We all know by now that a Republican Congressman and Senate candidate from Missouri named Todd Akins recently said that in the case of a “legitimate rape,” women can’t get pregnant because, you know, our ladyparts are MAGIC and they shut down whenever an unwanted sperm comes near them. Which is why there are never, ever any unplanned pregnancies in the world, ever.
Just kidding. That is not how things work. Just to be clear, women can get pregnant from rape. Safe to say we all know that now.
But the one thing that we don’t know, and the thing that I really wish I had been there to witness with my own two eyes, was what happened in the moment that President Obama found out about Akins’ comments. It must have been a glorious, spontaneous Roman celebration. Because it’s August. And it’s a presidential election year. And that election is coming up in about three months. And Akin just did some serious damage for the Republicans.
Of course, in the days since his comments hit the airwaves, the GOP has tried to run screaming from them (everyone except Mike Huckabee, that beautiful bastard!), saying that OF COURSE women can get pregnant from rape, and that OF COURSE every rape is a legitimate rape. (Oh but hey by the way, we’ll still defund Planned Parenthood so you can’t actually do anything about preventing that pregnancy or aborting it if you want to, but still. At least we know that it would suck!)
But guess who responded to the comment first? Guess which guy beat the Republicans to the punch? It was none other than President Obama, when yesterday, he managed to successfully tie Akins’ comment to the Republican party’s overarching attitude towards women’s health:
In other words, in addition to outraging much of the vagina-having public and giving ladybloggers such as myself a week off from finding topics to write about, Akins gave Obama a little nugget of talking point gold. And I wish I had been a fly on the wall when the president heard the audio clip. In my head, it plays out very similarly to a football player doing a Super Bowl victory dance, a track star taking a lap around the field following an Olympic gold, or an actor offering a laugh and a tear before saying, “I’d like to thank the Academy.”
That thought is kind of what gets me through the fact that Akins’ comments are such an abysmal representation of reproductive rights, sex ed, and politics in general in this country.