by Dante Atkins
Sun Aug 26, 2012 at 06:00 AM PDT
Unless you’ve been spending the past week or so living under a rock—and given the political climate these days, it would be hard to blame you for doing so—you can’t have missed the fact that Republican Congressman and newly minted Senate nominee from Missouri, Todd Akin, went on a St. Louis television station and proceeded to stick his foot so far down his mouth that his toes tingled his duodenum.
Akin’s comments, which have led panicked Republicans to call for him to drop out of the race lest his misogynist toxicity metastasize to infect the Romney/Ryan ticket and Republicans across the nation, centered around two atrocities: first, the absurd idea that female reproductive anatomy can shut down in response to rape and somehow prevent conception; and second, the use of the term “legitimate rape” to describe the circumstances under which a woman’s magic ovaries would somehow initiate the aforementioned shutdown of reproductive capacity. Taken together, the comments as a whole were designed to justify Akin’s opposition to any exemptions for abortion, even in cases of rape or incest: After all, per Akin’s logic, if a woman gets raped, she won’t get pregnant; so if she’s pregnant, well, no exemption is required.
The biological aspect of Akin’s comments seems to have drawn more scorn and outright mockery: After all, how can someone pretend to take a leading role in legislating women’s bodies without even knowing the basics of how they work? The comments about “legitimate rape,” however, were a different story, as seemingly every Democratic candidate and committee in existence sent an email to their lists seeking to raise money and respond to Akin’s outrageous implication that some rapes are okay.