I Hear We Have Teeth Down There, Too…
New York Times Op-Ed columnist, Gail Collins, writes about the new dialogue that has sprung open, thanks to the blunderous comments made recently by Representative Todd Akin of Missouri. In her article, “The Sexual Spirit of ’76″ she says:
In very few words, Akin managed to make three points. One was that rape victims can’t get pregnant. This theory goes back to our forefathers, who believed that in order for our foremothers to conceive, “the womb must be in a state of delight.”
Part two was Akin’s mention of “legitimate rape.” This is the piece that had every mainstream Republican honcho in the country calling on Akin to drop out of the race. Karl Rove pulled the plug on his money. Paul Ryan reportedly got on the phone and begged Akin to go away for the good of the team. (The team, or at least the Paul Ryan part of it, had once sponsored anti-abortion legislation with Akin that referred to “forcible rape” in the same cringe-inducing fashion.)
But it’s the third point in Akin’s comment that’s really important for this election. Before he got sidetracked into colonial-era biology, the veteran House member was trying to explain why he opposes abortion even in the case of rape. “But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something,” Akin said, referring to the miraculous female shutdown mechanism that he’d discovered. The rapist, he continued, should be punished, but not “the child.”
Politicians who say they oppose all abortions are making perfect sense, except for the part where they try to impose their doctrinal beliefs on the vast majority of the country, which does not share that particular religious conviction. It’s the abortion-except-for-rape-and-incest position that doesn’t compute. Rape victims, yes, but not a 14-year-old who was impregnated by her 15-year-old boyfriend? The impoverished mother of six kids whose birth control method failed? There’s no way to set the worthy-of-compassion bar unless you trust women to set it for themselves.
Maybe Akin’s real sin is that he exposed the phoniness of the rape-and-incest exception, which is just an attempt to make radical extremism look moderate. That and the theory of the delighted womb.
And much like the vampires of True Blood who, in the presence of threat, protract fangs to show their enemy that they are capable of killing — if need be, we women also have very sharp teeth at the ready, stored in our nether regions as well. In the same way that our bodies shut down during rape, disallowing us from getting pregnant, we can also activate our mythic fangs…or can we?
Oh wait…no, I was wrong. We actually don’t have superpowers which means that when healthy sperm meets a healthy egg under mostly any circumstance, we still have the same chance of getting pregnant with a a child that will forever remind us of how we don’t have superpowers.
Read the full article, “The Sexual Spirit of ’76″ by Gail Collins of The New York Times