The eternal sunshine of Todd Akin | Bleader

The eternal sunshine of Todd Akin



Todd Akin
  • Todd Akin
I'm struggling to understand the Republican position on rape and abortion. It's very subtle. There were these recent developments:

Todd Akin, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from Missouri, explained that rape itself serves as a natural birth control. An interviewer asked if abortion could be allowed in the case of rape, and Akin replied:

"People always want to try and make that as one of those things . . . how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question? It seems to me first of all, 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 on the rapist and not attacking the child.”

Akin was immediately denounced by Republicans nationally for his ignorant views. They said they would not fund his campaign and they urged him to drop out of the race.

This storm broke on Monday. On Tuesday the Republican platform committee approved a plank calling for a constitutional amendment forbidding abortion. No exceptions were made for rape or incest. The plank reads:

"Faithful to the 'self-evident' truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children."

As I read this tricky debate, Akin is categorically opposed to abortion but he believes that because God is too, God offers women some natural protection from the consequences of rape. The Republican Party is also categorically opposed to abortion though it doesn't believe God did anything to shield raped women from the consequences.

In the eternal sunshine of Akin's mind, raped women have nothing much to worry about. In the view of the Republican platform raped women probably do, but it's their problem. The Republicans are trying to drum Akin out of the party on the grounds that he's a fool, but he's the sort of holy fool who makes the company he keeps sound grubby by comparison.

By Wednesday, the author of the abortion plank was backing away from the language it consists of. "We do not take a position on which exceptions should be included in a human life amendment," said James Bopp, thereby hinting that the Republicans might eventually support a human life amendment that recognizes separate and unequal classes of human life. The splendidly ingenuous Akin is responsible for these intellectual contortions.