The news today has been dominated by discussion of the shocking and offensive comments made over the weekend by Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO). Akin, who is also currently the Republican candidate for the Senate in the Show Me State, explained that victims of “legitimate rapes” are not likely to become pregnant and thus should not enjoy abortion rights:
“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.”
For the record, more than 32,000 women get pregnant because of rape each year in America.
While Akin walked back and later apologized for his comments, condemnation from both Democrats and Republicans alike was swift and fierce. And today, virtually every leading Republican with the exception of Mitt Romney declared that Akin should drop his Senate bid. Due to Missouri election law and Akin’s own declarations today, it appears that Akin is very likely to remain the GOP candidate despite financial abandonment from Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Akin did find some defenders among influential conservative groups, including the American Family Association, Red State’s Erick Erickson (who is also a CNN contributor), Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, and the Susan B. Anthony List.
The Anti-Woman Ticket
What’s perhaps even more shocking than Akin’s comments is the fact that a majority of elected Republicans appear to share his general views on parsing the definition of what counts as rape and what doesn’t, as well as his radical views on numerous other vital women’s health issues.
None other than vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R-WI) has teamed up with Akin on a personhood measure that would ban abortion in all circumstances as well as outlaw common forms of birth control, a bill to redefine rape, and even a bill that would allow hospitals to let women die rather than perform a life-saving abortion. The latter two measures were actually among the first measures passed by the House of Representatives after Republicans took over in 2011.
A closer look at the views of the Romney-Ryan ticket reveals the depths of its hostility toward women’s issues:
- In 2007, Mitt Romney said he would “delighted” to sign a national ban on abortion, which he described as “wonderful” and terrific.”
- Both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have supported radical personhood measures that would ban abortion in all circumstances, as well as outlaw common forms of birth control and in vitro fertilization.
- They both also support the Human Life Amendment, which would overturn Roe v. Wade.The Republican National Committee will actually vote tomorrow on including this particular anti-choice measure in the official GOP platform.
- Ryan has voted to defund Planned Parenthood and end the Title X family planning program and Mitt Romney has pledge to “get rid of” federal funding for Planned Parenthood and Title X should he be elected president.
- Both oppose requiring insurers to offer no-cost birth control coverage and they supported the Blunt Amendment, which would allow your boss to deny you insurance coverage for anything for any reason at all.
- Both would repeal the Affordable Care Act (as Ryan has actually voted to do dozens of times) and its numerous benefits for women.
- Ryan voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act, while Romney has refused to take positions on these key pieces of equal pay legislation.
BOTTOM LINE: The GOP’s war on women runs far deeper than Todd Akin’s shocking comments. By selecting Paul Ryan as his running mate, Mitt Romney has made clear that he sides with the GOP’s most extreme forces on the social issues important to women and their families.
Evening Brief: Important Stories That You May Have Missed
President Obama: “Rape is rape.”
Women protest Rep. Dennis Rehberg (R-MT), who is running for the Senate, over his plan to defund Planned Parenthood.
Top adviser to Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R): we shouldn’t make it easier for African-Americans to vote.
Karl Rove wouldn’t condemn Akin’s comments.
Akin’s spiritual mentor: women sometimes invite rape.
Progress at the Augusta National?
A group of congressmen and their staffs went wild on a recent trip to Israel.
Mitt Romney sidestepped a student’s question about the mounting student debt crisis.
The newspaper Romney cited in a new false ad about welfare actually debunked his claims.