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home : blogs_old : off the cuff February 5, 2016

Off the Cuff
By Chris A. Porter
WNI Web Developer and PVtrib.com webmaster shares his perspective on technology, local and national politics, and life in the Quad-city area.
Monday, August 20, 2012

Blog: Magic wombs - The Todd Akin story

 Chris A. Porter
WNI Digital Media

This Aug. 10, 2012 file photo shows Todd Akin, Republican candidate for U.S. Senator from Missouri taking questions after speaking at the Missouri Farm Bureau candidate interview and endorsement meeting in Jefferson City, Mo. Akin fought to salvage his Senate campaign Monday, Aug. 20, 2012, even as members of his own party turned against him and a key source of campaign funding was cut off in outrage over the Missouri congressman's comments that women are able to prevent pregnancies in cases of "legitimate rape." (AP Photo/St. Louis Pos-Dispatch, Christian Gooden)

Some phenomena exist: every so often a public figure strings together a pattern of words in response to an interview question that physically evokes migraine headaches and waves of nausea upon hearing (or in this case, reading) them. This is just one of many articles regarding said phenomena. Any personal discomfort from this point on is your responsibility, and you assume any further risks by continuing.

Todd Akin, a six-term congressman from Missouri, is running for U.S. Senate. He is also a vocal opponent to abortion and not afraid to speak his mind. In an August 19th interview with St. Louis TV station KTVI, when asked if he would support abortions for women who have been raped, Congressman Akin said the following:

"It seems to me first of all from what I understand from doctors that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

Admittedly, the logic is quite profound. Akin claims 'legitimate' rape, (as opposed to illegitimate rape) magically counters conception as long as the rapist has filed the proper paperwork. See, I did not know this, and to borrow a phrase from 1980's GI Joe cartoons, 'knowing is half the battle.' It would seem, in terms of moral perspective, that the congressman sincerely believes a woman's womb must work a bit like a self-cleaning oven. Only Mr. Akin's precise biological acumen, as well as his personal think tank of 'medical professionals' know for sure.

It is difficult to determine what is more extraordinary: that this man has been elected to public office on six separate occasions, or that he maintains such a profound view upon how the basic human reproductive system works even after fathering six separate children.

Words are a necessary tool we humans must use to communicate with one another. In deconstructing Akin's particular pattern of words in his response, the message not only becomes murky, but further inspires a plethora of additional questions just to elevate we humans of lesser intelligence to his level of understanding on the issue.

So many questions, indeed: has the fertilization process now become self-aware like HAL 9000? Do 'super eggs' exist, and if so, what is their real agenda? Does the birth canal have a quality assurance program? And how is it we've never heard about these new in vitro breakthroughs?

These developments would seem to mark whole new paradigms in human evolution, but I must digress. It's probably best we laypeople leave the inquiries to true scientists like congressman Akin.

Since Akin's epic interview, many charlatans have come out of the woodwork to dissect, naysay and even ridicule the relevant points made in the congressman's brave remarks. They quote establishment statistics from ivory tower academics, like one from the Journal of American Obstetrics and Gynecology, that suggest over 30,000 pregnancies occur annually due to rape. Is it all true? Perhaps, but I'm no numbers expert.

These particular trouble making elitists also note that Akin's remarks might have stemmed from similar words uttered by anti-abortion legislator Rep. Stephen Friend in 1988, who contended that the trauma of rape lessens a victim's chance of pregnancy. Perhaps Akin is simply standing on the shoulders of giants?

For his candid assessment on the female reproductive system, he is currently taking quite a beating, even from members of his own party. So much for 'speaking your mind,' America...

His detractors seem to repeatedly hammer down on the very minute details of the response, obsessing over tiny things like 'facts,' 'what he said,' and even 'statements completely devoid of support.' It would seem there is just no pleasing some people.

Through an exhaustive re-analysis of his thought-provoking words against a rising tide of dissent wrapped in a tense battle for Senate against a Democrat incumbent, congressman Akin selflessly concedes that indeed, he may have "misspoke." A real, honorable man almost certainly admits when he does.

"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," Akin boldly emailed in a statement to the press.

So it was simply an 'off-the-cuff' remark on a TV interview, likely seen by only thousands of people. Will this put things to rest? Can his detractors forgive and forget? You might think so, but reality begs to differ. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, vice-presidential running mate Paul Ryan and a host of other GOP leaders have all rebuked Akin, claiming they totally disagree with the congressman's stance and are calling for him to withdraw from the Senate race. John Cornyn, head of the Senate GOP campaign has even threatened to cut funding if he continues his bid.

Akin remains steadfast in his 'misspoken'-ness, claiming reaction to his remarks has been overblown. For the moment, the congressman is still refusing to step down and drop out.

Off the Cuff - My Take:

Completely understandable, congressman, if you ask me. I, for one, happen to LOVE 'off-the-cuff' remarks. They are my favorite. There is something so intrinsically American about them. Speak your mind, I say! Be proud of your beliefs, even if said beliefs might be considered 'totally batty,' and 'not based whatsoever in reality.'

Let your freak flag fly, guy!!

*facepalm* In all seriousness, Will someone please be kind enough to send congressman Akin a elementary school biology textbook before he grants any more interviews? My mother thanks you.

Thanks for reading, and as always, your thoughts are very much appreciated.

Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Article comment by: Brian Weston

You better vote ladies, the American taliban want's you to sit down and shutup. And do what you're told.

Posted: Sunday, August 26, 2012
Article comment by: Common Senzi

Vote for people who believe god created the world 6000 years ago and that it is flat, and this is what you get.

Posted: Saturday, August 25, 2012
Article comment by: wildlife defender

These so-called pro-lifers are not really pro-life, they are just anti-abortion, which is their right. BUT, they DO NOT have the right to force their particular beliefs on others. A woman should always be allowed to make her own choices regarding her body. No woman should be forced to carry a pregnancy brought on by the violent act of rape. For one to be truly pro-life, a person has to be anti- war, anti- death penalty, anti-starvation, etc., and not just care about the well-being of an unborn fetus.

Posted: Saturday, August 25, 2012
Article comment by: Actions, No More Talk

Compared to what the Democrats have been spewing out of their mouths, this is not what our country is in need of, deficit, immigration, jobs, taxes,. Biden's use of words are much worse and he's the VP. Our DOJ is covering up papers and this is all the dems are concerned about, Abortion and gay marriage is not what our concerns should be now. Never was and never should be. Put our priorities in order: deficit, immigraiton, jobs, jobs and more jobs. Stop all this pettiness and let's get down to business. Personal choices are just that. All politicians say stupid things.

Posted: Saturday, August 25, 2012
Article comment by: ron ruggles

Perhaps he was home-schooled for science.

Posted: Thursday, August 23, 2012
Article comment by: I wish he would go away

I find it absolutely ridiculous that the government wants to make decisions about my body, when it's clear they have no idea how it works.

Posted: Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Article comment by: Discussion Not Emotion

Akin isn't alone among Republicans in these views. Even vice-presidential hopeful Ryan has publicly stated that he is against abortion even for rape and incest cases.

Akin was just dumb enough to be honest in his misogynist and ignorant views. Ironic, considering, as Montey Pat pointed out, he sits on the House Science and Technology Committee. Frightening, isn't it?

Honestly, you'd think that of all the various issuses on abortion, rape would be one situation that both Pro-Life and Pro-Choice could agree upon. Namely, that forcing a woman to have her rapist's child would be too monstrous to contemplate, and the woman would at least be allowed the choice.

First she is forced into an act she didn't want (sex), then she's forced into another act (childbirth, an act that will change her life forever) by the government, if many Pro-Lifers have their way.

Is her physical body that much more important to society than the essential her? It would seem so to a rape victim.

"Give me your body for my pleasure" - rapist
"Give us your body to nourish this life, then raise it as we deem appropriate" - Pro-Life government

SHE is secondary to her body.

Posted: Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Article comment by: Faux News

Akin proves once again that the beliefs of the far right Christians and Islamic Law are very similar when it comes to women. The Quran states that a rape can only be proven if the rapist confesses or four other males witness the act and then testify to that effect. Akin, Ryan and their Christian accomplices believe that if the woman gets pregnant, she consented to the rape versus being forcibly raped. Maybe Akin and Ryan should look up Rape in the dictionary. The more you hear about the beliefs of right-wing Christians, the more they look like they support Sharia law.

Posted: Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Article comment by: Women Will

Remember in November

Posted: Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Article comment by: liberal lee

... Congressman Todd Akin's suggestion that a "legitimate rape" is less likely to cause a pregnancy is a stunning display of ignorance. Akin's divisive and ideologically-driven attempt to define a 'legitimate rape' is absolutely outrageous and makes it nearly impossible to have an honest debate about women's health care.

It's unfathomable to believe statements like Congressman Akin's and other tightly held ideological beliefs inspire legislation, but they do. Just last year, Congressman Akin and five members of Arizona's congressional delegation were original cosponsors of legislation that would have legally redefined rape for victims of statutory rape and incest with the intent of limiting women's access to comprehensive health care and reproductive choice, including abortion.

... I know that ideological ignorance and politicization of science isn't new with certain individuals elected to represent us. But the fact is that 32,000 pregnancies every year are the result of rape, according to the CDC. Any attempt to create barriers to women for health care, including reproductive health issues, will result in higher health cost due to poorer health outcomes.

It's horrifying to think these offensive statements could inspire laws. And yet, that's what we've seen from the chronic ideologically-driven politicians in Washington. We should be crafting policy based on the best science, not a total disregard of it.

Posted: Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Article comment by: Words or Actions More Important?

You will not get any argument from me that what Akin said was stupid. And Akin was right to say he screwed up and ask for forgiveness. Akin has always been a pro-life candidate except where the mother's life is in danger so there is no surprise that he believes the life of the fetus is paramount even in situations of rape. His pro-life position is one of the issues that voters will consider in determining the best choice. But I would not eliminate him solely because of a major gaffe. (Look at Joe Biden who makes gaffes both serious and minor all the time.) There are many politicians that have committed adultery, exhibited lewd behavior, stolen money, been guilty of ethical violations, etc. and many have been given a second chance with the public (what about Bill Clinton after Monica?). By all accounts, Akin has had 30 years of unblemished service. Does all that go out the window because he said something very stupid? And who is the Republican DC establishment to decide who is the right candidate for the state of Missouri? Shouldn't local citizens and groups make that decision? Hopefully, the voters will decide for or against Akin by looking at his entire record and stance on all the issues and not judge him on a momentary lapse (or a senior moment).

Posted: Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Article comment by: Second verse, same as the first!

There 'might' be differences of opinion, those that prevail on the nightly news, however, the GOP (hidden platform of overturning Roe vs. Wade via Supreme Court nominees) and especially Paul Ryan are not that far off. Ryan has also bought into the "legitimate rape" nonsense, cosponsoring legislation with Akin that would have limited federal services to victims of "forcible rape" -- a deliberate attempt to write out some victims of date rape and statutory rape.

Posted: Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Article comment by: Montey Pat

You forgot to mention that Congressman Akin sits on House Science and Technology Committee.

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