Legitimate Rape?

Who talks like this? GOP Senate hopeful Todd Akin made the remark in explaining why he opposes legal abortion even in cases of rape and incest. The phrase seems to suggest that there is such a thing as "illegitimate rape," as in, you know, she shouldn't have been wearing such a tight shirt. The whole episode is appalling.

Realizing his mistake, Akin tried to get out front of the mess he had made. He said he had reviewed what he characterized as an "off-the-cuff remark" and apologized, saying he "misspoke." This was not a slip of the tongue, as the transcript bears out. He began by saying he had had conversations with doctors about this. Just as outrageous is the idea that one could ever make an "off-the-cuff" remark about something as dreadful as rape.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, Akin's opponent, rightly said his remakrs should serve as a "gut check" for voters. Indeed they should. I, too, believe that there are no circumstances in which abortion is morally licit, including rape. I believe that abortion only compunds the tragedy. But, I understand why women feel differently and would never stand in judgment over someone who made such a decision, even a decision I think is a wrong one. And, I would never address such a tragic situation with an "off-the-cuff" attitude, still less with some kind of crackpot theory about insemination.


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