The GOP, Todd Akin, and Abortion

By:  Jack Kerwick, Ph.D.
The GOP, Todd Akin, and Abortion

On Sunday, August 19, Republican Senate candidate from Missouri, Todd Akin, embroiled himself in a world of national controversy. Dr. Kerwick provides an analysis of Republicans' reaction to Todd Akin's remarks on rape and abortion.

On Sunday, August 19, Republican Senate candidate from Missouri, Todd Akin, embroiled himself in a world of national controversy.

During an interview with KTVI-TV in St. Louis, Akin expressed his unqualified opposition to abortion when he was asked about its moral standing in those circumstances when a woman conceives as a consequence of having been raped. “From what I understand from doctors,” he began, pregnancy is “really rare” in such a situation. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing [conception] down.”

Presumably, Akin opposes abortion even in the event of rape, but sought to avoid saying as much by suggesting that pregnancies rarely result from “legitimate rape.” In other words, this is an issue to which he need not speak because, ultimately, it is a non-issue.

Since then, both Democrats and Republicans have pummeled Akin for his comments. Yet interestingly, it isn’t, apparently, his unconditional rejection of abortion upon which his critics have their sights set. It is Akin’s use of language — i.e. “legitimate rape” — and biological ignorance that are their targets.

Not unsurprisingly, President Obama didn’t waste the opportunity to seize upon his political opponents. “Rape is rape,” he bluntly declared.

Cecile Richards, president of the pro-abortion Planned Parenthood Federation of America, stated: “I am constantly amazed at the lack of understanding not only of folks running for office, but in office, about women’s reproductive health.” She continued: “The statement by Mr. Akin, I think is politics at its worst, ignoring basic medicine and science in pursuit of some political ideology.”

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Photo: In this Aug. 16, 2012 photograph, Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) and his wife Lulli, talk with reporters while attending the Governor's Ham Breakfast at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia , Mo.: AP Images

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