Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) reacted to Rep. Todd Akin’s remarks that “legitimate rape” was unlikely to result in pregnancy, saying on Monday that she felt Akin’s point of view was “consistent” with that of other House Republicans, including vice presidential candidate Rep Paul Ryan (R-WI).
When reached by phone to see what she thought of some Republicans, including Republican Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, even calling for Akin to resign as Missouri Republican Senate candidate, Speier said, “I think that the Republican reaction is all about self-preservation.”
“I believe many of them are of the same mind as Mr. Akin. They believe there are virtually no circumstances under which an abortion is appropriate,” she said in an exclusive interview with Raw Story. “It’s only when we flog them with the reality of horrendous crimes committed against women that that deserves to be promoted as an ideal. No woman should have to endure a pregnancy when she’s a rape victim.”
“The fact that Mr. Akin said that there are doctors out there that have articulated their views that somehow a women’s body will react in such a way that it will ‘self abort’ I guess is consistent with the vast majority of Republicans,” Speier said. “If they were in charge of the executive and legislative branches, a woman’s right to choose would be the very first proposal that would be put before the Congress to overturn.”
“The fact that Mr. Akin referred to it as legitimate rape, as if there is an illegitimate form of rape,” Speier continued, wondering what that meant for statutory rape which makes it illegal for persons over 18 to have sex with children under certain ages, which varies from state to state. “Is that an illegitimate form of rape?”
Akin told local TV station KTVI on Sunday, “It seems to me, first of all, what I understand from doctors is that’s really where—if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
In fact, as Sarah Kliff at Wonkblog pointed out, research shows that rape victims actually tend to have higher pregnancy rates than women having consensual sex.
“The fact that the Republican Congress in the House wanted to add the word ‘forcible’ to rape sends a very clear message,” Speier added. “And that was a proposal that Rep. Ryan embraced. Let’s be very clear that it’s in the interest of congressional Republicans and I believe the Republican party in general is … to force them into a role that is something out of the dark ages.”
That proposal to redefine rape was in “The No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act,” a bill so important to House Republicans that it was the third thing they introdued in 2011. Both Akin and Ryan co-sponsored that bill, which passed in the House by a vote of 251 to 175.
Kay Steiger is the managing editor of Raw Story. Her contributions have appeared in The American Prospect, The Atlantic, Campus Progress, The Guardian, In These Times, Jezebel, Religion Dispatches, RH Reality Check, and others. You can follow her on Twitter @kaysteiger.
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