by Sandra Fluke
Why are we surprised by Rep. Todd Akin’s appalling statement distinguishing which rapes are “legitimate”? Why are we surprised that Akin, the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate from Missouri, thinks that victims of “legitimate rape” don’t get pregnant because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down?” And why are we surprised that he wants to outlaw abortion even in the case of rape?
Disgusted? Of course. But surprised? We already had clear evidence of what Akin believes from his record. Just last year, he joined Paul Ryan and more than 200 other House Republicans in co-sponsoring legislation that would have narrowed which types of rape victims could benefit from financial assistance to access abortion services. The bill would have cut off victims who were drugged or threatened, some victims of incest, and victims of statutory rape—victims who, it appears, don’t fall into Akin’s definition of “legitimate” rape victims. As for the belief that women don’t need access to abortion when “legitimately raped” because their bodies will prevent a pregnancy, that’s not just some feverish product of Akin’s mind—it’s a widely held belief in radical anti-choice circles across the country.
WATCH SANDRA DISCUSSING THE AKIN FLAP ON “NEWS NATION WITH TAMRON HALL”