Feminist Friday: Todd Akin Is a Legitimate Idiot


This Week in Ladybits

Much like the GOP, we’ll mostly be concerned with your ladybits this week. Because whoa, Nelly, are those fellas (mostly fellas) losing their damn minds on that point.

Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin ruined brunches and caused coffee spit-takes across the nation on Sunday by claiming that “legitimate rape” rarely causes pregnancy. For real. He actually said that out loud in front of cameras. Just to clarify: He is not a member of some fringe boingadoo Fear the Molemen political party: Todd Akin is the Republican candidate for Senate in Missouri. Think Progress was quick to note that Akin’s “spiritual mentor” also has some charming views on rape and abortion that he apparently picked up as a souvenir when he time-traveled to 1387.

(Just in case you’re concerned and/or have recently been conked on the head, i09 and many, many other sites confirmed that Akin’s little theory is stupid. Breathtakingly stupid.)

Still confused about what’s legitimate? Taylor Ferrera is here to help!

Republicans rushed to condemn Akin’s ignorant dumbassery, but as Sally Kohn pointed out in Salon, Akin’s real faux pas was in explicitly saying what the GOP has been trying to legislate, hoping no one would notice. If you think she’s going out on a limb on that, all you need to do is look at the platform the GOP passed this week, which calls for – Surprise! – an abortion ban with no exceptions for rape. (It also calls for a ban on same-sex marriage, because if you’re going to be a vicious empathy-free jerk, there’s really no point in doing it halfway.)

To quote the New York Times on the GOP platform:

In passages on abortion, the draft platform puts the party on the most extreme fringes of American opinion. It calls for a “human life amendment” and for legislation “to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.” That would erase any right women have to make decisions about their health and their bodies. There are no exceptions for victims of rape or incest, and such laws could threaten even birth control.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have tried to distance themselves from Akin’s remarks, but they are trying to do that with smoke and mirrors instead of actual ideological difference. Ryan co-sponsored a bill with Akin that involved the exact same kind of bulldung suggestions that some kinds of rape are more real than others, and Romney has really quite recently said that he thinks one of the main proponents of the idea that women can’t get pregnant during a “real” rape is an ripping fellow he agrees with, or whatever weird patrician phrasing Romney was using in an attempt to sound like a man of the people that day. And by “people,” there, I of course mean “men.”

Republican women: Why do you still define yourselves that way? I really want to know. And why were you not at this platform meeting yelling your heads off?

It was almost impossible to pick which of the incredible segments The Rachel Maddow Show did on the topic this week to clip for the column. Each member of the TRMS staff should receive a special knighthood: Defender of the Ladybits. Rachel’s opening segments on both Monday and Tuesday nights were almost overwhelming (and are highly recommended), but I’m going to go ahead and embed Wednesday night’s segment on the awful real-life consequences of all this thoughtless Republican rhetoric.


Here’s the deeply upsetting Texas Tribune article that Rachel mentioned in that segment.

Eugh, and as if Lone Star ladybits aren’t already having enough trouble, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals said that it’s totes OK for the state of Texas to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood. Because Texas is stupidly blocking a specific provider (the one, on a personal note, that was the only reason I could afford basic women’s health screenings during my twenties), which means the state is violating the terms of its joint federal-state partnership and loses its federal funding. Which means more than 50,000 Texas women will lose access to the place they used to get their yearly cancer screenings. Remember: According to awesomely moral dude Rick Perry, preventable death is totally OK as long as you are poor, female, and out of the womb.

And, just to show that The Cray is flying around the whole country, Talking Points Memo reported on a New Hampshire sheriff’s candidate who is totally OK with shooting doctors who perform abortions.

So if nothing else, let’s get one thing clear: The current political movement that calls itself “Pro-Life” has nothing to do with the sanctity of life. You don’t get to claim that when you’re also talking about letting thousands of low-income women die of easily preventable cancers and blowing doctors away for performing a legal medical procedure. This is about controlling women. Not cherishing life, controlling wombs. Let’s at least stop letting the current crop of politicians from pretending otherwise.

And now, a little treat designed by my frequent conspirator, the awesome Jess Idres:

This Week in Fun

What a depressing week thus far. Thank the sweet merciful Internets for turning Amazon reviewers loose on the “BIC for Her” special dainty ballpoint pen just for ladies. Please enjoy.

I’m late on including this, but I don’t want you to miss The Mary Sue’s list of feminist-friendly manga. Any recommendations to add?

And finally, the awesome Virginians of Cooch Watch brought us “Hands off, Crazy,” my new favorite “Call Me Maybe” remake. OK, maybe my second favorite after the Chatroulette guy in the bikini. But still: Awesome. (Hat tip to The Frisky.)

Call me, Cooch Watch!

And everybody have a great weekend.

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