulted without her consent. In the same interview, he said that even if those ‘natural’ anatomical defenses against unwanted pregnancy somehow fail, abortion should not be a legal option for the rape victim.

“But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work, or something,” Akin said. “I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”

The woman—the actual victim—doesn’t even figure into the equation, according to this champion of how women’s bodies should be regarded. Perhaps Akin believes she should get punished too.

Even though Akin later tried to backtrack somewhat by saying he ‘misspoke,’ it was too late to get that pig back in the barn.

But with the hot glare of media spotlight suddenly shining on the Congressman, it became even clearer that the pig has been out of the barn and rolling in the mud of misogyny for a while.

Early in his political career, Akin questioned an anti-marital-law in Missouri, concerned it might be used by women to "beat up on husbands" in messy divorces. Akin was also a co-sponsor on a 2011 bill in Congress that restricted federal funds for abortions to victims of ‘forcible’ rape, a bill often referred to as the “let Women Die” bill. Seems we’re back to the era of blame the victim:  She was asking for it! It’s her fault, look at how she was dressed! Husbands don’t rape their wives—they’re supposed to have sex. Limited mental ability? 19-year-old victim of incest? Sorry, you’re out of luck.

I like the suggestion made by one writer, that public officials who draft legislation on women’s health be required to first take—and pass—a course in female biology. Perhaps they should also be required to have a vagina.

Of course I know that that last suggestion isn’t the way our government works. Legislators quite frequently have to consider laws about segments of the population from which they differ. However, as a woman, it’s infuriating to think that members of our government want to legislate my control over what happens to my body. Forced vaginal ultrasounds, pregnancy prevention, women’s health coverage—these are all reasonable topics up for discussion and limitation, according to some up on Capitol Hill.

Akin may have stepped waaaaay over the line with this latest ‘mis-speaking’—thankfully, he’s been slammed by people on all sides of the political spectrum, including even the Romney-Ryan team. Campaign spokesperson Andrea Saul released a statement on Sunday:  “Gov. Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape.” (What’s interesting is that this differs from past positions that Ryan has previously taken with regard to abortion, birth control and women’s health, even in cases of rape or incest. He even co-sponsored that “forcible rape” law with Akin last year.)

Akin is not alone with his beliefs, and errors like this have the GOP worried their hopes of reclaiming the Senate are getting slimmer. One can only hope that at least the seat Akin is vying for will stay handily in possession of the current occupant, a Democratic Senator—who just happens to be a woman.

So Missouri, you’re the “Show Me State.” On behalf of all women, I’d like to ask you to show Rep. Akin, Patch In’s “Buffoon of the Week” one more thing—the door. 

Rosemary C. August 21, 2012 at 05:16 PM
To even attempt to compare the comments of Akin to anything that Biden or Obama has ever said is ridulous at the very least and just proves that the rightwing has no use for women, minorities, the poor, disabled and gays. Very ignorant comments Liam and Sue.
Liam Heller August 21, 2012 at 05:39 PM
I don't judge a person by their words. I judge someone by their actions... http://youtu.be/4KGlBHyVeYU
Liam Heller August 21, 2012 at 05:43 PM
A stupidly worded statement IS far less damaging than certain actions... http://youtu.be/8PgzLOTVXbg
Liam Heller August 21, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Are you aware: 1. Obama's bombed 6 different countries while in office. 2. He's assassinated an American citizen 3. He signed a bill that allows indefinite detentions of an American citizen without trial (NDAA) 4. He's reauthorized the Patriot Act 5. He doubled the deficit, even higher than his predecessor 6. He's responsible for giving guns to Mexican drug lords 7. He killed innocent people with hundreds of drone strikes 8. Passed executive orders to skirt around written laws 9. He continues to break every promise he's ever made while campaigning and while currently in office... And you don't protest HIM?
Rosemary C. August 21, 2012 at 06:29 PM
A far more successfull president than either of the Bushes and will win relection easily. Funny how the right never wants to talk about W. It is like he never even existed in their eyes.
Clare August 21, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Liam, you need to pull your barko lounger closer to your TV so you don't miss any more Fox "News". BTW, you can take all of those things and change the name "Obama" to "Bush".....it works just fine.
Clare August 21, 2012 at 06:35 PM
BTW, if you bothered to read anything you will see that Atkin IS the republican party of today. The sad, little repbublican party of today.
Clare August 21, 2012 at 06:36 PM
So...the teabubbas want to throw Akin under Romney's Canadian manufactured bus. But Ryan believes exactly the same thing as Akin does. When are they going to throw that putz under Romney's Canadian manufactured bus?
Liam Heller August 21, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Clare ~ You're right. Bush sucked too. I never said that he didn't and don't assume I meant it. Don't ever assume that when someone is against one guy, that they're automatically for the opposition that the media highlights as their only contender. I haven't seen a "president" worthy of their job, within my lifetime. And Obama is by FAR, the worst.
Liam Heller August 21, 2012 at 07:00 PM
And I'm aware of that, thank you. Very astute of you to point that out to me. I don't actually see why you'd think I didn't, but that's irrelevant.
Liam Heller August 21, 2012 at 07:05 PM
I'd love to talk about how much of a puppet Bush was. I'll join you. Just realize that you're attacking someone who's only made a comment. And as bad as it was (and it truly is), it's still farl less significant than the damage Obama's done in less than four years. I don't think you'll find ANYONE (myself included), who's actually defending this Akin guy. No one knows the guy well enough to do so. I'm merely pointing out that you should probably also throw some stones at your messiah (Obama), if you feel so justified to in being so uppity about morality.
Liam Heller August 21, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Oh, and for the record... I cancelled my paid subscription television plan with Direct TV, YEEEEEEAAAAARRRS ago. I don't listen to CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, etc, etc, etc. Obviously you do, since you're aware of the conservative, biased values that Murdoch pushes on his stations. Yet you're obviously oblivious to the very equally liberally biased views on most others. It's easy to fall into that trap, isn't it? I got out of it LONG ago, and now... I think all the better for it. Republicans and democrats are all the same. The only difference between them, is what they do with our money after they steal it.
Clare August 21, 2012 at 07:35 PM
So sad that the once proud Party of Lincoln is now the Party of Bachmann. And that the vp candidate stood on the floor and congress in 2002 and said the following: “What we're trying to accomplish here is the recognition of the fact that in recessions, unemployment lags on well after a recovery has taken place. We have a lot of laid-off workers, and more layoffs are occurring. And we know, as a historical fact, that even if our economy begins to slowly recover, unemployment is going to linger on and on well after that recovery takes place.” If the Party of Bachmann hadn't sold their souls for the purpose of making Obama "a one term president" as good old Mitch McConnell said we might actually being out of the recession or close to it by now. I don't have to watch liberal TV to know the truth that Obama is not totally responsible for this recession. Bush and the Party of Bachmann must take a lion share of that. They think we haven't seen what they've done these past three years but we do and we're not as dumb and the far right.
Rosemary C. August 21, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Well said Clare. Ryan also voted for TARP, two wars and Bush's drug plan. A little late to be calling himself a fiscal conservative.
Liam Heller August 21, 2012 at 08:05 PM
And yes, you're right... Bush shares in the "blame" for our economics problem, no doubt. But before you go blaming the majority of it on him (which seems the case) , you should probably talk to a financial analyst who'll confess to you that our economic woes started as soon as the Clintons took office. (Yes, plural) The bull market and real estate boom, along with Alan Greenspan's actions in the federal reserve, the cost basis of the America Dollar being driven off OPECs per barrel cost and how they tried to get as much money flowing THROUGH our economy (instead of WITHIN it), by also trying to offset the effects of Reaganomics, is what got the ball rolling and where things started to plummet. Yeah, Bush chose to attack a country that had NOTHING to do with the supposed "War on Terror" and HE got the ball rolling towards the expense of BILLIONS of our tax-dollars in fighting illegally declared wars. But simply by borrowing money from China (which is what funded the war in Iraq). It certainly didn't cause our economy to shatter like so many think. Again... I'm NOT defending Bush. He's no more or less of a puppet than Obama is. But he's NOT the only one to blame. It goes beyond him... http://youtu.be/LfascZSTU4o
Liam Heller August 21, 2012 at 08:09 PM
The Clintons knew what they were doing and they WERE warned to slow things down, before they got uncontrollable. And they didn't. And then little Bush got involved and then the debt skyrocketed and then Obama made it even worse by bailing out the banks, continuing the war and raising the debt ceiling, etc. And please see that I'm not pointing the finger at Obama, exclusively. I'm capable of seeing that he's no solely to blame too. But it also wasn't solely Bush either.
Rosemary C. August 21, 2012 at 08:32 PM
At the end of the day, what is important to the average American, peace and prosperity. That defines the Clinton years. Everyone did well. Probably the most successfull presidency of at least the last 50 years. We had budget surpluses.
Rosemary C. August 21, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Big Family, like Akin, you don't understand what you say is wrong. Ignorance is bliss I guess.
Big Family August 21, 2012 at 09:14 PM
I am wrong to say that woman on the right are fair game for any sophomoric attack by "Comedians" "left wing media" or the N.O.W. If ignorance is bliss, you must be very happy I guess.
Alex Tytler August 22, 2012 at 12:50 AM
Usualy you can't call people stupid on this site.
Clare August 22, 2012 at 12:56 AM
Sorry.....lol.....maybe not quite understanding?
Big Family August 22, 2012 at 01:16 AM
Christine? A little help here, I called someone nuts (it may have been Clare)and I was deleted so what's the deal? I'm fine with it because if that's the best she has she lost, but where are your standards Christine?
Christine Rose (Editor) August 22, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Thank you. I am on vacation, but I am checking in. Please send Gary or myself an email when there is an obvious violation of the terms of service. Thanks!!
Sam Mihailoff August 22, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Editors choice... buffoon not only acceptable, but title material..."nuts" subject to deletion “I just love Patch”, and I am nuts to even type that...I would be a buffoon to believe it.
Alex Tytler August 22, 2012 at 10:43 AM
Liam, After you get stalked by some creepy patch reader, you might change your mind on that. Your name is uniqe enough to make you and hence and your family an easy target. So was mine.
JED August 23, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Liam: You raise some good points. Below is "Obama's" speech that you referenced. I believe you misunderstood the President or received a distorted version. Peace "There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me, because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t -look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something – there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business. you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires."
Clare August 23, 2012 at 10:35 PM
I judge people by their words. You word SHOULD be your bond except in the right wing on the republican party.
Clare August 23, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Oh stop with the alias crap.
Clare August 23, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Judy, republicans know darn well what Obama said. They just love to pretend they don't
Clare August 23, 2012 at 10:49 PM
BTW, what I said that got deleted (because I used the word stupid) is that the really BIG thing about Akin's comment isn't his amazing stupidity about women's anatomy or his extreme right wing beliefs on abortion. It's that the big guns in the republican party are freaking out because he will lose the Senate seat to Claire McCaskill and ruin Karl Roves' dream of a majority in the House and Senate. The republicans don't care about women. They only care about about taking over the government so they can push their crazy agenda. Face it, how many job bills did they try to pass compared to the number of bills that tried to limit women and their rights? They are nuts. The right wing has taken over the republican party and what Akin said isn't far removed from what they all think including Paul Ryan.

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