Will Akin Drop Out? Even If He Quits, GOP Still Holds Loathsome Positions on Rape, Abortion

News outlets are reporting that Todd Akin, the Missouri representative whose ignorance of female biology is topped only by his callousness about rape, may be dropping out of the Senate race.  The Atlanticreports that his aides are preparing for him to quit the race Tuesday, but the congressman's own Twitter feed says otherwise. 

@ToddAkin: I am in this race to win. We need a conservative Senate. Help me defeat Claire by donating: https://secure.campaignsolutions.com/toddakin/donation1/?initiativekey=EVC5SEAB56RX #mosen

We'll just ignore the fact that he calls his opponent, incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill, by her first name. The National Republican Senatorial Committee is reported to have told Akin it'll pull its money from his race if he stays in, and Karl Rove's group is one of many pulling its ads. Akin appears to have until tomorrow, according toMissouri law, to drop out of the race and allow his party to have a replacement. Blogger Adam Steinbaugh wrote: 


MIssouri’s §115.359 appears to require a candidate to withdraw “no later than the eleventh Tuesday prior to the general election” — which, if you’re counting, is this Tuesday.  Absent some pretty effective lobbying by Missouri Republicans, there’s little chance Rep. Akin will willingly step down before that deadline.  And any lobbying won’t have the benefit of poll numbers, as there’s little time to even conduct a poll before Tuesday.  Not that it would matter much, as Rep. Akin’s comments won’t have saturated the electorate, meaning any polls wouldn’t measure much (if any) of the eventual impact of his remarks.

If Rep. Akin does withdraw before 5PM on Tuesday, the Republicans in Missouri could nominate someone else pursuant to §115.363(3)(3).  In such an event, under §115.369, the party would have two weeks and a day to pick somebody new.

Whether Akin quits or not, let's not pretend for one second that this cures the problem within the Republican party. Many in the GOP (and even a fewDemocrats, who cosponsored last year's odious HR3, the "redefining rape" anti-abortion bill) also would be happy to narrow the acceptable definition of "rape" down to "forcible"--the definition Akin fell back on in his apology. Among the co-sponsors of that bill, of course, was Paul Ryan, whose views on abortion are essentially that it should only happen to save the life of the pregnant person.

This isn't a tiny quibble over a definition of rape or even a hilarious moment to laugh at a Congressman who thinks women have magic reproductive organs. Akin's "misstatement" is a symptom of a problem that plagues nearly an entire political party and has been given way too much quarter by those who should oppose it. Akin and Paul Ryan and Texas's Rick Perry, the first in the nation to sign a transvaginal ultrasound requirement into law, and Virginia's Bob McDonnell who wanted to be the second, and Chris Smith, who introduced the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" that those who read the bill immediately dubbed the "redefining rape" bill, are all opposed to women having a say over their own bodies, whether it's deciding to have sex or god forbid deciding not to be a parent. 

Akin is emblematic of the GOP, not aberrant. Even if he does drop out and let his party choose a replacement, Senator McCaskill and pro-choice activists and basically anyone who realizes rape is bad shouldn't let anyone forget his comments.

AlterNet / By Sarah Jaffe

Posted at August 20, 2012, 11:49am

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