In August, Akin caused an uproar when he said that victims of what he termed "legitimate rape" hardly get pregnant because "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." The scientific accuracy of his statement was questioned and he defended himself by suggesting that his comment was a misstatement that does not reflect his views.
Todd Akin on abortion
Slate's Amanda Marcotte
, reports that Akin gave a speech on the House floor in 2008, in which he railed against abortion providers, calling them "terrorists," saying that they often perform abortions on women who "are not actually pregnant." He said:
"It is no big surprise that we fight the terrorists because they are fundamentally un-American, and yet we have terrorists in our own culture called abortionists. One of the good pieces of news why we are winning this war is because there are not enough heartless doctors being graduated from medical schools. There is a real shortage of abortionists. Who wants to be at the very bottom of the food chain of medical profession? And what sort of places do these bottom-of-the-food-chain doctors work in? Places that are really a pit. You find that along with the culture of death go all kinds of other law-breaking: not following good sanitary procedure, giving abortions to women who are not actually pregnant, cheating on taxes, all these kinds of things, misuse of anesthetics so that people die or almost die. All of these things are common practice, but all of that information is available for America."
According to Global Grind
, he also compared abortion to slavery, saying,
"There will be a day - just as there is today, where people say, 'Who would ever support slavery?' In the future, there will be a day when men will say, 'Who would have ever supported something so un-American as abortion?'"
Akin's statement that doctors perform abortions on women who are not pregnant has raised puzzled queries. NY Magazine
, however, speculates on what Akin probably meant:
"The accusation may seem bizarre, but we think we know what Akin is alluding to: There probably have been some abortion doctors who tell patients that they are pregnant just so they can make some money off of a phony abortion... Just like your other doctors may prescribe you medications you don't necessarily need or offer expensive procedures you could do without... just like your mechanic might tell you might need a new 'Johnson rod' when that doesn't even exist."
, however, concludes:
"This hardly means that Akin was right. Such treachery is rare and far from 'common practice,' as Akin puts it. And the so-called abortion 'culture of death' doesn't lead to law-breaking; law-breaking is found in every field and industry. Congress — a culture of law-making — included. In other words, Akin's argument here is not very, well, legitimate."
"It is clearly lost on Akin that the image he's invoking—of dirty clinics that operate illegally and misuse pain medication—is the reality he's trying to create. He wants to ban abortion, which is a surefire way to get a whole bunch of illegal, underground clinics that aren't held accountable to standard medical practice. If you want clean, safe abortion, you need it to be legal."
Todd Akin on stem cell research
The Huffiington Post
reports that Akin was a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. In 2005, he gave a speech
against stem cell research, in which he suggested that a science fiction story his daughter wrote about organs being harvested from living persons could come true if stem cell research is tolerated. According to Slate
, Akin in the video
, conjures a scary picture of the future in a world in which stem cell research is allowed to continue. "Step three" in the development of his "dystopian vision" pictures the final stage of evolution of stem cell research based on his daughter's science-fiction story. He said:
"My own daughter wrote a little story—I will read it—about step three. 'I live with 40 others in a compound, supervised by cool, efficient orderlies. Instead of playing, I stood pondering a troubling dream from the night before. It was of a loving father, giving his child a name. I’ve always been just 5-25-61-B.'"
Akin concluded his speech, urging his congressional colleagues, on the grounds of his daughter's dystopian fantasy: "Oppose public funding that destroys little yous and mes, and oppose this harvest of destruction."