Republican senatorial candidate Todd Akin has already apologized for his astonishing statement yesterday that, according to doctors he’d spoken to, pregnancy from “real” rape is very rare. “If it’s a legitimate rape,” he asserted, “the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.” (The flip side of that message, of course, being that all you girls out there who secretly wanted it are shit out of luck.)
Mother Jones has an interesting post today about how, amazingly, this argument has actually been floating around the far right for a while now: the premise is that the body goes into a kind of shock that makes conception impossible. Anti-abortion doctor Todd C. Wilke wrote about it on the website Christian Life Resources (which, worryingly, is aimed at reaching troubled teens). And Republican senate candidate Fay Boozman was quoted as referring to this purported magical bodily function as “God’s little protective shield in 1998″
Which makes it sound almost cute! And indeed, it would all be a whole lot easier to laugh at if our reproductive rights weren’t slowly being chipped away at: in Mississippi, pro-choice advocates are fighting tooth and nail to keep abortions accessible. A new South Dakota law requires doctors to tell women seeking abortions that those who have the procedure run an increased risk of suicide. Things aren’t looking so good in Arizona, either.
I know I’ve been banging the drum a whole lot here about Pussy Riot—and I do think their story is meaningful and inspiring and infuriating. I’m inspired by the degree to which it’s galvanized women toward a common cause. But I’ve got to say that—while I don’t feel like we necessarily must direct our gaze completely away from them—it’s time to direct some of our outrage and motivation to what’s going on in our own backyard before things get even scarier .