NEWS BLOG (WSAU) I have a different problem with Todd Akin’s candidacy for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat.
On the issue of rape, Akin has a point – although his mouth is too clumsy and his mind is too slow to get the words out correctly. And people who can’t manage their own language and thoughts are ill-prepared for politics. Rapes are not all the same. Many people will be outraged when confronted with that truth. Allow me to present three separate cases. You’ll have to stand on your head to tell me they’re all the same.
Case #1 – A woman is walking home at night. An attacker jumps upon her, drags he rinto the bushes and rapes her.
Case #2 – A man and woman have been dating. They are about to become intimate for the first time. Passions are high. Clothes are off. They are in bed. The woman has second thoughts, “No, this isn’t right. You have to leave – now.” The man doesn’t stop. She is a victim of date rape.
Case #3 – On prom night, a 17-year-old boy has sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend. They are both willing participants. She is a victim of statutory rape.
All three cases are criminal acts. Each of these men are indeed rapists. But the crimes – the rapes – are not the same. Anyone who argues otherwise is intellectually dishonest. Don’t believe me? Consider how each scenario would likely play out in court. In the first case, the rapist would, correctly, have the book thrown at him. In the second case, even a low-rent ambulance-chasing lawyer would get his client an acquittal. The trial would be ugly. The woman would be questioned about whether she had morning-after regret. The case is a he-said, she-said. The most likely outcome is that someone on the jury would not be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt. A rapist – and that’s what the boyfriend is – would probably go free. In the third case, there might be a good deal of sympathy for the slightly-older boyfriend. He’s non-violent. He didn’t force himself on anyone. Laws in different states would deal with him differently. Yet, personally, I’m glad the law still considers him a criminal and that our jurisprudence says young women cannot consent to sex unless they’re adults.
All of these arguments are too subtle for the obtuse Mr. Akin. And this is a subject that can not be part of a campaign. These differences can’t be explained in sound bites. They are too easily twisted. And none of this is Mr. Akin’s point anyway.
He’s trying to answer a question about what happens if any of these cases result in pregnancy. He’s entitled to his own opinions on that. And voters can cast their ballots accodingly. My own feeling is that it’s a matter of the woman’s own conscience. I’d oppose laws that would require a woman to carry her rapist’s baby for 9-months. I would also consider it an act of indescribable feminine strength – and beauty – for her to carry the baby to term, even if she decides giving it up for adoption is the right choice. I’m out of my depth to tell a rape victim that the law has already made her choice for her. Pregnancies that are the result of rapes are special cases. Pregnancies from incest are, too. So are pregnancies where the mother’s life is in-danger.
My problem with candidate Akin, and why he should drop out of the race, is that he’s a liar. He said a doctor advised him that rapes resulting in pregnancies from "legitimate rape" are “very rare” and that “a woman’s body has a way of shutting the whole process down”. Any doctor knows that’s untrue. No one who practices medicine would make those statements. Akin made it up. When asked a tough question, he lied to give himself cover. And that’s habitual. He’d do it again if he was in a tight spot. And that’s a personal quality that I wholeheartedly reject in a politician. It’s why he’s unfit for office.