In August, Missouri's Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin made headlines worldwide and nearly derailed his campaign for US senate when he claimed women couldn't get pregnant from "legitimate rape". (Yes, as though there was any other kind.) In response to a news station's enquiry as to whether he thought abortion was excusable if a rape victim became pregnant, he replied with the now infamous assertion:
"It seems to be, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down."
Now Akin's demonstrated his special kind of idiocy again, by commenting on the ladylikeness - or lack of, as the case may be - of his political opponent, Democratic Senator Clare McCaskill. Akin said last week he was sure he'd win out over McCaskill because his conservative politics were a better fit with Missouri voters. Oh, and because McCaskill was less of a lady during a public debate:
"I think we have a very clear path to victory, and apparently Claire McCaskill thinks we do, too, because she was very aggressive at the debate, which was quite different than it was when she ran against Jim Talent. She had a confidence and was much more ladylike [in 2006], but in the debate on Friday she came out swinging, and I think that's because she feels threatened."
Akin's laissez-faire brand of misogyny alienated countless women voters last time. This latest gaffe will alienate more. Not to mention the legions of female voters horrified by his decision to vote against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. They're all moments that reveal a terrifyingly regressive worldview - one in which science and reason is dead, and women occupy blatantly prohibitive positions in life as a matter of course.
Which, depressingly, is clearly lost on some. Like the members of the group Missouri Women Standing with Todd Akin (MWSTA), a small army of conservative ladies standing firmly by their man. They must be out of their legitimate minds.
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