In the middle of August, Missouri Senator Todd Akin did an interview with a local St. Louis television show, about his views on abortion.
He said females who are victims of “legitimate rape” (he did not define what is meant by “legitimate”) can biologically stop a pregnancy. He added in the rare event that a woman does get pregnant via rape, the course of action should be against the rapist, not the child.
Akin is obviously trying to appeal to his base: conservative Republicans who oppose abortion. There is nothing wrong with that viewpoint, but that Akin is a public figure, making public remarks, on a subject that he clearly has little to no knowledge about, that’s what I take issues with.
According to “The Washington Post” and “The New York Times,” women do get pregnant from rape. A 2003 study, focused on 405 women from ages 12 to 45 who reported intercourse rape, found 26 percent of these women got pregnant from rape.
According to the CDC, out of 207,754 women who report being raped, more than 32,000 became pregnant.
As a politician, Akin shouldn’t just focus on his base. He should also be able to work for the greater good of the people in Missouri. He shouldn’t make such ignorant remarks, almost designed to alienate half his voting population: women.
The Republican Party is shown within the press as both distancing itself from Akin and condemning his statement. This speaks volumes about where the campaign is headed, in terms of women’s rights: specifically, women’s rights concerning health care, including reproduction.
Despite the Republican Party’s distancing itself from Akin, it still voted against abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest, plans to cut funding for Planned Parenthood which provides health-care for low income women and plans to stop covering birth control within insurance.
As much as the Republican Party wants to continue with its morals, it needs to get out of the 19th century and into the 21st century. Women can decide on their own, whether or not they want to take advantage of these services. That many of these women do take advantage of these services means that these services should continue to get funding from the government.
The Republican Party’s strong stance on women’s health, with some calling it “anti-women,” has caused outrage among women voters and could be one of the turning factors in this year’s election.
A few months ago, there were huge debates, concerning the Susan B. Komen Foundation, which cut all of its funding towards Planned Parenthood. Though it cited new guidelines stating it couldn’t give money to organizations currently being investigated, there was immediate outrage on sites like Twitter and Facebook. Many posts accused the Komen Foundation of having adhered to a political agenda. Within days, Planned Parenthood raised almost a $1 million dollars and the Komen Foundation was forced to pay its existing grants.
In March of 2012, a three-year law student at Georgetown University, Sandra Fluke, testified in front of Congress for the new health-care law (better known as Obamacare), specifically for women’s right to have birth control and for medical conditions that require certain contraceptives.
A few days after Fluke’s testimony, Rush Limbaugh, native Missourian, speaking on his talk show, called Fluke a prostitute, who wanted innocent taxpayers’ dollars to pay for her birth control, because she couldn’t afford it and that she should stop having so much sex. This caused outrage, and many women voters changed allegiance because of his remarks.
Women’s health-care and women voters will be instrumental in this year’s election. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to vote, but I can write to my representatives, including Akin, to explain why I think birth control and abortion should remain legal or continue to receive funding. Women are showing that they have a voice, that they won’t just sit and watch this year’s election.
I encourage everyone, both men and women, to stand up for our rights, even if it doesn’t concern health-care. After all, America is a nation, “for the people, by the people,” and we are a part of the people.
If you can’t vote, then you can always do other things, like talking about the issues, helping with the campaign for either party or even just watching the news, to see who and what our future will look like.
I challenge you to stand up and get involved.