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Monday, August 20, 2012

Response to Todd Akin

Full disclosure.  I hate abortion.  I will never get one.  I'm a man.  I'm married to a woman.  She hates abortion and says she will never get one.  I was snipped a year or so ago, so it isn't a concern with us.  We have daughters.  We (I, more than my wife) want the option open in case of rape or health of the mother.  Really, I am against the whole notion of outlawing abortion.  I don't like the politics around it.  It's all about controlling another person's life, mostly for religious reasons.

But I don't like writing about abortion.  I don't really care about it.  I like to write about women.  And Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin has riled my feathers.

First of all, as everyone who watches or reads the news now knows, Akin claimed that women can have two types of rape - legitimate and illegitimate.  He didn't specifically state that, but he did specifically say "legitimate rape", which leads anyone to conclude the dichotomous "other".

He then goes on to say that a woman that is legitimately raped has certain bodily mechanisms that naturally abort the baby or prevent a woman from even getting pregnant at all.  While this may be true (no study has shown this to be the case yet), it is actually quite a meaningless position to hold.  It makes no difference.  In fact, it muddies the waters and even sets a dangerous precedence.

Let's say a woman is raped and gets pregnant.  If we listen to Akin, we can assume two things:

1. The rape was not a legitimate rape and she willingly allowed it to happen, thus causing her body's natural aborting abilities to not work their magic.  She must have the child.


2. She deserves the baby because God's natural plan was that she must carry the vile sperm to fruition.  She must have the child.


The problem goes even deeper.  As much as Akin may say he cares for life, he really doesn't give a flying crap about women or children after they're born.  Look at his other policies that he supports, being on the GOP ticket.  If that woman's baby, that he forced her to have, does come to full term, he is perfectly willing to deny that woman and the child the services necessary in life, provided by a far-reaching and capable national and state government.  No, they must strike out on their own and live a life with no assistance in the GOP utopia.

"But, by GOD!  We'll never let them choose to NOT have a child!  They HAVE to have the baby and then enjoy the consequences of their decisions!"


But wait...the woman didn't decide to get raped.  She just got raped.  Oh wait...oops.  Do you see it now?  Their body didn't abort the child so the physiological decision was decided FOR her and she now has to live with her "decision".


I hope Todd Akin loses.  We don't need his kind in government.  We need people who care for people - all people.

11 comments:

  1. I am old enough to remember when Roe V Wade was decided. There wasn't a huge rush of women to clinics, but there was a collective sigh of release. I think it's an option that has to be there, I don't judge a person by their choice because it's none of my business.

    I think Akins is a fool. A huge buffoon. I think the war on women should be shouted far and wide and women have to wake up to see that these policies perhaps won't affect those of us who are a certain age, but they will affect our daughters and grand daughters. I don't want to see this country dissolve into the theocratic state depicted in The Handmaids Tale. Yet it seems every time I turn around, another mouthpiece is for cutting services that have been in place for more than 40 years.

    YMMV.

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  2. I used to volunteer at one of the church sponsored anti abortion clinics and the stats that crossed my desk indicated that under legal abortion there were far fewer abortions happening. Even the 1930s when it was illegal had more abortions. That alone tells me that the decision is something that should be up to the individual regardless of my own personal opinion on abortion.

    Looking at Atkins and his idiot statement I hope there is such a thing as reincarnation and his next life he is poor, female and in a place where rape is common place. Saying that 'real' rape victims will not get pregnant is just another way to demonize women who've been innocent victims of a violent sexual assault. The Slutification of American Woman by the GOP

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  3. The GOP: worrying about your welfare until you're out of the womb. After that, you're on your own, kid.

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  4. I live in Missouri and watched Todd Akin during the primary season. Charles Jaco (of the Jaco Report, the local reporter Akin made these comments to) has impressed me with his fairness and impartiality -- it's kind of neat to see this local program I watch in the morning over the air on the national media.

    This is certainly not the first time Mr. Akin stuck his foot in his mouth. Even though having Mr. Akin in the general election strengthens the Democratic candidate Clair Mccaskil's chance of winning, I have to admit being disappointed in my fellow Missourian's who put this man through the primaries, clearly unqualified for the office.

    What we have here, is similar to other districts -- the Tea Party candidate, who is less electable in the general election takes the Republican primary, most famoulsly, Christine "I'm not a witch" McDonnel. We can only hope this Republican fever breaks soon.

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  5. Appeals to conception by rape are a distraction, usually one deliberately made in bad faith; I don't blame anti-abortion people for lashing out at them in kind. If the fetus counts as a person and the permissibility of abortion depends on fetal personhood, it is irrelevant because people are not guilty for the sins of their fathers. If the fetus counts as a person, but abortion is nevertheless permissible because of a woman's sovereign rights over her body, then she has as much right to expel an intruder who was conceived by consensual intercourse or a turkey baster or whatever as one conceived by rape. If the fetus is not a person, then it is obviously fair game for any reason or none at all.

    Abortion aside, Akins' comments are pure rape apologism, and pure magical thinking. Both of these are inexcusable on their own.

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    1. I'm a bit late to the party, but the reason appeals to conception by rape happen for the purpose of making abortion legal/accessible is because of a modification of your second argument. Pro-choice people say that a woman has the right to expel an intruder whom she did not consent to have inside her body. Pro-life people say that because conception is a possible consequence of sex, the woman consented to allow the intruder (fetus) inside her body when she consented to sex. Rape is a problem for people who use this argument because the woman never consented to the sex and thus the possibility of conception.

      Akin is essentially removing this argument from the table by saying that if the woman was really "legitimately" raped, she cannot conceive, thus implying that if a woman becomes pregnant she must have consented to the sex on some level. This is extremely untrue and damaging.

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  6. Quite extraordinary... Mr Akin was not familiar to me, living as I do to the right of the Atlantic (I even had to look up the acronym "GOP"). So I googled him just to see; and yes, he does seem to've made the above claim. This would've represented a major scientific breakthrough had it been true, but apparently he has now recanted, conceding that "I was medically wrong". There are many places a satirist could go with that statement. LOL, as they say.

    If I'm honest, most of us over here assumed that Dubya was a one-off. Clearly, we misunderestimated the Republican party.

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    1. Nick,

      Can you tell me what the rest of the world thought of Dubya? Also, how do they perceive our current prez, Obama?

      I'm really curious to know.

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    2. Well, I can't speak for all of the rest of the world, obviously... but that's nit-picking - I know what you meant! I'll do my best to summarise for the UK.

      I've certainly never known any other American president who was lampooned over here like Dubya. But it goes beyond that; I don't think he was ever really taken seriously. There seemed to be a tacit assumption that he was employed by the Texan oil industry and that it was they who were actually in power. It's almost as though we kind of felt sorry for him. Even the 9/11 conspiracy theorists over here, for instance, blame Dick Cheney. It's probably informative to contrast Dubya's image in the UK with that of Palin - now she comes over as a much nastier piece of work.

      Obama gets a much better press. I think that's because a) he's seen as his own man, rather than a figurehead for powerful vested interests, and b) because his job is seen as being made inherently difficult by a global recession for which nobody really blames him. So he's allowed a kind of steady quota of setbacks, if that makes sense.

      Hope that's useful!

      Nick

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  7. More than welcome! BTW, I should probably say hello, having gatecrashed your blog.

    To be more specific than "UK", I'm an Englishman who's lived in Scotland for the last 23 of my 44 years. For completeness, it's probably worth pointing out - apologies if you already knew this - that Scotland is not in England in the same way that Alaska is not in Texas. My wife and I are also madly in love, though we have only two children. They're bags of fun, mind.

    I found you via Mara Reid's blog; I believe the three of us share a deep love for patriarchal theology and hierarchical, personality-centred church organisations. At the same time, I realise my love of ironic humour is not universal.

    I haven't got my own blog up and running yet, but I'm working on it...

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