Some of the Republican's party's top spokespeople spent this Tuesday morning pouring gasoline on the house fire started by Missouri Senate Candidate Todd Akin yesterday.
In what can only be seen as bracing news for progressives, Akin told Hike Huckabee on his radio show today that he is staying in the race, despite establishment Republicans leaning on him to get out. This is because of his statements about how rape victims generally don't get pregnant because they secrete some sort of anti-pregnancy hormone when they are attacked.
It gets better. The more Republicans that step up to the microphone, the more it becomes clear that Akin's point of view is shared by a goodly portion of the Grand Old Party.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), much to the embarrassment of every native Hawkeye, told a Sioux City, Iowa, TV reporter yesterday he supported Akin. Even more telling, he said when asked what if someone isn’t forcibly raped and for example, a 12-year-old who gets pregnant? Should she have to bring this baby to term? :
Well I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way and I’d be open to hearing discussion about that subject matter. Generally speaking it’s this: that there millions of abortions in this country every year. Millions of them are paid for at least in part by taxpayers. I think it’s immoral for us to compel conscientious objecting taxpayers to fund abortion through the federal government, or any other government for that matter. So that’s my stand. And if there are exceptions there, then bring me those exceptions let’s talk about it. In the meantime it’s wrong for us to compel pro-life people to pay taxes to fund abortion.
Let that sort of flow straight into your mind. A congressman, a member of the U. S. House of Representatives, has never heard of a girl getting pregnant from incest of statutory rape. We suppose they didn't get a copy of the Guttenmacher Institute's report in 1996 saying that “at least half of all babies born to minor women are fathered by adult men." He hasn't seen the numerous ad campaigns linking statutory rape and teen pregnancy. They don't get a lot of news there in that part of Iowa, we suppose.
Besides, getting pregnant from a rape -- as rare as Akin says it is -- should be considered a blessing, according to a leading Missouri Republican.
The New York Times reports today:While Republicans at the national level were in a hurry to shove him aside, Republican opinion had not hardened against Mr. Akin in Missouri, in part because of the salience of the abortion issue. “The congressman is totally, firmly, solidly pro-life,” Sharon Barnes, a member of the state Republican central committee, said, adding that Mr. Akin believed “that abortion is never an option.”
Ms. Barnes echoed Mr. Akin’s statement that very few rapes resulted in pregnancy, adding that “at that point, if God has chosen to bless this person with a life, you don’t kill it.”
“That’s more what I believe he was trying to state,” she said. “He just phrased it badly.”
Ms. Barnes said that she believed that the controversy would blow over, and that once people in the state became more familiar with Mr. Akin, they would learn “what a great, conservative, godly man Todd Akin is, and they’ll put his comment in its proper context.”
One can only hope.
Paul Ryan, the Veep Candidate in waiting, worked with Akin on a bill that would have changed the "rape exception" in anti-abortion legislation to mean "forcible rape" -- which can be taken to mean a woman who was raped and got pregnant had better make damn sure she can prove she took every step to defend herself and fight back, but was overpowered because had a gun to her head and a knife at her throat and a Virginia doctor standing by with a transvaginal ultrasound probe.
Ryan took time off from lying about his wealthy mother having to rely on Medicare and Social Security to place a personal phone call to Akin yesterday. It was reported in Politico, but the Romney/Ryan campaign refuses to confirm or deny the report.
“If he has spoken or does speak to Representative Akin, that will be a private conversation,” Ryan aide Michael Steel told POLITICO on Monday evening while aboard the Ryan campaign plane from Boston to Pittsburgh.
The official campaign stance -- for now:
“Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape,” the Romney campaign said in a statement responding to Akin’s comments.
Check back later. No telling when Romney will change his mind. Again.
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