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Aug 20 2012

Legitimate Pinheads

When you cannot escape
Cos they’ve got it on tape
It’s “Legitimate Rape” to your credit

Now the system is broke,
Even GOP folk
Say you clearly misspoke when you said it

Still you must not lose face
With your radical base
You must keep them apace while you edit

Say you spoke off the cuff
But on rapists, you’re tough
Hope this whistle’s enough, and embed it.

But it’s out on the wire
And despite your desire
You have started a fire and you’ve fed it

Now, you miserable gent,
You begin your descent,
But your path only went where you led it.

You’ve likely heard already, about Rep. Todd Akin, who is the latest in a series of politicians and other abortion foes and clueless idiots to claim that rape (“legitimate rape”, that is) causes women’s reproductive systems to shut down, or emit a hormone, or otherwise actively prevent pregnancy from occurring. It’s a common enough myth that Planned Parenthood addresses it on their website:

I heard that a woman can’t get pregnant from being raped. Is that true?
No, it is not true. Women can and do get pregnant from rape. In fact, more than five percent of all rapes result in pregnancy. That is one reason why Planned Parenthood is fighting so hard to make it mandatory for emergency rooms across the country to offer emergency contraception to women who have been raped.

Emergency contraception can reduce the risk of pregnancy by 75 to 89 percent. More than 22,000 unwanted pregnancies a year could be prevented if all U.S. women who were raped were provided with emergency contraception.

A mixture of wishful thinking, Catholic school misinformation, and victim blaming (if she got pregnant, she must not have been legitimately raped), it’s a common enough belief that does not hold up to the slightest inquiry–but that does not stop it from flourishing. Confirmation bias works wonders–bad information that supports our world view is welcomed with open arms, while sound information that attacks it is fended off with all our ability. Akin “misspoke” (translation: got caught).

But what he said is what a sizable percentage of his base wants to hear, so he has to be careful in how he backs off. His “misstatement” was part of his “tough on crime” stance, wanting to punish rapists, but not punish the innocent babies. Presumably, when the microphones are off, he can even speak of punishing “legitimate” rapists, whom we can identify because they don’t actually create babies.

Note, though, in his concern for punishing rapists and protecting babies, which person has completely slipped beneath his radar. The woman is not even part of the formula. In backing off from his statement, Akin is forced to recognize half the population, and to express his “deep empathy” for them.

So deep is his empathy that it goes without saying. Apparently. At least, until someone points it out.

11 comments

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  1. 1
    dean

    This is quite the old piece of bullshit. While I remember my 10th grade biology teacher telling our class the same thing in 1972, it is apparently much older. A story I read this morning had this bit of history.

    The legal position that pregnancy disproved a claim of rape appears to have been instituted in the UK sometime in the 13th century. One of the earliest British legal texts, Fleta, has a clause in the first book of the second volume stating that:

    If, however, the woman should have conceived at the time alleged in the appeal, it abates, for without a woman’s consent she could not conceive.

    The story also mentioned a similar comment in Elements of Medical Jurisprudence, written by Samuel Farr, in 1814.

    Apparently we can’t say that some of the more extreme right-wingers have let hundreds of years of science contaminate them.

  2. 2
    The Lorax

    I chop down a tree, for wood and for tuft
    A reason perhaps, but is it enough?

    I fight for my country and lay down my foe
    But am I a murderer, or my people’s hero?

    A loaf and an apple I nick from the stand
    For poor hungry children with outreaching hands.

    A gun and a sack and a bank and a stash
    ‘Cause my mother is ill, and I don’t have the cash.

    A vague line is drawn whenever you glean
    What’s right and what’s wrong and what’s in-between.

    But some things there are that we cannot reshape
    A slippery slope we cannot escape
    The moment we ponder legitimate rape.

    An oxymoron if ever I heard one.

  3. 3
    Randomfactor

    If he had legitimately misspoken, automatic reflexes would’ve shut down his brain so there’d be no repercussions.

  4. 4
    Joan

    ARRRGH!!!! Help! Cuttle alert! While working in the wee small hours I seem to have gotten my legitimacies switched. Cuttle, if you are attending please scotch the first poem and substitute this one…which no matter how ignorant, I hope to hell is what Akin was attempting to say. At this point I’m not even sure. Minus the fabled detection powers, one can still bear an illegitimate child from Akin’s legitimate rape. The mind boggles at his oxymoronish definitions.
    As for the text part of the previous post, that still stands. Missouri is well on the way to becoming the theocratic laughing stock of the nation, next to Texas. Too bad laughter can’t stem the tide.

    LEGITIMATE RAPE IN THE “SHOW ME STATE”

    Seems we women have sperm zapping powers inside
    Which can sense a “ligitimate” rape.
    If you have “ illegitimate” rape, woe betide
    You are not allowed such an escape.

    Akin feels he’s a man of compassion, I hear
    For the rights of the innocent child
    No mention of innocent victims I fear
    And this fact should get women quite riled.

    No one ever went broke in a bet by low balling
    Our smarts in the U.S. of A.
    Missouri for Akin? My skin is just crawling
    There’ll be nothing left but to pray.

    Mr. Akin has stated his views for us all
    (Most of which are Paul Ryan’s as well)
    One would hope that his candidacy suffers a fall
    Or Missouri is going to Hell.

  5. 5
    carpenterman

    If this man’s principles were half as important to him as his job, he wouldn’t concede a woman’s right to have an abortion after being raped in the first place.
    The stance of abortion foes comes down to insisting an unborn fetus is a person, and therefore abortion is murder. The message to women is, “From the moment you conceive, your body is no longer your own. It belongs to that little person growing inside of you.”
    So why should an exeption be made in the case of rape? If a woman’s own body is completely at the mercy of her pregnancy, what difference should it make how she got that way? She’s a virtual slave for nine months anyway; what difference if it starts a few hours earlier? Doesn’t that little person in there deserve to be protected, even so? It’s not *their* fault their father is the lowest of the low and their mother is the victim of a violent crime.
    But of course, if that little person might force someone to actually take their principles seriously, therefore jepordizing an election… well, fuck’em.

  6. 6
    Cuttlefish

    I have no idea what you are talking about, Joan. *wink*

  7. 7
    Joan

    Thank you, Cuttle. (grin) Now if I could just eradicate that one from your facebook page then my son might forgive me for using his name.(blush) Note to self: No matter how excited you get about a creation it’s better to wait until mid morning and proofread.

  8. 8
    Cuttlefish

    Ah–I’ll see what I can do, but I haven’t been able to get into my facebook page in months.

  9. 9
    Joan

    Sadly, Mr.Foot-in-mouth may have peaked and then hit his nadir too soon. The latest word on Akin is that his party is urging him to withdraw. If he does, then one of the other two candidates, who are equally toxic, will no doubt win. That feeling of elation I had is sooo short lived.

  10. 10
    Cuttlefish

    The phrase I keep hearing is “people keep telling Akin to pull out, but he refuses”.

    *shudder*

    I also hear he is being told that it is his responsibility not to abort his candidacy, but to take it to term.

    My own thoughts are that he will give it a week, and most of the district will have reached the end of their attention spans, and move on to whatever Rush Limbaugh talks about next week.

  11. 11
    Joan

    You are probably right. Amnesia has been Missouri’s pattern in the past. Missouri has never been a state to confuse emotions with facts and his Bloviatedness, Limbaugh, exploits that.

    The scary thing about Akin, is that he does actually believe this stuff and is not just toeing the Tea Party line. His acceptance speech was peppered with thanks to God. I do not know who I fear most, the religious zealot or the hypocrite who might replace him. If he believes he is anointed, he will soldier on. If he believes in the Republicans losing Claire’s senate seat if he does not fall on his sword, then he may quit. Either way this would have done the Dem’s much more good if this event had happened right before the election.

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