Last weekend, Todd Akin said that victims of "legitimate rape" don't get pregnant because their bodies have a natural defense against it. He mentioned something about juices not flowing and how a woman's body just naturally shuts down, preventing the sperm from swimming upstream, fertilizing the egg. His comments have drawn the ire of both the GOP and Democrats, who have condemned his comments in droves.
Despite the National Republican Senatorial Committee's withdrawal of financial support to the tune of $5 million, Akin remains defiant, saying he's in this race to win it. During a radio program earlier Monday, Akin attempted to gloss over the debacle, saying he'd made a "very, very serious error." It is interesting how quick politicians are to do damage control once they realize their mouths have gotten them in trouble, isn't it? Perhaps the sponsor of the failed Personhood bill thought he'd get a free pass from his Tea Party buddies by basically accusing rape victims of lying.
He thought wrong, of course. Along with losing his funding from the NRSC, several high-profile Republicans have called for him to drop out of the race. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney condemned his remarks, and so did Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown who strongly urged him to leave the race, saying, "As a husband and father of two young women, I found Todd Akin's comments about women and rape outrageous, inappropriate and wrong."
The big issue here isn't just a senatorial race, it's a race for a majority in the Senate. Missouri is a fairly reliable bastion of conservatism, and with only four gains needed to get control of the Senate, it's no wonder why Republicans are furious with Akin for his remarks. Akin has until Tuesday 5 p.m. to withdraw from the race so the GOP can nominate another person, but because he refuses to step down, it looks as though they're stuck with him.
Akin is going up against Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill, who remains only slightly behind him in the polls. But since his recent bout of open-mouth-insert-foot disease, those polls are likely to change in her favor.
Despite a 1996 study that proved that rape related pregnancies were actually very common, the centuries old myth persists. In fact, the first instances of this believe started floating around in the U.K. some time in the 13th century. If a woman claimed she'd been raped and turned up pregnant, it somehow meant that she'd been a willing participant. It was based on the belief that a woman had to achieve climax in order to conceive, which is essentially what Akin, in the year 2012 said about getting those "juices" flowing.
The more things change, the more they stay the same, unfortunately.