Rep. Todd Akin’s views typical in anti-abortion religious right

Rep. Todd Akin’s views typical in anti-abortion religious right August 21, 2012

Missouri Rep. Todd Akin’s future as the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate may be decided today.

It seems to come down to a clash between the party establishment — campaign strategists and party officials — and the religious right. The politicos view Akin as damaged goods and want him to withdraw from the race in order to improve the GOP’s chances at picking up the Senate seat. The religious right views Akin as a faithful warrior whose only misstep was verbal.

As Pema Levy explains for Talking Points Memo: “If Akin stays in the race, it will be with the support of the Christian right, who stood by during the fallout Monday, but likely without his party’s infrastructure behind him.”

And make no mistake about it: the religious right is standing by Akin.

Missouri Right to Life and the Susan B. Anthony List quickly came forward with statements of support for Akins.

The Liar Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, has been growling at GOP officials who have criticized Akin, warning them to “be careful” lest they incur the wrath of anti-abortion voters.

And FRC’s “Action PAC” released a statement defending Akin from what it called “gotcha politics”:

“This is another case of ‘gotcha politics’ against a conservative leader,” FRC Action President Connie Mackey said in a statement. “Todd Akin has a long and distinguished record of defending women, children and families. He has fought against forcing taxpayers to subsidize abortion giant Planned Parenthood, which is the bedrock of Claire McCaskill’s base of support.”

He concluded by saying: “We know Todd Akin, and FRC Action PAC enthusiastically endorses his candidacy.”

For the religious right — the anti-abortion, Christianist “pro-life” wing of the Republican party — Akin is guilty of candor, not heresy. He made explicit the views that they prefer to keep implicit, but they have applauded or yawned in response to similar statements for many years now.

What Akin said was ludicrous, but the views he expressed are not at all unusual in his evangelical subculture, his political party or the anti-abortion movement as a whole.

It was ludicrous in at least two ways. First there is the bogus science — the utterly wrong claim that pregnancy from rape “is really rare” because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” And second there is the cruel victim-blaming — the distinction between rape and “legitimate” rape, with the implication that some rape victims are somehow not legitimately victims.

But do not think that this makes Todd Akin a fringe character or puts him out of step with the mainstream of the “pro-life” movement. He repeated an absurd and patently offensive urban legend, but he did not invent this urban legend.

That’s the thing about urban legends, no one knows who started them. They just seem to arise, organically, and then to circulate endlessly wherever they find a receptive audience. And this legend has had a receptive audience in the anti-abortion movement for decades.

Like many people who receive and then excitedly pass on such myths, Akin added his own little flourishes. He prefaced his restatement of this urban legend by saying, “from what I understand from doctors” — the kind of vaguely authoritative attribution often used to suggest that an incredible assertion should be treated credibly.

But the rest of what Akin said was standard boilerplate for this particular urban legend. It’s something he repeated because he had heard it repeated, over and over, in his evangelical, GOP and anti-abortion circles.

Anyone who’s spent any time in those circles recognizes this. Some people are tactically claiming now that they’d never heard such a thing before — that this was some novel, innovative new claim being made by Todd Akin.


Akin didn’t say anything new. Both parts of his awful statement are things that other anti-abortion political and religious leaders have said before — things they have been saying for years. And such statements have never been controversial within the religious right.

If you’ve ever been a part of the “pro-life” movement, or spent any time immersed in that movement, then you’ve heard this all before. As SR notes at Talking Points Memo:

I grew up awash in the Pro-Life reasoning, and this idea of “real rape” (typically defined as the stranger assaulting the victim in a violent manner) preventing pregnancy was the standard response to the Pro-Choice argument about making exceptions for rape and incest.

The reasoning (as I recall it being explained) is that during acute stress, the body will prevent implantation, or else miscarry, due to the hormones released in response to stress. Now, any OB/GYN can explain to a Pro-Life person why this isn’t the case, but like the way any lawyer could easily dismantle the Birther argument, the truth doesn’t matter. The problem is how does a Pro-Life justify forcing rape victims to carry their babies to term, and the solution is to say that “real” rape victims don’t get pregnant and those who claim they were raped are disproven by the fact that she hadn’t miscarried. Shamefully, the second half of that justification includes dismissing the claims of rape victims who weren’t assaulted in the stereotypical manner, and even then, there are doubts about the veracity of the claims.

I don’t think this is what all Pro-Life people think, but this is what I heard growing up, and I never questioned it myself.

As SR says, not all anti-abortion people believe this particular mythology, but they are all aware of its presence and pervasiveness in the movement. And like so many other easily disprovable urban legends within that movement, this lie has been allowed to thrive, unchecked, unchallenged and uncorrected. For many, many years.

Sarah Kliff puts it well: “Rep. Todd Akin is wrong about rape and pregnancy, but he’s not alone.” Kliff recalls Stephen Freind, the Pennsylvania legislator who was a rock-star in the anti-abortion movement. Freind made a career out of arguing exactly what Akin just said. He spent years in Harrisburg trying to get this urban legend written into law.

As Republican pundit David Frum says, Akin’s outrageous statement “is not one man’s mental spasm” — but an expression of the same ideology shared and promoted by leading anti-abortion crusaders in Congress, such as Rep. Chris Smith.

Garance Franke-Ruta has more on the lineage and pedigree of Akin’s particular variations of this ideology.

Brian Tashman reports on the current status of this mythology within the anti-abortion movement:

Human Life International says “it is very useful to be able to show just how rare rape- and incest-caused pregnancies really are” in order to expose women who falsely state they were raped in order to have abortions: “Women who are willing to kill their own preborn children for mere convenience obviously see lying as a relatively small crime.”

40 Days for Life, the group which holds hundreds of protests outside of abortion clinics throughout the country, in “ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments” also says that pregnancies resulting from rape are “extremely rare” and “can be prevented.”

And, Tashman notes, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association has been loudly defending the substance of Akin’s comments. “Todd Akin is right,” Fischer tweeted, “physical trauma of forcible rape can interfere w/hormonal production, conception.”

Fischer links to an article by John Willke, who was president of the National Right to Life Committee for 10 years. Willke cannot be dismissed as some kind of fringe figure in the anti-abortion movement. And Willke has been saying just what Akin said since at least the 1990s.

Willke’s advocacy of those same views never sparked any controversy within the anti-abortion movement. He was not criticized or called on to qualify his views, even though his remarks were no different than Akins’. The science was just as fraudulent, the victim-blaming was just as vile.

Todd Akin is not unusual. Todd Akin is not alone. The pernicious, ridiculous lies he got in trouble for are widespread and blandly typical throughout the anti-abortion movement within the GOP and within the Republican voting bloc that has replaced what used to be evangelical Christianity.

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  • Nathaniel

     Yet I notice none of these so enlightened people are calling for him to resign, as they did for a man who got head from an intern.

  • sharon

    Pregnancy after a rape can be avoided–it’s called Plan B.

    But aren’t Pastors Akin, Huckabee, Romney, et. al. hewing to a much older urban legend, the definition of and consequences of rape from the Hebrew Scriptures? If it takes places in the city and no one hears the victims cries for help, then it’s not “real” rape. 

  • AnonymousSam

    Someone quoted this the other day and it deserves to be brought up again.

    Being unable to get pregnant from rape isn’t a new idea.  It’s nearly four centuries old.

    Rape is the carnal abusing of a woman against her will. But if she conceives upon any carnal abusing of her, that is no rape, for she cannot conceive unless she consent.

    Old white religious men: more knowledgeable about women’s bodies than women are despite being sworn to chastity since 1627. Well actually, since forever, but if you want to get technical about it, the collegiate term is “too goddamned long.”

  • PJ Evans

     And their presumptive VP nominee has been all in on that anti-abortion/pro-personhood movement for some time.

  • PJ Evans

     Actually, he still has a good chance of winning. He won the primary election, and McCaskill is not popular even among Democrats.

  • PJ Evans

    It’s nearly four centuries old.

    Someone elsewhere tracked down sources, and found some of the same ideas in a Roman medical book, mid-Imperial period.

  • aunursa

    With just four months left in his term, there’s little point in calling for him to resign.  It’s not as if he took an action that is illegal … or unethical (by congressional standards.)  If saying something that is breathtakingly offensive and false was considered grounds for resignation, many more representatives from both parties would have shortened legislative careers.

    And presumably some of the pressure for him to resign had to do with the urgency — the deadline to withdraw from the race was today at 5:00 PM.  He could still quit the race over the next few weeks, but it would take a court order to remove his name from the ballot.

  • aunursa

    Actually, he still has a good chance of winning. He won the primary election, and McCaskill is not popular even among Democrats.

    The primary results
    Akin 36%
    Brunner 30%
    Steelman 29%

    He won the primary with 36% of the vote.  Since he was widely considered to be the weakest general election opponent, the McCaskill campaign used ads to identify him as the most conservative candidate specifically in order to encourage conservative voters to vote for him.  If he had shared his dissertation on “legitimate rape” before the primary vote, he would have finished no better than third place. McCaskill is the luckiest incumbent in this election cycle.

  • aunursa

    [B]arely two weeks into the general-election campaign, “Akin committed a series of gaffes. He called a McCaskill campaign website attacking his record accurate, admitted not knowing what was in a farm bill important to his state, suggested reconsideration of civil-rights laws, and called a federal school-lunch program unconstitutional. Akin’s recent statement that “legitimate rape” rarely causes pregnancy, while uniquely offensive, was just the worst in a series of statements advertising his unsuitability and the final straw that caused GOP leaders to conclude that he is unelectable against even the extremely vulnerable McCaskill.

  • Ursula L

    Already done.  It’s not available OTC to children under 17, but it is OTC for everyone else. 

    While the medication may be technically OTC, in that you don’t need a prescription to buy it, the age restriction means that the medication is, in fact, kept behind the counter.  If you’re over 17 and you want it, you have to go to the pharmacist and ask.  Perhaps show ID and proof of age, perhaps have your information recorded so the pharmacist can prove that they have not sold to anyone underage.  (I’m not sure of the details of enforcement for the age restriction.)  

    And what happens if the pharmacist decides they don’t believe your ID is yours? Consider the problem of forged/borrowed IDs and underage drinking.  A pharmacist who is as careful about distribution of the medicine as we’d like liquor store owners to be with vodka will not necessarily sell to everyone who is legally eligible.  What happens to a rape victim whose wallet was stolen when they were attacked, taking away their ID and proof of age?  When you’re desperate, money can be borrowed, but only your own legal ID is actually your legal ID.  

    And that doesn’t even get to the problem of anti-choice pharmacists who willfully choose to “doubt” every ID for their own ideological reasons.

    And if there is an age restriction on who can buy, it implies the need for an enforcement mechanism to ensure that retailers aren’t selling to people who  can’t legally buy.  How do they do that?

    If pharmacists have to track the number of doses that come into the store, and the age/ID of who it is sold to in order to prove that they didn’t sell to anyone underage, that creates a record of every person who bought the medication.  And who will have the right to access to these records?  Who will find a way to get access to these records, even if they don’t have the right?

    Consider all the trouble you have to go through, these days, to buy pseudo-ephedrine when you want to treat cold or allergy symptoms.  Even though it is an “over the counter” medication, you have to approach the pharmacist, ask for the medication, there is a limit on how much you can buy, and they keep a record that you bought it. 


    For the medicine to be genuinely over the counter, it needs to be sold like aspirin.   It’s on the shelf.  You pick it up, you  can go to the store’s self-checkout machine, pay cash, and no one will know, no one can know that you bought it, and no one will care, any more than if you bought a bottle of aspirin when you had a headache. 

    If you need someone to get the medication for you from behind the pharmacy counter, it isn’t over-the-counter for the purposes of the person needing access to the medication, for all that OTC is sometimes used as a synonym for “you don’t need a doctor’s prescription.”  If a pharmacist can decide to call your ID fake and refuse to sell to you, then you don’t have access to the medication when you need it. 

  • Lori

    You are, as usual, missing the point. People here are appalled by Akin’s views. Most if not all of the people you listed are just appalled that he said them out loud in an unambiguous way. You can tell because we complain about this lie every time it surfaces and they complained only when it caused the GOP embarrassment. They get no brownie points for this. They aren’t objecting to Akin’s views, they’re objecting to him damaging the GOP brand.

  • Lori


    Honestly, I’m surprised the right wing of the GOP doesn’t complain that abortion takes away jobs from hard-working storks.

  • All right, that’s it: the word “gaffe” needs to be removed from all dictionaries post-haste.  I’d long suspected it’d lost all meaning, but this is more confirmation than I ever needed.

  • aunursa


    I’m not asking for brownie points on behalf of anyone.  I couldn’t care less the reason that you think conservatives and the Republican establishment are appalled.  My point in documenting the tremendous pressure that Akin is receiving from them has nothing to do with whatever you think it is.

  • aunursa

    Perhaps the word doesn’t mean what you think it means.

  • People may ask you questions in order to be sure that you are not feeling pressured by anyone — but no one has the right to tell a woman whether or not she may have an abortion.  There is no legal waiting period and if you have a health card the procedure costs nothing.

    If my last Planned Parenthood visit was any indication, they typically ask you if anyone was pressuring you to go, to hedge against liability and claims from anti-choice groups that they pressure women (though I can attest that said question is asked of men as well.)

  • Considering how much they use it to trash Joe Biden, I’m with you on that.

  • Tonio

    At a bare minimum of human decency, any politician of Akin’s party who attempts to condemn him should disown the “forcible rape” language proposed for the Hyde Amendment last year, and also refute his unscientific bullshit about the female reproductive system. This also goes for people like Sean Hannity, who once defended the language. The calls for Akin to drop out sound disingenuous at best.

  • Matri

    “The reasoning (as I recall it being explained) is that during acute
    stress, the body will prevent implantation, or else miscarry, due to the hormones released in response to stress.”

    Aren’t these people who think that birth control is an abortificient if it causes an egg to fail to implant?

    You know, this coupled with their beloved “personhood amendment” means they get to ridicule women for getting pregnant from rape, and charge them with murder for NOT getting pregnant from rape.

  • PJ Evans

     The calls for him to drop out are mostly because he’s making people take a closer look at the GOP platform and what its presumptive nominees say. They’re practically identical.

  • Ursula L

    Thinking more about it, Akin’s use of the word “legitimate” to modify “rape” makes a great deal of sense, when you remember that he defines sexual morality according to a series of rules, rather than according to consent.

    ***So, you have the sexual rules for women.There are “virgins.”  These are unmarried women who have not previously had sex and who are under the authority of their fathers.  They are forbidden to have sex unless and until their father gives them in marriage, or as a concubine, or if she is sold as a slave or otherwise enslaved, such as through capture in wartime. There are wives.  Wives are obliged to have sex with their husbands, and forbidden to have sex with anyone else.There are concubines.  Concubines are obliged to have sex with their husbands, and forbidden to have sex with anyone else.  While we do not have official/legal concubines today, Akin would probably apply this rule to the situation of any woman who is living with or previously had sex with her boyfriend – for purposes of defining the legitimacy of sex she’s his concubine (degraded), and he’s her husband (has the right to control her, but doesn’t owe her the respect owed to a wife.)And there are slaves.  Who are obliged to have sex with their master, or as their master orders with others.  Akin would apply these rules to prostitutes, as a slave who has been rented by a temporary master.  So, for women, if a sexual act/encounter is obligatory (wives, concubines, slaves, translating to wives, concubines and prostitutes today) it can’t be rape, according to the rules.  It isn’t legitimate rape.If a sex act is forbidden, then a woman is obliged to refuse and resist.  If her refusal/resistance doesn’t meet Akin’s standard, then it isn’t rape.  Rather, the woman has committed the sin of a forbidden sex act.What is left – forbidden sex acts where their wasn’t his standard of resistance, is rape.***Then there are the rules for men.There are a wide variety of sexual activities men can have where they have the right to sex, and a woman is obliged to have sex with him.  That’s sex with your wife/wives, concubine(s) and prostitutes.  These are never rape.There are sex acts where the woman is obliged to refrain from sex.  Virgin daughters, the wives and concubines of other men.  If a man has sex in such a situation, that is a crime, not against the woman, but against the man who is officially in charge of the woman.  It is only when  a woman who is forbidden to have sex with him, resists to Akin’s standard, and is overwhelmed, that a man commits rape, according to Akin’s rules.***Now, this gets overlayed with the modern conservative Christian Evangelical idea that a man should only have sex with his wife. But with this added rule, it in no way changes what is or isn’t legitimately rape according to the rule’s above.  If a man has sex with a woman other than his wife, it’s a sin against God.  It doesn’t really change whether a woman is obliged or forbidden to have sex with him, and if forbidden, whether she resisted enough to make it “rape” under the rules.  ***

    So yeah, “legitimate rape.”  It accurately describes how he thinks of rape – something that has to do with laws and rules about sex, not consent.  And all the things that we call “rape” under a consent-based standard aren’t “legitimately” rape, because the man hasn’t broken the rules that apply to him with regard to that particular woman.  

  • Matri

    Ahh, so they’re afraid people will examine them too closely and find out that the GOP, in reality, have no fucking clue what they’re doing beyond making stuff up about non-GOPs?

  • LouisDoench

     My third child can attest to Lliiras premise. As can I after the ensuing incredibly painful procedure to a very sensitive area that has assured that there will not be a 4th child.

  • PJ Evans

     Pretty much. And that the GOP is run by rich white men who don’t really care what happens to anyone who isn’t also rich and white.

  • LouisDoench

     “My second piece of advice, have as many
    kids as you can, ‘cuz that makes it more likely that one of those
    kids’ll grow up an make it big in Hollywood. Then who’s payin’ the bills
    huh? Hollywood Kid. Class dismissed.” Peter Griffin

  • Ursula L

     “The reasoning (as I recall it being explained) is that during acute stress, the body will prevent implantation, or else miscarry, due to the hormones released in response to stress. ” 

    This is probably best understood, not as their reasoning, but as the way in which they provide pseudo-scientific explanation for what they believe is the actions of an activist creator-god in the world.

    Similar to how “intelligent design” is a pseudo-scientific explanation for their belief in young earth creationism.  

    According to how they are actually reasoning, God can act and intervene so that a woman who is raped won’t get pregnant.  And if God is good, then God will intervene in this way.  God is, by definition, good.  So therefore if a woman gets pregnant, she wasn’t really raped.  

    But they know they can’t really get away with that explanation in public discourse.  So they throw scientific-sounding words at the situation.  If you take the idea of “Intelligent Design” then an intelligent designer would design a feature in women that would keep a woman from getting pregnant when raped.  So they assume the presence of such a feature.  

  • mmy

    If my last Planned Parenthood visit was any indication, they typically ask you if anyone was pressuring you to go, to hedge against liability and claims from anti-choice groups that they pressure women (though I can attest that said question is asked of men as well.)

    In the case of the clinics in Ontario I think that there are a number of reasons for asking questions:

    a) the clinics are on the front line of the struggle to end domestic abuse and therefore take an active role in informing women about their rights and choices

    b) the clinics can sometimes help women to get access to other forms of government/community assistance. And it may even be the case that for some women who go into clinics planning to get abortions they end up not getting the procedure after finding out there are other options for financial and community assistance.

    c) within some communities in Canada there is a concern that women are being pressured to have abortions for the purpose of sex selection. The women still have a right to have such an abortion but clinics can play a major role in informing those women of their options/choices.

    d) the most important reason for talking/education women coming in for procedures is that even many Canadians are not aware that our “abortion laws” bear little resemblance to those in the United States. To oversimplify — Canada doesn’t actually have laws against abortion at all — what we have are “medical procedure guidelines” that vary somewhat from province to province and which are still the focus of ongoing contentions.

    In 1988 the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the existing law limiting abortion rights, saying among other things: Forcing a woman, by threat of criminal sanction, to carry a fetus to
    term unless she meets certain criteria unrelated to her own priorities
    and aspirations, is a profound interference with a woman’s body and thus
    a violation of her security of the person.

    Dr. Henry Morgentaler, the doctor whose fight to provide safe abortions to Canadian women who wanted them led to a series of court cases (and time in jail) was awarded the Order of Canada in 2008.

    Canadian doctors who provide abortion services have been shot, harassed and threatened by anti-abortion activists but the general public seems to have accepted as the (good) norm a world in which no abortion laws are necessary. Since Canada has (almost) universal health care employers aren’t even in the picture and limitations/restrictions on the procedure are based on provincial/local medical regulations. It isn’t a halcyon world of complete freedom and equity for all Canadian women but it is worlds away from what our American sisters live with.

  • Guest

    Plan B does not have a 100% effectiveness rate. Plan B is also not always accessible within the required time period due to age, lack of ID, geographical location, availability of transportation, and/or the whims of the distributing pharmacist.

  • Tricksterson

    Which is all to the good because if he withdrew they’d probably just replace him with someone who would support similar policies but was less obviously evil. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    The calls for Akin to drop out sound disingenuous at best.

    Oh, no, they’re being perfectly clear about what they want. They want McCaskill running against John Brunner or Sarah Steelman (probably Brunner, he got a few thousand more votes in the primary than Steelman). Neither Brunner nor Steelman has to my knowledge said anything appallingly ignorant and misogynistic in the media’s hearing, and therefore Brunner and Steelman both have a much better chance of beating McCaskill than Akin does, if only Akin steps aside to let Brunner or Steelman run in his place. Which I think it’s too late for him to do.

  • Tricksterson

    Never, and I mean never underestimate the power of human stupidity.

  • Tricksterson

    “‘While Todd may have been indiscreet in his word choice, he was not wrong in his facts'”

    YES.  HE.  WAS!  ARRRGH!

  • Tricksterson

    At least they had the partial excuse that medical science was crap back then.  Still bullshit but semi-understandable bullshit in that they probably didn’t know better.  Akins has no such excuse.

  • Tonio

     I wonder if this is a microcosm of the larger struggle that’s been going on between the traditional power structure in the GOP and the Tea Party upstarts. The former indulged the latter while they were politically useful and now are reaping what they sowed, such as with the debt ceiling battle. It’s fair to suggest that the ideological difference between the two is fairly small, that the real difference is about adherence to absolutes.

  • That’s persuasive, but I’m reminded that “nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public;” I’m particularly disinclined to bet against the ignorance of that portion of the American public that, in the not-too-distant past, elected John Ashcroft first to its statehouse and then to the U.S. Senate.

  • aunursa

    There is a September 25th deadline by which Akin could drop out.  He would need the approval of the Democratically-controlled state supreme court to have his name removed from the ballot, but others have indicated that it is a pro-forma requirement.  He would be required to pay the cost of reprinting any ballots, but it’s quite clear that Republicans would eagerly pony up that cost.

    Missouri has a “sore loser” law that disqualifies primary opponents John Brunner and Sarah Steelman; apparently had Akin dropped out by yesterday’s deadline, one of them could have replaced him on the ballot.  Instead, if Akin is convinced to quit the race by the September deadline, the likely Republican replacement would be former senator Kit Bond, who served from 1987-2011.  In addition to retaining a high approval rating, the short length of Bond’s name would make a write-in campaign easier — if it comes to that.

  • Cricket

    You have excellent points.  Unfortunately, many people ignore logic when making decisions.

  • My wife just pointed out an article in which a candidate for sheriff somewhere claimed he would use “deadly force” to stop abortions.

    I pointed out that it sounds less insane when you realize that to a movement pro-lifer, the woman is not actually a *person* who is involved in this process. No, to them, an abortion is a battle between a villainous abortion doctor and an innocent fetus. The woman isn’t an active participant, but rather, she’s just a *prop*, the *place* where the battle takes place. The abortion doctor, in their twisted fantasy, is Skeletor, and they are He-Man come to the rescue.

    And the woman? The woman is Castle Greyskull.

  • aunursa

    No, to them, an abortion is a battle between a villainous abortion doctor and an innocent fetus. The woman isn’t an active participant, but rather, she’s just a *prop*, the *place* where the battle takes place. The abortion doctor, in their twisted fantasy, is Skeletor, and they are He-Man come to the rescue.

    Reminds me of Foreskin Man versus Monster Mohel.

  • EllieMurasaki

    My wife just pointed out an article in which a candidate for sheriff somewhere claimed he would use “deadly force” to stop abortions.
    Okay, one, how can these people claim that no one on their side had anything to do with the murder of Dr. Tiller? Two, given that Dr. Tiller’s murder made late-term abortion a great deal more inconvenient but not inaccessible, how do they propose to use deadly force to stop abortions without killing the woman seeking an abortion and, of necessity, the fetus as well?

  • aunursa

    given that Dr. Tiller’s murder made late-term abortion a great deal more inconvenient but not inaccessible, how do they propose to use deadly force to stop abortions without killing the woman seeking an abortion and, of necessity, the fetus as well?

    From The Birdcage

    Senator Kevin Keeley: Of course, it’s very wrong to kill an abortion doctor. Many pro-lifers, I don’t agree with them, but many of them sincerely feel that if you stop the doctors, you stop the abortions.

    Armand (as “Mrs. Goldman”): Well that’s ridiculous. The doctors are only doing their jobs. If you’re going to kill someone, better to kill the mothers. That will stop them… Oh, I know what you’re going to say. “If you kill the mother, the fetus dies, too.” But the fetus is going to be aborted anyway, so why not let it go down with the ship?

  • aunursa

    Today’s Missouri Senate poll: McCaskill 48%, Akin 38%

  • Well, a majority of Missouri Republicans voted against him in the primary, so it’s no real surprise that a majority of Missouri Republicans don’t want him now either. That said, I’m idly curious how many people have changed their position on Akin, if any, and what their reasons were.

  • Lori

    This doesn’t really follow. The fact that a person is not my preferred candidate doesn’t necessarily mean that once they are, I won’t prefer him/her over the person from the other party. See: a significant minority, if not a majority, of the elections in which I’ve voted.

    People rallying to a candidate they didn’t previously like all that much because s/he is being attacked from outside the tribe is hardly unheard of either. Spun correctly “embattled” can be a winning strategy and if you look at the ad Akin ran right after this blew up you can see that he was really counting on that. The fact that it wasn’t actually liberals who were trying to get him to drop out may have impeded his ability to get it to work in this case, but it wasn’t totally unrealistic for him to try it.

  • aunursa

    Akin won the primary with just 36% of the vote.  In an August 1st survey (conducted before the primary) by the same pollster, Akin led McCaskill by 47% to 44%.  The current survey indicates a drop of 9%, or about 20% of his previous support. 

    According to the current survey, 91% of respondents said that they had followed the Akin story either very closely or somewhat closely.  Respondents weren’t asked the reason for their switch from Akin to McCaskill, but seriously, is there any doubt about what that reason is?

  • EllieMurasaki

    I don’t know if that’s an accurate representation of pro-life views, but if it is, it just proves that they don’t care about the babies, they just say they do in order to have an excuse to hurt women.

  • aunursa

    In the movie, Senator Keeley (Gene Hackman) is a Republican Senator from Ohio who is co-founder of the “Coalition for Moral Order.”  Armand (Nathan Lane) is an effeminate gay man who is the star of a South Beach drag club’s highly popular show.  In this scene, Armand is posing as a traditional conservative housewife.

    So, no, it’s not an accurate representation of pro-life views.


    seriously, is there any doubt about what that reason is?

    Maybe they now think he’ll lose, and they prefer that their party win.
    Maybe they now think about him differently and no longer support him.
    Maybe they don’t want to be associated with the beliefs he’s articulated.
    Maybe combinations.

  • aunursa

    The survey question was: “If the 2012 election for U.S. Senate were held today, would you vote for Republican Todd Akin or Democrat Claire McCaskill?”

    Based on the phrasing of the question I reject your first option.  I doubt that any significant number of respondents base their answers on how the survey results will affect Akin’s decision on whether or not to stay in the race.

    I don’t see much of a difference between your second and third options.  And while many participants on this blog have expressed the belief that Republicans and conservatives are angry with Akin only because he said out loud what is supposed to be whispered in secret, I, who have a great deal of interaction with the angry Repubs, don’t give any credence to that belief.