Akin to Idiocy

By Anna Boratyn
Executive Opinion Editor
|A week ago, Republican Representative Todd Akin infuriated much of America with his very own brand of medical expertise in an interview with KTVI-TV.
“It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down,” Akin said.
There are several things wrong with Akin’s knowledge of female anatomy.
First is Akin’s assumption—a woman’s body, cannot, in fact, “shut the whole thing down”.
Second is his apparent belief that female rape victims who conceive aren’t rape victims.  Evidently, if you’ve been raped, and you’ve somehow gotten pregnant, you haven’t been raped.  You’re in love.  Congratulations.
Thirdly, the word “legitimate,” while a super description of Driver ID’s and ACT tests, doesn’t describe the assault of a woman that leaves not only physical but psychological scars.
Third is the fact that Akin is a middle-aged man whose lack of knowledge about women epitomizes what many fear—that middle-aged white men shouldn’t be making decisions about women’s health.
What politicians believe in terms of women’s health and rights varies. After Akin’s statement, both Republicans and Democrats fled the scene at lightning speed. First, Mitt Romney called the comments “uninformed” and “offensive.” (Let’s restrain some of those feelings, Mr. Romney.)
President Barack Obama condemned Akin’s comments, releasing a statement: “Rape is rape, and the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we are talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people and certainly doesn’t make sense to me.”
Romney actually does hold a relatively reasonable stance on the issue of abortion—he would ban it except in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is at risk. However, his running mate, Paul Ryan, would outlaw abortion even in cases of rape or incest.
Akin’s “legitimate rape comment” means something outside of the context of one uninformed, misogynistic individual saying stupid things.  It means that women’s health decisions aren’t being made by women’s studies majors, gynecologists or obstetricians.
They’re being made by Political Science Majors.  Namely, not female Political Science Majors.  Even more namely, Todd Akin is on the House of Committee of Science, Space and Technology.  This is a man who thinks a uterus has an opinion.
Over the past year, women’s health controversies have erupted.  For example,  Sandra Fluke- Rush Limbaugh’s controversy, when Georgetown student Sandra Fluke addressed a speech to (a mostly male) Congress about the importance of insurance coverage for contraceptives.
Her speech might have faded into obscurity had Rush Limbaugh not watched C-Span, proceeded to call Fluke  a “slut” and “prostitute,” and give a non-apology once his sponsors began to withdraw from his radio show.
In international news, the Dominican Republic (a low percentage of women in government, of course), anti-abortion laws caused doctors to waffle over a pregnant girl with leukemia. Chemotherapy would kill her child but save her.  Leukemia would kill them both.
Unfortunately, the cancer had progressed so far that the 16-year-old girl died by the time the chemotherapy was authorized.
There is a solution to the howling, gnashing of teeth and idiotic gynecological assertions. It’s allowing women to make the calls about women.