No, It’s Not Time To Forgive Todd Akin
11:45 am, August 21st | by Amy Tennery
Most people were horrified by Congressman and Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin’s comment that women rarely get pregnant from “legitimate rape.” Others, like actor and conservative activist Kirk Cameron, are kinda “meh” on the whole thing.
Cameron, who does not support abortion rights, told CNN that he respects Akin’s “pro-life” advocacy and thinks we should all cut him some slack:
“I’m the kind of person that believes that I would like to be evaluated by my entire career and my entire life, not two words that I would misspeak and then later apologize for. So he’s in a tough spot.”
When you’re running for senate and major news outlets are speculating whether your own party can and/or will force you off your ballot, yes, it’s fair to say you’re in a “tough spot.” And it’s clear that Cameron has plenty of reason to try and rehabilitate Akin’s image. The guy’s not exactly an attractive spokesperson for the pro-life set.
And yet, it’s awfully tough to take Akin’s extremist “misstatement” as an isolated incident of verbal buffoonery — particularly when there’s footage of him addressing the House of Representatives in 2008, in which he calls abortion providers “terrorists” and calls abortion more “un-American” than slavery:
All tin-eared, past invocations of slavery aside, what about Akin’s recent slip up? He’s released a highly apologetic campaign ad. Can we let this go? Should we? No. Particularly when you consider just how widespread Akin’s ass-backward sentiment on rape and pregnancy is.
In a fantastic Mother Jones piece, Kate Sheppard explained that the no-pregnancy-from rape idea is “held and repeated by individuals who oppose abortion in any circumstances.” A noted anti-abortion doctor she points to, John C. Willke, has promoted this myth repeatedly. And a Republican Senate candidate in Arkansas was slammed for mentioning the idea in 1998, Sheppard notes.
And if you’re looking for even more horrifyingly wrong-headed comments on rape and pregnancy, check out this rundown from BuzzFeed of crazy statements from high-profile people and institutions. (My favorite, from Federal Judge James Leon Holmes: “Concern for rape victims is a red herring because conceptions from rape occur with approximately the same frequency as snowfall in Miami.”)
We can’t forgive Akin because there are people (lots of them, in fact) who still don’t understand what he said is fundamentally wrong.
You can watch Cameron’s CNN appearance below, courtesy of Politico: