Thursday, June 13, 2013

Akin obsession

Maybe it’s my preference for “right-wing” news sources, but I sense greater hysteria on the right over Todd Akin than on the left. Here we are, almost a year after Todd Akin’s innocuous comment about “legitimate” (i.e., forcible) rape, and the GOP consultant class is still obsessing.

The latest to libel Akin is Jonathan Tobin over at Commentary:

If there was one conclusion that surely everyone in the party agreed upon it was that GOP candidates and officials needed to avoid mentioning rape, especially when discussing their opposition to abortion. The spectacular idiocy of Missouri senatorial candidate Todd Akin—who publicly doubted that women could become pregnant as a result of rape—didn’t just transform his opponent Claire McCaskill from a certain loser to an easy winner and sink Indiana Republican Richard Mourdock, when the latter said something not quite as foolish. It also allowed Democrats to trash all Republicans as Neanderthal nitwits seeking to abuse women.

I am beyond exhausted with this gratuitous piling on. Akin is pro-life. So are a majority of Americans. Logical consistency dictates a child of rape is as valuable and precious as a child of a loving marriage.

fetusAkin said a woman’s body “shuts down” a pregnancy after rape. He said this to throw cold water on pro-choicers’ beloved rape exception, which for them serves as a slippery slope, a gateway to a hundred other kinds of exceptions to allow abortion.

You would think, the way the question is framed, that thousands—maybe tens of thousands—of pregnancies result from rape every year. This isn’t true. For every 170,000 estimated rapes in the United States every year, between 0.1% and 0.2% result in pregnancy. That’s between 170 and 340 pregnancies per year.

To avoid the question about rape exception, which Tobin wants, is to concede to the terms of political correctness. To point out the rarity of pregnancy resulting from rape, as Akin did, is to bring proper perspective to the abortion debate, perspective Tobin doesn’t want.

Tobin continues:

But apparently Arizonan Republican Representative Trent Franks didn’t get the memo. Franks demonstrated that yesterday when he claimed during a Judiciary Committee debate that the incidence of pregnancy from rape is “very low.” But Franks had to repeat the assertion even in a later clarification before he realized what he had done. With a single phrase, Franks had handed Democrats on the committee and elsewhere a chance to revive their fake “War on Women” theme that helped mobilize the Democratic base in 2012.

Regardless what the pro-choice scoundrels do, Franks’ point is accurate. The physical and emotional trauma of rape significantly reduces the likelihood of a successful pregnancy. Why is this so difficult to understand? Is it the consultant class’s anxiety that the mindless, phony perception of the misogynistic GOP will be reinforced by the phony perception of the GOP giving tough love to rape victims?

If so, then we should remind people, when truthtellers like Akin and Franks speak up, that counseling and support for rape victims are a given. That is not the issue being debated! The issue is the sanctity of life. On that, pro-lifers have a winning message.

P.S.: Why is there such mortal fear of the truth? The beginning of an answer can be found here.

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