Rape, Abortion And Akin’s Remarks

Furor after Missouri GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin talks of “legitimate rape.”  And the roots of that remark.

In this May 17, 2011 file photo, Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., announces his candidacy for U.S. Senate.   On August 19, Akin said in a TV interview that women's bodies can prevent pregnancies in "a legitimate rape" and that conception is rare in such cases. (AP)

In this May 17, 2011 file photo, Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., announces his candidacy for U.S. Senate. On August 19, Akin said in a TV interview that women’s bodies can prevent pregnancies in “a legitimate rape” and that conception is rare in such cases. (AP)

And so we’ve got a firestorm over comments on women, rape and pregnancy by Republican U.S. Senate candidate from Missouri, Todd Akin.  His comments made you wonder if you’d heard right.  Akin said that in “legitimate rape” women rarely get pregnant.  That their bodies have “ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Now Democrats are in an uproar.  Republicans, too.  They want him out of the race.  Out of sight.  But Congressman Akin is not a space alien.  He’s worked very closely with Paul Ryan on abortion.  His comments didn’t come from nowhere.

This hour, On Point:  Todd Akin, the GOP, and the roots of the “legitimate rape” moment.

-Tom Ashbrook


Jo Mannies, political reporter for the non-profit news organization the St. Louis Beacon, and writer for the Beacon’s blog “backroom.”

Julie DeCesare,  professor and program director of the OB-GYN residency program at Florida State University.

Mary Kate Cary, contributing editor and blogger for U.S. News and World Report.  Former speechwriter for George H. W. Bush.

Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women.

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times “In an effort to explain his stance on abortion, Representative Todd Akin, the Republican Senate nominee from Missouri, provoked ire across the political spectrum on Sunday by saying that in instances of what he called ‘legitimate rape,’ women’s bodies somehow blocked an unwanted pregnancy.”

CNN “Incendiary remarks by a Republican Senate candidate shifted the political focus Monday to abortion and women’s rights, while certain GOP nominee Mitt Romney and his conservative running mate kept their rhetoric trained on President Barack Obama.”

The Associated Press Since Mitt Romney selected Paul Ryan as his running mate, the presidential campaign’s focus has largely centered on the Wisconsin congressman’s ambitious plan to transform Medicare and slash government spending. But President Barack Obama’s re-election team and its allies have also been highlighting the congressman’s staunchly anti-abortion stance, hoping to buttress its argument that the Republican ticket is hostile to women’s rights.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Nov 24, 2015
This photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site Monday, Nov. 23, 2015 shows fuel tanks  hit during the attack of Russian warplanes in Syria. Russian warplanes on Monday attacked oil extraction, transport and refinement facilities in areas controlled by Islamic State militants. (AP Photo/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)

ISIS, Inc. The terrorist organization is raking in billions –from oil, grain, antiquities, and taxes. We look at how to break the ISIS bank. Plus, Turkey downs a Russian plane. We’ll have the latest.

Nov 24, 2015
An archival image of a McKinley - Hobart Presidential Campaign Poster from 1896. (Public Domain / WikiCommons)

Republican political strategist Karl Rove is thinking about the McKinley 1896 campaign and the GOP field right now. Karl Rove is with us.

Nov 23, 2015
(Clockwise From Top Left) Filmmaker Lindsay Catherine Harris, Ko Smith, Kailya Warren and Bryant Koger in still images from Harris' "Evoking the Mulatto" multimedia project. (Courtesy the Filmmaker)

Mixed-race America in the time of Black Lives Matter and demographic change. We’ll talk race, identity and the film project “Evoking the Mulatto”.

Nov 23, 2015
In this file photo released May 14, 2015 by a militant website, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, a member of the Islamic State group's vice police known as "Hisba," right, reads a verdict handed down by an Islamic court sentencing many they accused of adultery to lashing, in Raqqa City, Syria. (AP)

New York Times columnist Roger Cohen says the US needs to step up in the fight against ISIS. But there’s a caution flag, too. We’ll dive in.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Karl Rove Still Won’t Get Involved In The 2016 G.O.P. Primary
Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015

Karl Rove may say he’s not endorsing or getting involved in the 2016 G.O.P. presidential primary, but that won’t stop from offering advice on how to beat Republican front runner Donald Trump.

More »
Roger Cohen And Barry Posen On ISIS
Monday, Nov 23, 2015

A brief, but illustrative exchange between Barry Posen and Roger Cohen during our conversation on ISIS today.

More »
On Point Favorites For Your Holiday Travel
Friday, Nov 20, 2015

A few On Point staff favorites for your upcoming holiday travel listening pleasure.

More »