GOP Redefining Rape? Exactly when could a rape be legitimate?

Congressman Paul Ryan (R) Wisconsin

Over the weekend six-term Missouri Congressman Todd Akin, the GOP challenger to Senator Claire McCaskill, provided a clear distinction between the Republican world-view, and that of the majority of Americans. Responding to a question regarding whether a woman should be permitted to seek an abortion in cases of rape, Akin stated that there was no such thing since doctors had told him that women’s bodies have the ability to prevent pregnancy in such cases.

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Akin said of rape-induced pregnancy in an interview with KTVI. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” Akin continued.

Congressman Akin issued a statement attempting to walk back his comments.

“In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year,” Akin wrote. “Those who perpetrate these crimes are the lowest of the low in our society and their victims will have no stronger advocate in the Senate to help ensure they have the justice they deserve.”

“I recognize that abortion, and particularly in the case of rape, is a very emotionally charged issue,” Akin continued. “But I believe deeply in the protection of all life and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action. I also recognize that there are those who, like my opponent, support abortion and I understand I may not have their support in this election.”

Akin’s outrageous comments have highlighted, far more effectively than anything the Obama campaign could do, the type of extremist administration that the Romney-Ryan ticket would bring to America. Despite the immediate attempt by the Romney campaign to distance itself from Akins position, Mitt Romney’s better looking half is inexorably linked to those same extremist views.

Paul Ryan Co-Sponsored Bill To Redefine Rape

In 2011, Congressmen Ryan and Akin co-sponsored the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act, which would redefine a ban on federal funding for abortions to exempt only “forcible rape” and not “rape” generally. According to the Washington Post, the Act would make a version of the Hyde Amendment permanent. The Hyde Amendment, which had been renewed every year since 1976, prevented some federally-funded health care programs from covering abortions, with exceptions in cases of rape and incest, and when the life of the woman is threatened. However, under the language proposed by the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act, rape becomes “forcible rape.” The Washington Post reported that the bill’s critics believed “the modifier could distinguish it from other kinds of sexual assault that are typically recognized as rape, including statutory rape and attacks that occur because of drugs or verbal threats.” [HR 3 Co-Sponsors, 112th Congress; Washington Post, 2/1/11]

We have come too far in this country to let men like Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and Todd Akin drag our country back to the stone-age. Their radical and extremist views are a recipe for disaster and the imposition of radical Christian-Biblical Law on our nation. These guys would have us believe that a woman who becomes pregnant as a result of rape, wanted it.

This is what is at stake in this election. Do we move forward, or do we fall back into the past?