GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin of Missouri created a firestorm early this week by saying that women generally can’t conceive a child as a result of “legitimate rape,” because their reproductive system shuts down automatically due to the trauma. He said he learned this medical information from “doctors.”
In the fallout over his remarks, some mainstream Republican leaders have called on Akin to resign. Most political pundits agree that the GOP cannot regain the Senate in November unless they win the Missouri seat held by incumbent Claire McCaskill. Prior to Akin’s remarks, McCaskill had trailed Akin by about 10 points. But a Public Policy Polling survey on Monday showed Akin ahead by only 1 point.
Although they’re terrified that Akin’s remarks might have cost them that race, the GOP’s official stance on rape and abortion is fundamentally identical to Akin’s. The GOP’s 2012 platform calls for a federal ban on abortion, with no exception for rape and incest survivors – the very policy that Akin was defending when he made his offensive remarks to a St. Louis television host.
Akin joined with Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, R-Wis., in sponsoring last year’s No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act of 2011. That bill stated that insurance should only cover abortion in cases of “forcible rape” – language that echoes Akin’s suggestion that some rape victims are responsible for the violence committed against them or that they enjoy the experience.
Ryan sponsored a federal law that sought to give a fertilized egg the same rights as a living person – the co-called fetal personhood law. That law also sought to outlaw abortion under any circumstances, even when a pregnant woman’s life is at stake.
Ryan plans to headline the “Values Voter Summit” next month, a far-right confab hosted by the American Family Association, which has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Association for spreading inflammatory lies about LGBT people. AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer has been one of Akin’s most vocal supporters in the wake of the recent controversy.
“You talk about a forcible situation, you talk about somebody being a victim of forcible assault, that would be Todd Akin,” Fischer said.
Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, another designated hate group, also leapt to Akin’s defense. When Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., called on Akin to drop out of his Senate race, Perkins threatened: “(Brown) should be careful, because based on some of his statements there may be call for him to get out of his race. He has been off the reservation on a number of Republican issues.”
Perkins is so tight with GOP leadership that he was given the privilege of writing the Republican National Committee’s plank on marriage, which calls for a Constitutional amendment banning marriage equality throughout the nation.
S, while GOP spokespeople scramble to distance themselves from Akin’s remarks, they draw ever cozier with his supporters and continue to aggressively pursue his positions.