Breathtaking Ignorance

I know I shouldn’t be surprised by this kind of thing anymore, but Congressman Todd Akin (R-MO), whom Missouri voters may decide to elect as their next U.S. Senator, displays a truly breathtaking level of ignorance. This is the same Mr. Akin who endorses eliminating the federal school lunch program for needy children.

What has now elevated him to national prominence is his contention yesterday that abortion should be outlawed even for rape victims because women who are raped almost never become pregnant. This is, of course, flatly untrue. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” he stated, apparently echoing an urban legend widely circulated in the antiabortion movement.

This issue goes far beyond Mr. Akin. He speaks for a large part of his party. Despite protestations from the Romney-Ryan campaign today (in response to the electoral radioactivity of the Akin controversy) that they do not oppose abortion for rape victims, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan is on record supporting (and co-sponsoring with Akin) a bill which would define life in federal law as beginning at the moment of fertilization, thereby outlawing all abortion as the equivalent of murder. It would also likely outlaw in vitro fertilization and some forms of birth control as well.

If this bill reflects your own position on the issue (and I know that is the case with some of my Facebook friends who will receive this post), this will likely come as no surprise. For others, it may be something of a shock. If so, I hope you’ll look into it more deeply.

I am thankful to Congressman Akin for clearly stating his views, so that all can see them for what they are and so voters in Missouri and elsewhere can consider them when going to the polls in November.