This afternoon, Missouri Senate candidate and rape definer John Akin tweeted this.
I apologized but the liberal media is trying to make me drop out. Please stand w/ me tonight by signing my petition at http://www.akin.org/still-standing
That led to this response from your humble narrator.
@ToddAkin, just for the record, I want you to stay in the race…Because we need someone for McCaskill to beat in November.
But then again, I’m not an “Elite” liberal. I’m more of a scrappy, salt of the earth, Root Beer and Microwave Popcorn kind of liberal.
But let’s take a moment to look at this apology.
Okay, He says he misspoke. That he used the wrong words.
He acknowledged that rape is an evil act.
He said he has a compassionate heart for all victims of sexual assault.
He said that the mistakes were in the words he said, not the heart he holds.
Here’s my problem with that.
This past Sunday, Think Progress reminded every one that he and Paul Ryan were the original cosponsors of H.R. 3.
Federal law prevents federal Medicaid funds and similar programs from paying for abortions. Yet the law also contains an exception for women who are raped. The bill Akin and Ryan cosponsored would have narrowed this exception, providing that only pregnancies arising from “forcible rape” may be terminated. Because the primary target of Akin and Ryan’s effort are Medicaid recipients — patients who are unlikely to be able to afford an abortion absent Medicaid funding — the likely impact of this bill would have been forcing many rape survivors to carry their rapist’s baby to term. Michelle Goldberg explains who Akin and Ryan would likely target:
Under H.R. 3, only victims of “forcible rape” would qualify for federally funded abortions. Victims of statutory rape—say, a 13-year-old girl impregnated by a 30-year-old man—would be on their own. So would victims of incest if they’re over 18. And while “forcible rape” isn’t defined in the criminal code, the addition of the adjective seems certain to exclude acts of rape that don’t involve overt violence—say, cases where a woman is drugged or has a limited mental capacity. “It’s basically putting more restrictions on what was defined historically as rape,” says Keenan. (Bold type mine.)
Although a version of this bill passed the GOP-controlled House, the “forcible rape” language was eventually removed due to widespread public outcry. Paul Ryan, however, believes that the “forcible rape” language does not actually go far enough to force women to carry their rapist’s baby. Ryan believes that abortion should be illegal in all cases except for “cases in which a doctor deems an abortion necessary to save the mother’s life.” So rape survivors are out of luck.
(Fun fact for my neighbors in the OR-O2 district. Rep. Greg Walden was also a cosponsor of the bill.)
Let me make this clear. And I’ll try to use small words for the cheap seats.
I am not saying that every pregnancy that is conceived in rape should automatically be terminated. I acknowledge that there are women in this world who are brave enough to carry that child to term and care for it. And they are to be applauded for it. There are any number of stressors that come from having an unplanned child. Physical, mental, financial.
And a child born from a trauma like this carries additional burdens.
If the woman is single, how does she acknowledge the conception to her family and friends?
If the woman has a partner, how does he or she handle the circumstances of the conception?
When the child is of age, how do you answer the question when he or she asks “Where did I come from”?
Can you even look at the child if he or she has their father’s eyes?
In a world singularly filled with tough calls, this is the toughest. And the only one qualified to make it is the woman with the child growing inside of her.
But according to Mr. Akin and Mr. Ryan, if a woman is raped and that act doesn’t fit the narrow definition that they deem suitable, that woman will have no choice but to carry that child to term. She will be forced to undergo an experience that she does not want, again!
And that, more than any word choice is what is unacceptable here.
So no Mr. Akin. I do not accept your apology. And I do not care what words you use or what heart you hold but what policies to seek to inflict upon my friends and neighbors.
Because where there is choice, there is freedom.
And I will not let you take that freedom away.
But hey, by all means, stay in the race.
As I said before, Claire McCaskill needs someone to beat in November.
It might as well be you.