Earlier today, Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri, said he opposes abortion in all circumstances because rape rarely leads to pregnancy, since you can't get knocked up if you're "legitimately raped."
Akin then confidently backed his "magical uterus" claims up with SCIENCE.
"First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare," Akin told KTVI-TV. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
(At creationism medical school, students take "Intro to Legitimate vs. Non-Legitimate Rape" after "I Didn't Come From a Monkey 101.")
Naturally, Akin thinks that even in those crazy rare circumstances where a victim does manage to get pregnant without her consent — "Let's assume that maybe that didn't work, or something," he said — abortion should still be outlawed.
After his interview caused national outrage, Akin released a statement saying he misspoke:
In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it's clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year. Those who perpetrate these crimes are the lowest of the low in our society and their victims will have no stronger advocate in the Senate to help ensure they have the justice they deserve.
You guys, Akin is soooo sad about the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year! Legitimately raped and abused.
Sen. Claire McCaskill, who is running against Akin for Senate and currently losing by a margin of 41.3 percent to 49.7, tweeted that she was "stunned" by Akin's stance.
Let's be angry about what Akin said — really, really angry — but we shouldn't necessarily be shocked. Akin once voted for an anti-marital-rape law only after questioning whether it might be used "in a real messy divorce as a tool and a legal weapon to beat up on the husband." Last year, he co-sponsored a bill which sought to redefine the meaning of rape by using the modifier "forcible."
How do we stop influential politicians from slut-shaming? (Besides NOT VOTING FOR THEM! Come on, Missouri!) We can start by refusing to blame sexual assault victims for being assaulted. We can stop telling women they're sluts if they dress a certain way or take birth control. We can stop coming up with different kinds of rape — "gray" rape, "date" rape, "legitimate" rape, etc. We can stop differentiating between women whose actions "invite" rape and those who act in ways people like Akin deem appropriate. (Locking themselves inside with a chastity belt, perhaps?)
By the way, according to a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology in 1996, 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year. But some of those women were probably asking for it, right?