Here is a suggestion for people who oppose abortion in the case of rape: you need to have a better argument than “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Republican Senate nominee Todd Akin offered that stunning piece of inaccurate bio-babble in an interview on The Jaco Report. When asked if there should be an exception for abortions when the woman is raped, Akin said:
People always want to make it into one of those things — well, how do you slice this particularly tough ethical question. First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.
Yes, of course. The vagina, detecting an unwanted penis, sends enzymes to kill the sperm while the uterus floods itself with acid just in case one of those rape sperms makes it through.
I understand that Akin respects life. Just before he made the above moronic comment, he gave an unprompted rant about the sacristy of life, including a genuinely touching story about a US marine saving an Iraqi soldier because “It’s what we do.” So I do not begrudge Akin his desire to protect life, including the unborn, no matter what.
However, his above comment is so blatantly ignorant that one must imagine he either knows nothing about vaginas or he has never had to explain his position of abortion before. More stunning is that Charles Jaco let the comment slide. It happens about four minutes in the second part of the interview. Instead of challenging that statement or at least asking for some clarification, Jaco pulls a Stephen Colbert and “moves on.”
Akin’s interview prompted immediate criticism, leading him to release this statement:
As a member of Congress, I believe that working to protect the most vulnerable in our society is one of my most important responsibilities, and that includes protecting both the unborn and victims of sexual assault. 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. Those who perpetrate these crimes are the lowest of the low in our society and their victims will have no stronger advocate in the Senate to help ensure they have the justice they deserve.
I recognize that abortion, and particularly in the case of rape, is a very emotionally charged issue. But I believe deeply in the protection of all life and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action. I also recognize that there are those who, like my opponent, support abortion and I understand I may not have their support in this election.
But I also believe that this election is about a wide-range of very important issues, starting with the economy and the type of country we will be leaving our children and grandchildren. We’ve had 42 straight months of unacceptably high unemployment, trillion dollar deficits, and Democratic leaders in Washington who are focused on growing government, instead of jobs. That is my primary focus in this campaign and while there are those who want to distract from that, knowing they cannot defend the Democrats’ failed economic record of the last four years, that will continue to be my focus in the months ahead.
If he misspoke, what was the right thing he meant to say?