On Monday, the National Republican Senatorial Committee announced that it has cut off funding to Rep. Todd Akin's U.S. Senate campaign against incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill in Missouri. Akin's remarks on "legitimate rape" set off a firestorm of controversy and pressure to force the candidate out of the Senate race.
The Akin comments center around conservative views on abortion rights and have fueled claims of insensitivity, along with an expansion of the Republican war on women.
When asked in a KTVI television interview if he supported abortion in the case of rape, Akin replied, "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," according to the LA Times.
Akin's comments suggested that no pregnancy would result from a "legitimate rape," and therefore, no abortion would be necessary. The statement implies that some forms of rape are not "legitimate," which has outraged women all over the country, regardless of their political leanings.
Additionally, there is no medical evidence to support claims that a woman's body can differentiate between a "legitimate rape" or any other kind of rape, as Akin suggested in his remarks.
“Rape is rape," President Obama said in response to the controversy. "And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we’re talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people and it certainly doesn’t make sense to me.”
Akin's Senate opponent McCaskill called Akin's "legitimate rape" remarks insensitive.
McCaskill said, “You know, I spent 10 years as a prosecutor in the courtroom and did hundreds and hundreds of rape cases, held their hands, cried with them, and that’s why for me this is incredibly painful because it shows how many people are out there in very important positions who just don’t understand the trauma and don’t understand what it means,” she was quoted as saying in The Hill.
Republicans in 2012 races are already facing tough battles trying to win the women's vote. After two years of promoting and passing anti-woman's rights legislation, the GOP has alienated the powerful voting block on both sides of the aisle.
With everything from forced internal vaginal exams to attempts to outlaw birth control, GOP attacks against women and their bodies have gotten so bad, it has been dubbed the "war against women."
No doubt, there are those on the far-right fringe who would defend Akin's remarks. Those who are against all abortion, even if the mother's life is in danger, may be among them.
However, the Akin rape remark is a sign of Republican runaway insensitivity toward those outside their base, which consists mostly of elderly white males.
Many also believe that Akin is the personification of a Republican Party so far out of control, they are in danger of losing their ability to sway support from mainstream voters.
Women who have been raped by violent and vicious men would have little reason to vote for a man who trivializes the trauma, in order to pander to a radical anti-woman's rights base.
Despite Akin's apology for his "legitimate rape" remarks, there is pressure from inside the Republican Party for Akin to quit his Senate campaign.
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