I’m dreading election season. It’s only August, but I’ve already had more than enough of the negative political ads, even as I know that there are more—many, many more—to come. The lack of decency and respect…the easy disregard for facts, both overwhelm and dishearten me. But then there are days, like today, when I find I can still be shocked—even frightened by a candidate. I’m talking about Republican U.S. Senate nominee Todd Akin. During an interview on KTVI, the St. Louis Fox affiliate yesterday; Mr. Aiken was asked about his opposition to abortion rights, even in the case of rape. His response, as reported in today’s St. Louis Post Dispatch:
“”First of all, from what I understand from doctors, (pregnancy) is really rare” in rape cases, Akin said. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” He added: “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 on the rapist and not attacking the child.”
Where to begin? With his poor grasp of anatomy and physiology? His disregard for the brutality and psychological trauma a woman endures during a rape…and the effects that continue—sometimes for years—afterward? Or his covert suggestion that women participate in these violations through his designation of “legitimate rape” as opposed to…. what? Added to the horror of the rape itself, Mr. Aiken would have a victim—assuming her body doesn’t “shut the whole thing down”— forced to carry the product of a rape to term. Chilling stuff. Even more so when I learned that Mr. Ryan (Mitt Romney’s running mate) was among some 200 Conservatives who also supported “legitimate rape” language in their anti-abortion efforts. Sounds a lot like 1950—or 1850 for that matter. Or is it more ominous still, with our species slowly marching back into the sea?
You can read an online version of the Post-Dispatch article below.