Representative Todd Akin appeared on Mike Huckabee’s radio show today and was given a chance to clarify his “legitimate rape” comments, and what he said only made things worse.
Akin insisted that what he meant to say was “forcible rape.”
The reason that makes Romney and Ryan’s day worse is because Paul Ryan co-sponsored a bill in congress last year to redefine rape as “forcible rape.”
Last year, Ryan joined Akin as one of 227 co-sponsors of a bill that narrowed an exemption to the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding for abortions. The Hyde Amendment allows federal dollars to be used for abortions in cases of rape and incest, but the proposed bill — authored by New Jersey Representative Christopher H. Smith — would have limited the incest exemption to minors and covered only victims of “forcible rape.”
House Republicans never defined what constituted “forcible rape” and what did not, but critics of the bill suggested the term could exclude women who are drugged and raped, mentally handicapped women who are coerced, and victims of statutory rape.
Akin’s clarification that he meant to say forcible rape instead of legitimate rape demonstrates that “legitimate rape” wasn’t a gaffe. Both terms have the same ends.
The conservative notion is that some forms of rape are real, and other forms are not. They believe that some women are simply asking for it. Because they dressed a certain way, or said certain words, or were otherwise incapacitated.
President Obama responded to that notion during an appearance in front of the White House Press Corps today saying “rape is rape.” The president also said this is a good example of why male politicians should not be making healthcare decisions for women, and I certainly agree.
By the way — Todd Akin, the man who thinks women’s bodies have magical anti-pregnancy powers, is on the science committee!