Missouri Republican senatorial candidate Todd Akin–addressing the abortion issue–demonstrated complete lunacy.
Well you know, people always want to try to make that as one of those things, well how do you, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. 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.
The fist part of his statement is true: pregnancy resulting from rape is rare. Why? I’m not completely sure, but here’s my take on it.
Pregnancy from sex in general is rare; pregnancy from rape is no more rare than pregnancy from consensual intercourse. It’s just that rape–being less frequent than consensual sex–seems to lead to pregnancy less often than consensual sex.
In order for pregnancy to happen, timing is everything. For it to happen from rape, then the rape has to occur within the same menstrual parameters as any other sex act that could lead to pregnancy.
As for his “legitimate rape” comment, I have no idea what he was smoking. While it is true that women have been known to lie about rape–although said lying is not nearly as common as advertised–this would not be a good time to conflate that issue. This is because, rape or not, pregnancy occurs from sex.
How should Akin have answered that question? He should have said something to the following effect:
When you are dealing with the issue of rape, there is no pretty way to resolve this issue. The woman has had something taken from her that we–as a society–can never replace, even if we skin the rapist alive. I can certainly understand why a woman would not want to carry this child that was conceived in such a violent, senseless act.
At the same time, we need to ask ourselves what compassion requires here. As much as I would otherwise be inclined to support abortion in such cases, that would be a disservice to the child in utero, as he or she does not deserve to die any more than the mother deserved to be raped.
As a society, we must reach out as best as we can to help these women; we must also, as a society, welcome these children who are also faultless. We must work toward a resolution here that honors the humanity of everyone involved.
Had Akin said that, he would have caught some heat from the abortophiles while articulating a strong case for what real compassionate conservatism looks like. It would not have helped him with liberals, but–done with resolve–would have made a compelling case for his leadership in a body that is lacking in that department.
Instead, Akin has effectively handed re-election to Sen. Claire McCaskill (R-MO).