We’ve been reading a lot of words recently about Missouri’s clownish Rep. Todd Akin and his stunningly poor understanding of human biology.
If you missed it, Akin is the congressman running for the Senate who made some inane comments about rape and abortion in a recent television interview.
“First of all, from what I understand from doctors, (pregnancy from rape) is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
He has since apologized for the remarks and is backtracking all over the place, but it’s hard not to believe that despite what he says now, these are indeed his true feelings.
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Needless to say, his particular case has been bantered about ad infinitum, so it’s not like I need to jump in and add a dog to the pile.
But I do have a few questions, and they’re not for Rep. Akin.
I’d like to speak directly to the voting bloc of Republican women, who are repeatedly faced with the prospect of supporting candidates and policies that seem to run counter to their own self-interests.
How do you vote for a party that repeatedly shows a misunderstanding bordering on outright disdain for some of your most personal and intimate issues?
How do you support men who think it’s OK to force you to undergo a state-mandated invasive probe before receiving a federally legal abortion, as was the issue earlier this year in Virginia?
How do you endorse a social crusade that has a clumsy habit of interjecting false science into our national debate, to the extent that we are repeatedly forced to debunk out-and-out lies like Akin’s cockamamie notion that a woman’s body can suppress pregnancy in the event of assault?
How do you stand by quietly as words like “forcible” and “legitimate” are ever allowed to precede words like “rape,” even if it’s only in a draft Republican mission statement?
I am not trying to denigrate you. I honestly want to know.
Perhaps you are ardently “pro-life,” and that would be the easiest explanation.
Or perhaps you’re holding your nose in the voting booth and picking the more preferable of two unpleasant choices, and that might be understandable, too.
But if you’re not “pro-life,” if you leave room to recognize the myriad rights of adult women over weeks-old unborn fetuses, how do you rationalize your support?
And if you don’t agree with this trend and have voted Republican anyway, doesn’t this chronic attitude — whether you call it a “war on women” or not — simply become too extreme to ignore at some point?
I would like to hear from Republican women in San Luis Obispo County about how they balance these competing concerns.
Do you agree with the tack your party is taking on women’s issues and, if not, are you still voting for the GOP and why?
I’ll share responses in an upcoming column.
Joe Tarica is the presentation editor for The Tribune. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.