Watch Todd Akin ask for forgiveness for his comments about rape. Most of it was based on the premise of a poor choice of words rather than a fundamentally erroneous idea, because he says “I used the wrong words in the wrong way and for that I apologize…. The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold.”
While he did say “Fact is, rape can lead to pregnancy”, Jandorian rightly points out in a comment to my previous post on this topic that he is merely admitting that there is a non-zero possibility of this, which is not by any means a repudiation of the absurd ‘theory’ that he expounded in his original comments that it rarely happens. Later, he backtracked on even that measly non-apology, telling Mike Huckabee today that he will not bow out of the race and that “I just misspoke one word in one sentence on one day.”
I think that he is trying to retain the support of people who really think rape does not lead to pregnancy (he did not disavow the strange concept of ‘legitimate rape’ either) while gambling that the media will not pin him down on whether he still believes in his theory. I think his gamble will pay off, unfortunately.
He is not the only one trying to have it both ways. The Republican party establishment has expressed outrage over his comments and is trying to use this issue to pressure Akin to withdraw from the US senate race. It would be mistake to think they are disavowing his views since the party platform to be adopted at next week’s convention opposes abortion and does not provide for a rape exemption, making it compatible with his views. Significantly, the party bigwigs are also not asking him to resign his seat in the House of Representatives nor his seat on (if you can believe it) the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
It seems clear that all they really they care about is that he is hurting the party’s image nationally and that they have a better shot of winning the Missouri senate seat with one of the candidates who lost to him in the primary.
One of the stunning facts that I learned as a result of this controversy is that 32,000 women get pregnant each year in the US as a result of being raped. I had no idea that the number was this large. And who knows how many more women do not even report rapes out of fear or shame.