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THE DAMAGE DONE BY TODD AKIN’S RAPE COMMENTS

According to a Survey USA poll taken last week, U.S. Rep. Todd Akin (R-Missouri) enjoyed a comfortable 11-point lead over incumbent Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill in one of several races that could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate.  In fact Aiken enjoyed an especially large 53-39 percent advantage among women voters in Missouri … although he’s doing best to flip-flop that number and hand the race (and possibly the U.S. Senate) to his opponent.

During a recent radio interview explaining his 100 percent opposition to abortion, Akin suggested that “legitimate rape” doesn’t cause pregnancy.

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” Akin told a Fox News affiliate in St. Louis. “But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”

Wait …  a”legitimate rape?”

After Akin’s remark went viral he immediately began back-tracking.

“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,” he told The Washington Post.  “I recognize that abortion, and particularly in the case of rape, is a very emotionally charged issue.  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.”

Again … hmmmm.

As our regular readers know this website doesn’t wear social issues on our sleeves (we’re fiscal propagandists) but we do oppose abortion.

“We believe that the first right guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution is the right to life,” we wrote recently. “And while there are certainly dueling liberty arguments to be made as it relates to things like the morning after pill, the grey area shrinks rapidly when we’re referring to fetuses (especially those that  would be viable outside of the womb).”

Like many pro-lifers, though, we have always made exceptions for abortion in cases of rape, incest or danger to the mother.  Why?  Because those situations involve serious infringements on individual liberty (or medical emergencies) that – while no fault of the unborn child – must be taken into consideration.  According to some people (like Akin) that disqualifies us from calling ourselves “pro-life,” but whatever.

Anyway …

There’s the debate over the merits of Akin’s comments …and then there’s the debate over the politics of Akin’s comments.

For the GOP, those politics are nothing short of disastrous – with the potential to fundamentally reshape this particular race, the balance of power in the Senate as well as recast the presidential debate.  In fact less than 24 hours after Akin made his remark, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign was forced to weigh in.

“Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape,” read a statement issued by the campaign.

Once again, smooth move Republicans …

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