I am late to the Todd Akin ‘controversy,’ learning about it first on the Rush Limbaugh show while out doing some driving. I kept waiting to hear what the cause of the controversy was… and waiting… and waiting. When I got home, I read up on it and I was frankly stunned how tiny the ‘infraction’ was.
About that infraction. Rush Limbaugh says that this bit about a woman’s body shutting down while being raped is a bunch of hogwash, but the kind of thing that gets passed around by people who only talk to like-minded people; this contradicts what Rush says about how it gets employed to persuade people to their view–in this case, a pro-life view. It seems obvious to me that you can’t have something that is contrived only to persuade people who don’t have your view to come to your view while that same thing is only shared among like-minded people.
Now, I’ve been involved in the pro-life movement for about five years, and I have to say that I’ve never heard any pro-life share this bit of argumentation. In fact, I’ve only heard this bit of argumentation once in my life–and this is the interesting thing: it was presented to me by a pro-choice atheist friend of mine in defense of his views.
The argument was employed in response to my assertion that the evolutionary ethic ought to entail men trying to impregnate as many women as they possibly could in order to spread their genes. This assertion is irrefutable on evolutionary grounds. It is refutable… but not if evolution is the true account of our origins. My friend gave me a very thorough biological description of the woman’s body’s defense mechanism against forced intercourse, suggesting that our social mores against rape are an unconscious societal acknowledgement of these biological truths. In other words, my atheist pro-choice friend was saying “the woman’s body shuts down.”
At the time, I didn’t think to challenge him on his biological assertions, mainly because I didn’t believe they really answered the charge. However, in his mind, they did. I guess I’m lucky that in all these years I never repeated his account, because apparently I would have been saying something so utterly horrific that it goes far beyond such little things (by comparison) as Bill Clinton having oral sex performed on him by an intern, in the Oval Office, while on the phone with foreign leaders discussing putting troops in harm’s way. Even Rush provided an example–Rep. Kerry Gauthier, a Democrat from Duluth, MN, who admitted having a ‘sexual encounter’ with a 17 year old boy at a rest stop. There have not been any calls, to my knowledge, for him to step down, which is interesting, because he actually did something really crude, whereas Akin merely said something that may or may not be factually correct… a very common thing in the political arena, if I may say.
So now of course I’m going to have to research it to find out the ‘truth.’ If my atheist friend is wrong, I guess he’s going to have to re-visit his rationale for asserting that rape is actually, legitimately ‘wrong’ on the basis of his evolutionary values. If Akin is wrong, he’ll have to re-visit his rationale for not allowing abortions in the case of rape… which, despite whatever reason one may wish to offer for it, is in fact rare compared to abortions used as general contraception.
But is it career ending? Seriously?
The words that I have for that notion are not appropriate for this website.
But the upshot is this: no rationale person would conclude that Akin should withdraw from the race because of this, and feeding into calls that he does only feeds into a growing national insanity. In defense of folks like Rush, whom I respect and like, I will concede that it is not this, per se, that they offer for why he should withdraw.
Honestly, it’s time for the grown-ups to get back in charge, and forcing Akin out over this is like letting whiny children get their way just because they whine.
Personally, I doubt very much that the woman’s ‘body shuts down’, because I have heard too many stories of women being taken, even dragged, to the abortion clinic by their own fathers to ‘get rid of the evidence.’ The clinic, naturally, supports a father’s choice to override the woman’s choice about what to do with her own body… when the clinic stands to make, literally, a killing on it.
But I suppose now that this has come out, I’ll have to try to get to the bottom of it.
In the meantime, while I have little hope for the political left in this country, could I at least get the conservatives to grow up? Or, barring that, grow a spine?
This whole episode illustrates well why I have little faith in the GOP and no confidence that they will defend my values in the political arena.