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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

Guests

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.

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