It’s time to clean house.
Not my house. Not your house. The Houses of Congress and Statehouses and Governor’s Mansions. We need to get rid of any and all elected officials who don’t get that women are autonomous.
Yesterday, Representative Todd Akin (R-MO), who is running for the Missouri Senate seat currently occupied by Democrat Claire McCaskill made this charming observation:
“First of all, from what I understand from doctors, (pregnancy from rape) is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in a clip posted to YouTube by the Democratic super PAC American Bridge. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
OK, there’s a lot about that statement that is wrong. Like factually wrong, not wrong like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is wrong. According to the CDC, there are actually 32,000 pregnancies that result from rape each year. So, either 32,000 women per year have misfiring reproductive tracts that forgot to shut down during rape or Todd Akin knows fuck-all about women.
Or, and this is far more likely and far more ominous, Todd Akin doesn’t believe women really get raped because he doesn’t believe women know whether they want sex or not.
I would not hesitate to posit that a man who, like Akin, doesn’t believe that a woman has any reason to terminate a pregnancy, including when the pregnancy resulted from non-consensual sex, also doesn’t believe that women are fully competent to withhold consent for sex. I suspect Mr. Akin thinks rape – legitimate rape, as he puts it – is largely a myth, something that happens only rarely, usually at gunpoint and every other kind of sex is something that “she was asking for”.
That opinion should be enough to disqualify him from holding elected office. If that doesn’t do it, his staggering ignorance of reproductive biology should.
I am sick to death of men – powerful men – who don’t believe women should control their own sexuality. The idea that women fake rape or pretend they don’t want sex when really they do is antiquated in the same way that the torture devices used in the Spanish Inquisition are antiquated. Not only is that thinking the relic of an uninformed past but it’s also barbaric. It assumes that women are lesser beings who require the control of men who determine their fates.
It’s long past time when men who hold these attitudes should be relieved of decision-making power. There is no excuse for allowing a man who believes woman are less than men to legislate. Does Todd Akin believe that? I contend that he does. He cosponsored legislation that would restructure Medicaid rules to only allow abortion for pregnancies resulting from “forcible rape” instead of just “rape” as the rule used to read, thus creating a hurdle for Medicaid recipients to jump through in order to end an unwanted pregnancy. He disagrees with abortion in all cases, even from rape and incest and would happily remove a woman’s right to medically safe abortion. He is willing to impose his judgement on women’s sexual activity and reproductive rights on a macro level and make laws that affect us all that are based on his own ideology, not on science, medicine, women’s opinions or needs.
Todd Akin, in short, is a patriarchal fuckhead who needs to be voted out of office. Because the man who doesn’t think women know enough to control their own sexuality and reproductive health? Doesn’t think women are fully human.
It’s time for all of us women to start asking politicians, point blank, how they feel about women’s autonomy. If there’s even a hint that they don’t believe that any instance of withheld consent to sex is actually rape, shut them down. If they are unable to see the need for legal access to abortion, especially in the case of rape, shut them down. If they don’t believe in equal pay for equal work, shut them down. If they don’t value the new rules that prevent health insurance companies from charging women more, shut them down. If they don’t understand that women in America are still marginalized, shut them down. Shut them down and replace them with people who are acquainted with the reality of women’s lives.