Todd Akin is no quitter. In the face of calls for his resignation from Republican leaders across the country, Akin announced yesterday that he would stay in the race for Missouri’s Senate seat. Who can blame him? Polls show him winning, and he is in lock step with his party, which yesterday approved a constitutional amendment to ban abortions with no exceptions and to apply 14th-Amendment protections to a fetus. Meanwhile, Akin told Mike Huckabee that he was being pummeled for “one word and one sentence on one day.”
The word that seems to stick in everybody’s craw is “legitimate.” The word that should is “rape.”
These guys talk about rape like it was like falling off a bicycle or getting a bloody nose. You know, stuff happens. And, occasionally a little miracle is the result. The great fear is that women will feign rape to get access to abortion services, but the gatekeepers are too vigilant for that.
Rape is an instrument of violence, of torture, of war. During the war in Bosnia, the UN Commission concluded, rape served “a political purpose – to intimidate, humiliate, and degrade [a woman] and others affected by her suffering.” It was also a tool for “ethnic cleansing,” and Bosnian Muslim women raped by Serbs were often forced to carry their pregnancies to term and give birth to “little Chetniks.”
Todd Akin is not some distraction from the real issues of this election. Wrapped in the false rhetoric of the sanctity of life, he represents a worldview that is as dangerous as it is repugnant.