I haven’t been following the Todd Akin thing, but I find the diverse reactions interesting. Apparently, there are key three points that made his comments controversial:
1) he said, correctly, that rape as a motive for abortion is rare, but it came off to some people like he said pregnancy from rape is rare (or maybe he did, and he confused his own statistic).
2) he suggested “legitimate” rape, which created the firestorm–everyone took it as suggesting there’s such a thing as “legitimate” rape, but he meant “truly a rape”. Now, this has implications about such issues as spousal rape, date rape, etc., but I *think* he was referring to how abortionists are notorious for falsely reporting the reasons behind abortion. However, he should’ve been clearer in explaining that part of his position, which is the problem with our sound-biting, tweeting, shout-back-and-forth media/political culture.
3) he claimed that a woman’s body has ways of preventing an unwanted pregnancy, which truly is stupid and ignorant. Phrased a slightly different way, he again made a potentially valid point: the odds of any given sexual act resulting in pregnancy are extremely high. First, it has to occur within 5 days before ovulation or 24 hours after. Next, there are internal mechanisms that a woman’s body uses to filter out sperm: pH, her own immune system, etc.
On the other hand, it is also well documented than an ovulating woman puts out pheromones and other indicators that make her more desirable to men, just like an animal in heat (“more, but not less,” as C. S. Lewis puts it). So on the other hand, it is likely that’s a factor in rapists targeting victims–certainly “date rape” cases–so that would indicate a greater likelihood of pregnancy.
In any case, pregnancy that results from rape accounts for less than 1% of all abortions, and that shouldn’t even be the focus: the focus should be on the fact that the child doesn’t deserve to die for the sperm donor’s sin, a fact attested to by this woman’s powerful testimony (who is deeply offended by Akin’s comments).
I don’t know whether Akin was intending to say that a rape exception for outlawing abortion is a relatively minor exception or that it should not be an exception, but one thing that’s very clear is he phrased his arguments quite poorly.
However, the other thing that’s abundantly clear is that his idiotic comments are in turn being taken out of context by the Left to claim he said something he never said. The majority of the brouhaha has been over his poorly chosen phrase, “legitimate rape.”
From the context, as I noted, it’s clear that by “legitimate”, he meant “actually a rape.” Now, that again is a very problematic statement. However, to hear the liberals talk about it, Akin said that some rapes are “OK”, and that is NOT what he said at all.
So his comments were idiotic but well-intentioned, and they’ve set back the cause of protecting the biological children of rapists for being executed for their fathers’ crimes, but he never said anything like what the feminazis are claiming he said, and that is a grave injustice.
At first, I assumed the few pro-Akin bits I’ve glanced at over the past few days had been shallow attempts at partisan “my side can do no wrong”-ing, but now that I’ve read what he actually said, it’s very clear that this is another case of the left and the media finding some idiotic statement by a Republican and then twisting it completely so they can claim that all conservatives secretly think that way.
Meanwhile, Newsbusters is pointing out that the “mainstream media” have given 4 X the coverage to Akin’s comments that they gave to Joseph Biden’s offensive comments last week: comments that in attempting to castigate all Republicans as racists just showed Biden for the racist he is. Let’s not forget that Biden’s the guy who, in early 2008, said Barack Obama is special because articulate black men are, according to Biden, so rare. Which is kind of funny, coming from an inarticulate Irish-American.