Todd Arkin, Paul Ryan and the very real war on women - New York Daily News (blog)
BY ZERLINA MAXWELL
Two words that should never be used together in the same sentence: legitimate and rape. But that’s the way Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) chose to speak about the sensitive topic that has impacted millions of women in the United States in an interview with a local television station Sunday.
In defending his extreme anti-choice position – that a woman who is raped and becomes pregnant should not be permitted to have an abortion, Akin said, “First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Akin, who clearly didn’t pay attention in biology class, is challenging Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill. After the negative and swift public reaction to his remarks, Akin said in a statement that he “misspoke,” but that claim doesn’t fly when you do a quick review of his legislative history, which is directly connected vice presidential pick Rep. Paul Ryan on this exact issue.
Akin and Ryan were the original co-sponsors of the controversial bill H.R. 3, “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” which initially included language which changed the definition of “rape” to “forcible rape,” until public pressure forced the bill’s supporters to remove that unacceptable and narrow definition. As I wrote previously, Paul Ryan is not just anti-choice, his anti-choice views are extreme and just plain bad for all women.
Linking Ryan to Akin and the idea that there is such a thing as “legitimate rape” based on pseudo-science and folklore is something that needs to be done before the upcoming election. While Team Romney attempted to create distance with Akin, saying that both Romney and Ryan “disagree” with his statements, there was nothing in their statement that said they condemn his remarks as hurtful to victims. There was also nothing in Team Romney’s statement that pointed out that what Akin said about pregnancies resulting from rape being rare is just flat-out wrong.
Ryan was against abortion in all cases including rape until Team Romney’s statement. Romney has said he would get rid of Planned Parenthood and has been moving further right on women’s issues since he was a pro-choice governor of Massachusetts. This could be a huge problem for the Republican ticket in November.
The Obama campaign is already out with a new ad highlighting Ryan’s extreme positions on abortion, and the Akin dustup is certain to put the war on women back in the headlines.