Missouri Congressman Todd Akin – My Take On Him and ‘Legitimate Rape’

I’m venturing in to muddy waters here.  You see, I never opine about anything of a political nature here in this space.  In fact, I rarely do it in conversation as well.  Most people I know might even have a difficult time telling you which way I lean when it comes to the political spectrum.

But sometimes, you hear words coming from someone’s mouth – and you have a physical reaction to them.  It doesn’t matter that they are a politician or if they represent the left, the right or something in between.  You just have a problem with their words… with the meaning behind those words. And you have to respond.

This is one of those times.

My jaw dropped as Missouri Congressman Todd Akin was being interviewed by Charles Jaco (The Jaco Report is a local program here in St. Louis).  As you likely know by now, Akin shared his thoughts on abortion as it relates to rape, or ‘legitimate rape’ as he called it.   He did later say he ‘misspoke’. I recognize Akin’s Senate Race against incumbent Claire McCaskill is one being closely followed throughout the country.  I’m following it here, because, well….. I live here.  My thoughts…

My reaction is based purely on the ignorance of Akin’s statements.  I did not have a personal, emotional reaction as a listened.  But my friend Amanda did. Her post knocked the wind out of me…. it is worth reading – regardless of your political leanings….

  • Jeannette

    Danielle, I am so with you on this. Congressman Akin’s ignorance and lack of sensitivity is revolting. i could not believe this was happening when I learned the news and saw the interview. I tendto stay away from politics in general but this is too serious an issue to not cooment on it. Thanks for speaking out and sharing.

  • Amy Volk

    Excellent Danielle! I was outraged by his stupidity and callousness regarding rape victims. I too, never comment on political issues but this one has me stirred up. Thanks for the video.

  • Danielle Smith

    Jeannette…. thank you for this. One of the reasons I stay away is because I have always wanted people of all political/religious, etc affiliations to feel comfortable in this space, but there is no place for this type of ignorance in my world – regardless of your political affiliation. The mere notion that a woman a) has to prove ‘legitimate rape’ to someone like Congressman Akin/anyone else or b) that we, as women, possess a magical power of some kind that prevents pregnancy from occuring unless the rape meets some imaginary forcible standard makes me ill…. I so appreciate you commenting.

  • Danielle Smith

    I so appreciate this, Amy. I thought long and hard before posting any of this – and while I’m certain there will be people who disagree, I’m hopeful the dialgoue will remain respectful.

  • Kim Wolterman

    I applaud you for your courage to tackle this topic. My 21 year old daughter first brought Akin’s comments to my attention, and she lives in California. She is of the belief that no men should be able to make decisions about women’s bodies, because they obviously have no idea what they are talking about. So true! I stay away from the political as well – there is a reason they say to avoid religion and politics. But this lack of factual information does need to be rebutted. What in the world is a “legitimate” rape? Like there are “illegitimate” ones out there? That was my first thought. And then to say that “legitimate” victims won’t get pregnant? For him to later state that he misspoke and to offer an apology does not erase the fact that deep down these are his beliefs. I am very worried about the future of women’s rights as they pertain to their own bodies.

  • http://twitter.com/MTDLBlog Nicole H.

    This whole thing just sickens me and reading Amanda’s post…heartbreaking. I have three daughters and that scenario is my worst nightmare come true. This guy is a thoughtless, ignorant fool and most certainly should not be leading. I doubt seriously that he would be an advocate for women’s rights if he thought for even a moment that there’s some kind of variance in the type of rape a woman encounters. Sickening….

  • http://amandamagee.com amandamagee

    Thank you, Danielle. I too deliberated over whether to hit publish. For me it was a quick move and then I walked away from the computer. Politics is not where I like to swim, but I thought maybe my story might help people see things from a slightly different angle.

  • http://franklymydearmojo.com Molly Jo

    Danielle, I really applaud you for this post. I too never delve into political issues. It’s such a hotbed and no matter where you stand, others will try to knock you down. Akin’s comments weren’t political in nature; they were, as everyone is saying, a fundamental belief. I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt, absolutely. But this has me so riled up. Sometimes I think we expect too much of our politicians: they must always be smart, always speak perfectly, always be for us no matter what… It seems to me, that with this instance Akin is misinformed and needs to be legitimately educated. I don’t believe being angry at him solves anything; but schooling him would. Too often, we make political hay when the issue isn’t. Just like you in the video, his comments in question aren’t about his stance on abortion, but rather his understanding of rape. He is not perfect; but I don’t think he’s stupid. He’s just misinformed on this issue. Does that make him a completely worthless candidate or person?