Akin just said out loud what fellow Republicans think

Right-wing Missouri Republican U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin stirred up a storm when he said, “From what I understand from doctors, that’s [pregnancy from rape] really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

What? Is Akin saying rape isn’t legitimately rape if the victim gets pregnant? Is he saying the rape must have been consensual if the victim didn’t somehow magically “shut that whole thing down”? Is he saying there are different types of rape? Or that some rape isn’t actually rape? And what doctors did he talk to? Were they real doctors?

According to Webster’s Dictionary, rape is defined as: The act of forcing a person to engage in sexual activity and especially intercourse.

In other words, the very definition of rape implies the use of dehumanizing force, of someone physically forcing the victim to engage in sexual activity against their will. It is a violent sexual act taken by force.

In my book, no is no! There isn’t a legitimate no and an illegitimate no. There’s just no. Rape is rape know matter how you slice and dice it.   

Now it would be one thing if Todd Akin had just said something insensitive and offensive. People say insensitive and offensive things all the time, especially Republicans.

It is another thing to be a U.S. Senate candidate who honestly believes that rape isn’t “legitimate” if the victim gets pregnant. It is another thing to claim that science supports your hair-brained notions, and that doctors agree with your crazy conclusions.

And he wants to be my U.S. senator.

Todd Akin’s statements regarding “legitimate” rape go beyond being insensitive and offensive. His statements are downright hateful, and are part of a larger anti-science, blame-the-victim worldview held by many in the Republican Party.

Don’t be fooled. While some Republicans – including presidential and vice presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan – have distanced themselves from Akin and his statements, and have put pressure on him to step away from the U.S. Senate campaign here in the Show Me State, in reality they share his views.

They share the blame-the-victim mentality. They share the belief that women should not be allowed to choose what they do with their bodies. They even want to add insult to injury by forcing women who were physically forced into pregnancy by rape or incest into becoming mothers by force.

They want to dehumanize women.

It is in their party platform.

They want to ban abortion even in cases of rape or incest because … women can just “shut that whole thing down.”

Dehumanizing women has been in their party platform for at least two decades.

In fact, many women in the Republican Party have argued against this platform in the past, just to have their input shot down by mostly old, rich, white guys.

Todd Akin simply said publicly what the right wing which dominates the Republican Party believes, and has believed for many years. He simply gave voice to a hate-filled agenda to deny women their full humanity. He simply articulated a long-held idea that it is OK to blame the victim.    

With the Republican National Convention just days away, and the November elections just around the corner, all of us – men and women alike – need to remember what the Republican Party stands for.

Todd Akin, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are cut from the same cloth. Romney and Ryan may approach the subject with more tact, they may choose their words more carefully, but in the end, they share Akin’s views. And if they are elected they will enact legislation that mimics Akin’s words.

Photo: Rep. Akin. AP Photo/Orlin Wagner


Tony Pecinovsky
Tony Pecinovsky

Tony Pecinovsky is the president of the St. Louis Workers' Education Society (WES), a 501c3 non-profit organization chartered by the St. Louis Central Labor Council as a Workers Center. His articles have been published in the St. Louis Labor Tribune, Alternet, Shelterforce, Political Affairs, and Z-Magazine, among other publications. He is the author of "Let Them Tremble: Biographical Interventions Marking 100 Years of the Communist Party, USA," and is available to speak at your community center, union hall or campus.