Akin Gate: A Play-by-Play

Posted by Kait Bolongaro & filed under Politics.

Esther Frid holds "El Atardecer de la Vida," a book she wrote about the stories of seven senior Latin American women living in Canada

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Photo courtesy of csmonitor.com

It’s been a rough week for conservatives in the United States. The Republican Party has been in damage control overdrive after Akin Gate and its ensuing backlash have shot women’s reproductive issues to the forefront of the US political debate. Missouri U.S. Senate Candidate Rep. Todd Akin made some controversial statements on rape.

During an interview with St. Louis’ KTVI, Akin was asked if he would support abortions for women who have been raped. His response: “It seems to me first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Akin said. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

What?

It is hard to believe that these words are coming from the mouth of a six-term congressman who sits on the House Science Committee. He has control over the bodies of millions of women, yet he doesn’t even know how babies are made. Thank God his copy of the sex-ed book Our Bodies, Ourselves was hand delivered on Friday.

Now, it’s time for a slow motion view of this train wreck. “It seems to me…” Akin, you aren’t allowed to have an authoritative opinion on abortion or female reproductive issues. You aren’t a medical professional or a woman. These matters should remain the decision of a woman and her doctors.

“From what I understand from doctors.” Clearly, you skipped Biology 101 and don’t understand reproduction, so I doubt you would understand much about medical science. I am also 100% certain that no medical doctor would support your views on my reproductive organs.

“That’s really rare.” According to a 1996 study by the Medical University of South Carolina, 5 percent of rape victims become pregnant after their assault. Many women have abortions. One rape victim responded to Akin’s comments saying that forcing rape victims to carry resulting pregnancies to term is torture because it is harder to overcome sexual assault when you are constantly reminded of it.

“If it’s a legitimate rape.” There is no such thing as legitimate rape. President Obama agrees. It is rape or not rape. End of discussion.

“The female body has ways to shut the whole thing down.” Does the uterus come equipped with an army of magic scrubbing bubbles that attacks invading enemy sperm after detection, Dr. Akin? If so, what happens when my security systems fails and I am pregnant after being raped? I must not have been ‘legitimately’ raped.

There is no such thing as legitimate rape. Nor do women have magic scrubbing bubbles in their uterus that kill invading “illegitimate” sperm. Akin has no idea what he is talking about. The scariest part is that his views aren’t so unique. Although the Romney-Ryan campaign released a statement reassuring voters that they would allow abortions for rape victims, Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan holds similar views to Akin and can’t be trusted to protect women’s reproductive rights, either.

It is ridiculous that in the self-declared ‘best country in the world’, the war on women’s bodies is still being waged. This new breed of ultra conservative Evangelical Republican is terrifying. Since when has it been OK to support banning abortions for rape victims? This is a huge step backwards for women’s rights and only further discredits the US’s moniker as the best place on earth.

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Kait Bolongaro writes about culture, feminism, and pushing boundaries. She is a Masters student studying Journalism and Media Across Cultures in Denmark. She is a freelance journalist and photographer who is addicted to travelling and developing new stories. To follow her on her journeys, check out her website or follow her on twitter.

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