Humans believe what we want when we want to. We believe when it is convenient, and when it conforms to our own opinions. But we certainly are believers.
We have had enough faith to believe that Moses parted the Red Sea, enough love to believe in the story of Adam and Eve and enough hope to believe that some women can in fact lift cars off of trapped children. So why now is it so difficult to believe that, in the face of extreme helplessness and horror, a woman’s body can prevent a pregnancy?
On Aug. 19, Republican U.S. Senate candidate for Missouri Todd Akin said in an interview with St. Louis’ KTVI-TV that he strongly opposed abortion in all cases.
“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” Akin said. “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.”
In my opinion, the outrage in response to Akin’s words is over the top. The particulars of rape are extremely private and personal matters, so it is understandable that many feel uncomfortable when such a taboo topic is so prevalent in political discourse.
But what exactly did Akin say that was so horribly offensive? So distasteful that bands of women are protesting? And so “inexcusable,” as Romney stated, that it was strongly suggested he drop out of the race?
I wouldn’t exactly call myself a radical women’s rights activist, but as a woman, frankly, Mr. Akin’s words did not offend me.
Nowhere did Akin say that he did not have sympathy for those who have experienced such a traumatic event, nor did he say that any pregnancy at all is impossible. He simply suggested the hopeful idea that a pregnancy from rape could be terminated on its own.
Of course statistics can never truly validate what occurred, but according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, RAINN.org, in 2004-05, only 5 percent of rape victims became pregnant.
So purely statistically speaking, Akin’s statement is not too far out of the realm of possibility.
Not only do I disagree with the general public’s indignation towards Akin’s statement, but also with the Republican Party’s reaction towards his words.
Republicans are anti-abortion. They believe that nothing should interfere with the birth of a child. And extreme right-wingers believe that not even rape or incest should justify abortion.
Paul Ryan, vice presidential candidate for the Republican Party, is among those right-wing extremists. Ryan believes that only “life of the mother” is permissible in the case of abortion.
Ryan has had a strong anti-abortion platform since he first emerged onto the political scene, and yet as a country we still supported Ryan and nominated him as a vice presidential candidate.
So why is Akin’s view any different?
In fact, in 2011, Ryan, Akin and more than 100 other politicians co-sponsored the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” which would prohibit tax-funded abortions and attempt to redefine the definition of rape. Although this bill will certainly not pass through the Democrat-controlled Senate, surprisingly, a number of its signers are Democrats.
The ideologies stated in the bill clearly represent those of not just Akin, but of many politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike.
Although I thoroughly disagree with Akin’s thoughts on abortion, he has every right to say them without the backlash he’s received so far.