“Dead candidate walking,” the Examiner, a political web site, commented.
The candidate, of course, was Missouri Republican Senate nominee Todd Akin, who said recently that “legitimate rape” rarely leads to pregnancy. Akin suggested that a woman’s physiology would protect her from pregnancy in case of rape. The female body, he said, “has ways to shut that thing down.”
The Republican National Committee said Akin should resign his race to save the party. Prominent GOP operatives Karl Rove and Mary Matalin said Akin would poison the rest of Republican slate. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, GOP presidential and vice presidential candidates urged him to step down.
The Montana Cowgirl - a liberal blog with a secret pipeline to the Governor’s Office - noted that both Republican U.S. Senate nominee Denny Rehberg and GOP gubernatorial nominee Rick Hill had endorsed abortion bans with no exceptions.
Julianna Crowley, executive director of Pro-Choice Montana, the political leader of the pro-choice movement in Montana, said Hill’s election would be a serious threat to women’s health.
Hill co-sponsored the Right to Life Act of 1997 and 1999, both of which gave personhood status to a fetus, defining life at the moment of fertilization, Crowley noted.
“No rape is legitimate,” was Rehberg’s reaction to Akin’s blunder.
Akin said a number of doctors supported his rape-stops-pregnancy claim.
Which doctors? Witch doctors?
No rape is legitimate, but there are legitimate doctors and rape experts who say there’s no way the trauma of rape would prevent pregnancy from occurring.
“If a woman’s ovaries have already released an egg, she’s just as likely to get pregnant from a rape as she would be from a voluntary encounter,” according to Dr. Barbara Levy, vice president for health policy at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Akin addressed his explosive statement on Gov. Mike Huckabee’s talk show hours after it had escaped his mouth: “It was only one mistake in one sentence on one day.”
It was not an apology, not even an explanation. In the code of Akin’s extreme anti-abortion view, rape is only “legitimate” if the victim fiercely fought her assailant and is not lying about consensual sex. Otherwise the woman might have enjoyed the act.
Use of the “morning after” birth control pill also makes a rape “illegitimate” in Akin’s view. It doesn’t count.
In any case, Akin, Rehberg, Hill and company would force a woman to carry her rapist’s baby to term and give birth.
Rehberg and Akin cosponsored H.R. 358, a “personhood bill,” Cowgirl notes. The National Women’s Law Center branded it: “The Let Women Die Bill.”
According to the center’s analysis, the bill “would allow any hospital to refuse to perform an emergency abortion — even if a woman would die — without running afoul of the federal law designed to prevent individuals from being denied emergency medical treatment.”
Huckabee, who shares Akin’s stand, explains: “Rape is a tragedy. But it makes no sense to punish the victim.”
The “victim,” in Huckabee’s view, is the fetus, not the woman. Pro lifers contend life begins at conception. A fertilized human egg is smaller than the period at the end of this sentence.
Every year pro-lifers introduce “personhood” legislation to declare that tiny mass is a human being. Watch for one or more to be introduced in the coming Montana Legislature.
Though the men at the top of the GOP ticket, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, would make exceptions for both rape and the mother’s life, the GOP national platform contains the clause Akin champions.
The GOP, not just in Missouri but nationally, counted on Akin’s victory in his race against Democrat Claire McCaskill. Defeating McCaskill was critical to Republican hopes for retaking the Senate and driving a wooden stake through Obamacare.
A week ago, Todd Akin was a sure winner. For that matter, a month ago every candidate in the GOP primary was polling ahead of McCaskill. McCaskill is so disliked and so vulnerable that virtually any Republican candidate would defeat her – provided they did nothing to blow it, GOP national chairman Reince Priebus said.
Democrats reckoned Akin was the weakest candidate in the GOP primary. To grease the skids, they spilled $1.5 million into Akin’s war chest.
After putting his foot in his pie hole, Akin’s stock tanked. Suddenly he was 10 points down. A crash from his high of 38 points up.
By Friday the trend reversed. Akin closed to within a point of McCaskill in the latest poll. There’s crow enough to feed everyone.