How Todd Akin Won

We all remember how Todd Akin killed his chances of winning a Senate seat with his inane and repulsive comments about rape and pregnancy, but the truth is that his argument, appalling as it was, has won politically. With the Republicans in control of so many state legislatures since 2010, they’ve been passing anti-choice legislation at an incredible pace — and the overwhelming majority of those new laws do not have an exception for victims of rape.

According to an analysis conducted by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), more than 70 percent of the new abortion restrictions enacted in the first half of 2013 don’t include any kind of exemption for pregnancies that result from rape. And state lawmakers proposed even more measures to limit rape victims’ abortion access that didn’t make it into law — the NWLC’s report finds that 86 percent of the anti-abortion bills proposed during the same time period didn’t have a rape exception.

U.S. Congress didn’t have a much better record during the first six months of the year. Seventy two percent of the bills proposed on a national level would have restricted abortion access even for rape victims.

The anti-abortion measures that apply to rape victims range from forcing a woman who has become pregnant from sexual assault to carry the pregnancy to term; to requiring her to look at an ultrasound of the fetus and listen to a fetal heartbeat; to banning her from using her own insurance coverage to pay for an abortion; to allowing hospitals to deny her abortion care.

Akin may not be in the Senate, but his view is the majority view in the Republican party, which controls the U.S. House and most of the state legislatures as well. This is one of the clear and incontrovertible differences between the two major parties. On matters of foreign policy, national security, the 4th Amendment and many other issues, there’s little room between them. But when it comes to women’s rights and choice, there is a huge difference.

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  • No exceptions even for legitimate rape?

  • JustaTech

    So what these lawmakers are saying is that the punishment for being a victim of a crime is a dangerous medical condition, a short period of torture, and 18 years of hard labor? (But not for all victims, it’s a roll of the dice.) Are they going to change the laws for the purpotrators of these crimes? Or will it be, at best 5-10 years, but probably none? How is this a modern, fair judicial system?

  • Synfandel

    Why would any woman vote Republican? I can’t fathom it.

  • DaveL

    @2 – They probably view it as being lenient compared to their preferred punishment of burying them up to the waist and stoning them to death.

  • smhll


    The victim could put the future baby up for adoption and miss out on the 18 years of hard labor IF the rapist surrenders parental rights AND anyone wants to adopt a baby conceived from rape. (Yeah, that doesn’t exactly make it all better.)

  • Oh, please! They’re giving women (in this case, “illegitimate rapees”, or “sluts”) the Freedom to not have to choose. The poor ones, anyway. Those of means enough to cross state or national lines (or of breeding classy enough to afford a suitably discretionate doctor), as always, have to bear the terrible burden of choice! Woe!

  • exdrone

    Unfortunately, I suspect that the far-righters support no exceptions because they suspect that they will be abused by women who want to justify having an abortion. By this twisted logic, they would believe that the cost of the few real cases is worth the benefit of stopping the “massive” number of fakers. It aligns with the conservatives’ ideological suspiciousness of social free-loading. Maybe I’m wrong.

  • uzza

    A fetus is a person, according to Republicans, and Under the Castle Doctrine/ Stand your Ground laws, beloved by these same Republicans, one has a right to use lethal force against a person who unlawfully or forcefully enters a dwelling or place of residence where one has a right to be.

    Why then is abortion not self-defense?

  • iknklast

    uzz, #8: because that is an unborn person. Once the person has been born, they are free to shoot them (especially if they are minority) or pray them to death, or feed them homeopathic remedies until they die of treatable diseases. Until they are born? No. Besides, the stand your ground laws may only be used by persons. You are assuming women are persons. That’s your mistake. The unborn person is a person; the woman is not a person. If they unborn person should happen to be born female, it will immediately give up any and all of the rights that accrued to it before it was born.

  • What we need is a campaign to convince every woman who is having an affair with a republican lawmaker to stop using birth control, because, as Scott DesJarlais has demonstrated, nothing makes a republican pro-choice faster than a pregnant mistress.

  • Now that is a clear assessment of the two parties. Refreshing to hear, more than the “both parties are equally bad” meme that gets so much press.

  • What we need is a campaign to convince every woman who is having an affair with a republican lawmaker to stop using birth control, because, as Scott DesJarlais has demonstrated, nothing makes a republican pro-choice faster than a pregnant mistress.

    That would be a punishment for whom, exactly? Last I checked, Scott was re-elected after they knew of his abortion choices. By a comfortable margin.

  • Why would any woman vote Republican? I can’t fathom it.

    I can. Because abortion is still legal in this country and women who vote Republican either do not forsee a need for it, or know that it’ll be around if they need it. For such women to stop voting Republican, they’ll need to be educated. Preferably not by a horrific personal experience.

  • “Preferably not by a horrific personal experience.”

    Why? People who don’t give a fuck about other people don’t deserve to get off easy. Fuck ’em.