Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin, a six-term member of Congress, wowed us on Sunday with his deep knowledge of the female body. In an effort to explain his stance on abortion, the Republican nominee graced us with a biology lesson on women’s reproductive organs. While I usually don’t look to politicians for my lessons on the birds and the bees, I’m so glad that I did this time, because now I know that my uterus has the power to fight off unwanted pregnancy from unwanted sperm! I had no idea my uterus could discriminate against men not of my particular liking, and that my body’s natural baby-bearing powers are smart enough to know who is an intruder and who is not, and subsequently, only allow fertilization by those that are kind enough to say their “please” and “thank yous”.
In an interview with the St. Louis radio station, KTVI-TV, Akin expressed his absolute anti-abortion views, including instances of rape. But for Akin, abortion in such horrendous circumstances is not necessary because women can’t get pregnant from rape! Phew! As he said in his interview, “It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare…If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try shut that whole thing down.”
It gets better. He goes on to talk about the extraordinary powers of the uterus to fend off malevolence and vice. Akin elaborates on how the uterus can detect iniquitous trespassers and thereafter form some type of biological chastity belt that prevents baby-making and baby-forming with the rapist at hand. Akin is just so impressed with the uterus’ capacity to repel unsolicited sperm.
His description of the female form as so intelligent only validates my own suspicions: my uterus is genius. Should I be mad and angry with him for likening my lady-parts to Spiderman’s web? Because that kind of sounds awesome. But then of course I think it through and I’m brought back to reality and realize, well, his moronic ways are terrifying, insulting, and absolutely preposterous. What “doctors” is he consulting with exactly? And how did Missouri elect someone to office who clearly could not pass fourth grade health class?
I’m stunned and appalled by his reductionist reasoning and his insensitivity to the thousands and millions of women who are raped. His statements are fallacious and farcical. But more importantly, they are harmful. It is easy to mock the absurdity of Akin’s ideas and the train wreck that was his interview. But to laugh it off only gets us so far. The problem herein lies that violence against women is truly an epidemic. Todd Akin represents the many ways in which rape and reproductive rights are not discussed intelligently, judiciously, and with medical and statistical facts. At the very least, we need public servants that create policies rooted in educated decisions. More so, we need to frame the conversations surrounding rape as first and foremost a crime: a serious crime, a crime against women, and as international law dictates, a crime against humanity.
Todd Akin also demonstrates how little the general public seems to know about reproductive health. This is dangerous and unacceptable! If policymakers do not understand how babies are made, well, my expectations for them to make well-informed decisions on anything else just went out the window. The sad part is that Todd Akin is just one of so many men that frankly know nothing about women, about women’s health, about women’s concerns and women’s interests, and yet, unfortunately are vying for power to control women’s lives.
Of course, not all is lost. If we combine the collective brainpower of our uteruses nationwide, we may be able to cockblock Akin’s senatorial seat.
Photo Credit: Jeff Roberson, Associated Press
Sources: The New York Times, The New Yorker