Akin’s claims highlight ignorance in politics
Posted on Aug 29, 2012 in Opinion
Current sex-ed superstar and disgraced Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., has legitimately penetrated recent news cycles with his special house blend of new-age conservatism and old-world bigotry.
In mid-August, the largely unknown congressman and U.S. Senate candidate was asked about his view on abortion in the exception of a horrendous circumstance such as rape. Akin shockingly replied that “in a legitimate rape,” women’s bodies “have a way of shutting that down.”
Such a fanatically crazy statement begs a few obvious questions: what is “legitimate” rape, and when is rape “illegitimate”?
The next troublesome issue is the impossibly credulous and mind-bending argument that a pregnancy occurring from rape is rare because a woman’s body “has a way of shutting that down.” This is not only insulting to women and rape victims everywhere, but it is grotesquely absurd in the realm of 21st century medicine and science.
Outside of Fox News land, rape occurring during pregnancy is infinitely more common than something like voter fraud, the latest conservative “controversy.” Yet, members of Akin’s political party are never interested in replacing fear with fact.
According to the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Medical University of Charleston, S.C., roughly 32,101 pregnancies occur every year from rape. Compare that with the fictitious voter fraud scandal in recent news. Draconian voter ID laws enacted by Republican legislatures all over the country will create Jim Crow-style voting difficulties for masses of formerly-eligible voters who tend to support Democrats in office. Are these new laws really in place to counteract new threats?
In a study compiled by the U.S. Department of Justice, from 2002-2007 there were 300 million votes cast in nationwide elections. Of those, 86 voters were proven to have questionable identity. If you look at that on an annual basis, that comes out to roughly 17 votes per year.
Members of Akin’s political party have worked diligently to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters in an attempt to stop 17 crimes per year, but they turn their heads at the thought of 32,000 annual rape-related pregnancies.
This humiliating transgression of ignorance is merely a symptom of a larger problem. Akin is a member of the same Republican Party that denies climate change, evolution and support for education to learn about these very things in the first place. In a political ideology that favors regress over progress, indifference towards knowledge is stunningly engineered.
Maybe the most “legitimate” question to ask is: When did it become bad to be smart? Perhaps the Akins of the world should do us all a favor and drag their knuckles back to the cave from which they emerged.