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5 Questions For: Three women at the Republican convention who support Todd Akin

By Megan Carpentier
Monday, August 27, 2012 15:42 EDT
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It was barely a week ago that Rep. Todd Akin’s comments about “legitimate rape” and a woman’s supposed inability to conceive during one surfaced. Since then, he’s been pressured by his party to drop out of his Senate race, called out by almost everyone in the conservative movement (including Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin and anti-abortion activist Rebecca Kiessling, whose whole activism is dedicated to convincing rape victims to keep any children conceived). But at the Republican National Committee’s welcome party on Saturday night, Raw Story spotted a number of women delegates sporting flashing pro-life buttons and Todd Akin stickers. Three of them — Zina Hackworth (of This Race Will Self-Destruct, an African-American anti-abortion and HIV awareness organization), Connie Eller (of Missouri Blacks for Life) and Debi Demien, agreed to speak to us.

Raw Story: In the wake of Todd Akin’s comments, it seems like everyone was asking him to get out of the race, so why you guys are here supporting him?

Demien: A few people were against him.

Eller: Why aren’t Democrats running Biden out of office for his “chains” remark? That was just blatantly racist, but you don’t see Democratic leadership telling him to quit the race. But Todd Akin says the right thing and uses the wrong word and apologizes for it, and suddenly people want him out of the race? Out of the party? He’s one of the best representatives in this country, especially on pro-life issues, and he has more integrity than most of the rest of them combined.

Raw Story: Your thoughts?

Hackworth: Todd Akin stands for integrity. We’ve been watching his career for years, in Missouri, back to when he was in the statehouse. He just made a misquote, said one thing that wasn’t quite right, and we throw him under the bus for one mistake? When he stands for all the right things?

We’re going to throw him under the bus, but the vice president can say those things that are so insulting, demeaning to black people and no one tries to throw him out. Which is worse?

Raw Story: So you aren’t personally upset by his comments at all?

Eller: Todd Akin was using the kind of language we use in our living room, amongst family. Movement language. We all know what he was talking about, because it’s how we talk about it. But once you take it outside the family, people don’t understand, they’re like, “Whoa, what did he say, what is he talking about?” And he apologized for the way that he did say it.

He is a compassionate man, he has sons and daughters, come on.

Raw Story: Do you feel the same way?

Hackworth: There was… a situation in our family, and my husband and I, there were only three people we talked to about it. My friend Connie here, our pastor, and Todd Akin, through his wife. And no one could have been more supportive, he really reached out and helped us.

Raw Story: Is there anything else you want to say?

Hackworth: All this stuff that they’re saying in the media, they’re just plain lies.

[Ed. note: Raw Story asked Hackworth a second time if she was comfortable sharing the above story, and she confirmed that she was if we used her wording.]

Megan Carpentier
Megan Carpentier is the executive editor of Raw Story. She previously served as an associate editor at Talking Points Memo; the editor of news and politics at Air America; an editor at Jezebel.com; and an associate editor at Wonkette. Her published works include pieces for the Washington Post, the Washington Independent, Ms Magazine, RH Reality Check, the Women's Media Center, On the Issues, the New York Press, Bitch and Women's eNews.
 
 
 
 
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