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This weekend, Missouri Representative Todd Akin (R) made a statement to Fox’s KTVI-TV in St. Louis that confused the masses and sparked national outrage:
“From what I understand from doctors, it [referring to pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down.”
He went on to add, “I think there ought to be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”
This statement was made in support of his position against abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. But immediately following his statement, outraged criticism came pouring in.
First, his Senate opposition, Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill tweeted that she was “stunned” by the comments. She went on to add, “It is beyond comprehension that someone can be so ignorant about the emotional and physical trauma brought on by rape. The ideas that Todd Akin has expressed about the serious crime of rape and the impact on its victims are offensive.”
Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, told AP Radio, “That kind of rhetoric re-traumatizes sexual assault victims. …That kind of talk, I believe, is intended to shame women.”
Then, a spokesman for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s campaign tweeted that they did not agree with Akin’s statement. And President Obama denounced his views as "offensive."
To clear up any confusion, here are some facts on the issue: The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology reports that roughly 32,000 pregnancies a year are the result of a rape. Furthermore, there is no such thing as "legitimate rape." A rape is sexual contact that is not agreed upon by both partners, oftentimes very violent, and in any situation it is a traumatic experience for women. Finally, there is no scientific evidence to prove that an egg will reject sperm from an unwanted source.
Akin has since backed off his remark, claiming he "misspoke." He issued an apology via Twitter saying, “In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year.”
But bloggers and journalists have been questioning the sincerity of the apology. What do you think? It is enough?