What does it take?
A Republican politician says something incredibly stupid. “So what’s the big deal?” you might ask. “This is the party of Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, and Newt ‘The Moon Colonizer’ Gingrich: they are ALWAYS saying something stupid.
Well this time it was something so stupid it pissed off women everywhere and any man who wants those women to vote for him so he can get elected to office.
“Wow,” you’re probably thinking, “it must be really bad.”
You would be right.
Representative Todd Akin, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Missouri, and a six-term member of Congress beloved by Tea Party conservatives, was making it clear that rape victims can’t get pregnant:
“It seems to me, 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.”
Yes, I know what you’re thinking: “Wait a minute, this man with his hocus-pocus-witch-doctor-medieval-flat-earth-society belief system is on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology?” How did that happen? Next you’ll tell me that Michelle Bachmann is on the House Committee on Intelligence!” (Ummm. Yes. She is.)
Akin’s remark sent the Republican Party into a tizzy because, despite their best attempts to restrict voting rights to property-owning white males, women can still cast a ballot.
So they immediately all ran to the other side of the room because Akin was now covered in female voter cooties. Even Ron “I married money than used it to buy this neat Senate seat” Johnson (R-Senator WI) knew better: “Todd Akin’s statements are reprehensible and inexcusable and yet one more reason why we need to repeal Obamacare. Because free birth control is easy to get. Just google it.”
Republicans with a little more brains than Ron phrased it a little differently. “After his controversial comments on rape and pregnancy threatened the [Republican] party with widespread political harm,” Mitt Romney announced that “ ‘Congressman Akin’s comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable and, frankly, wrong.’ ” Because although they all agree with Akin, they have enough sense not to say that stuff in public.
How do we know this? Because they keep saying it in Washington not realizing that we can still hear them. For example, the “personhood” bill (co-sponsored by Akin and newly-anointed Republican V.P. candidate Paul Ryan), AKA the “Sanctity of Life Act,” which pronounced that “human life shall be deemed to begin with fertilization.” In other words: if you get pregnant after being raped (legitimate or otherwise) you have to have the baby.
Because, according to Ryan, Akin, and scores of rich, white, conservative men, a zygote is a person. And a corporation is a person. And both the zygote and the corporation are more important persons than women, because they both should be allowed to dictate women’s reproductive choices.
Because Akin was really saying that: 1) women don’t get pregnant if it’s a “real” rape, because their bodies have a natural rape-sperm repellent and 2) if it’s only an alleged rape (she really did consent but changed her mind the next morning which all male Republicans know is 99% of rape accusations) she can get pregnant, but either way she should never be allowed to get an abortion.
His core supporters at the American Family Association and the Family Research Council (staunch defenders of family values like the right to force women to bear unwanted children) stand by Akin, agreeing that he’s absolutely right.
Because it’s not really rape unless a crazed stranger with a gun drags you into some bushes and beats you senseless. And if you get pregnant that’s proof you weren’t raped and therefore you should live with the consequences of your irresponsible choices whether you’re 10 years old and weren’t really raped by your uncle or got your date too excited because you really shouldn’t have dressed that way if you didn’t want sex or were drugged or were just threatened and not violently forced to have sex against your will.
And the people of Missouri appear to agree. A new poll shows Akin still has an edge over the Democratic incumbent in the Senate race.