Todd Akin and the Shame of Conservatives

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Those who do pro-life work every day watched slack-jawed as a true-blue pro-lifer got garroted by the Republican and conservative establishment. Even today, weeks after the national electoral debacle, they’re beating up Todd Akin for Republican losses. Hardly a post-election think piece gets published that does not further tan Akin’s hide.

But, does anyone think if Todd’s last name was Bush that the GOP and conservative elite would have called immediately for the political death penalty?

Would the quintessential establishmentarian Mary Matalin gone on national TV and said this? “The party is going to get (someone else) in. Or we’ll run a third party. We’ll run a write in. We can do it. We have the money to do it.”

Or that a writer at National Review would have referred vulgarly to Todd Bush’s “asshatary?” Would a Todd Bush been disinvited from the GOP convention? Would Romney, Blunt, Ashcroft, Bond, Danforth and Talent called for Todd Bush to step aside?

If Todd’s last name was Bush the wagons would have been circled and one of their own would have been defended. The professional spokesmen would have gone out on the hustings.

They would have explained that by authentic rape he meant forcible rape as distinct from statutory rape, a distinction made in the application of the bi-partisan Hyde Amendment which blocks federal funding for abortion except in the case of forcible but not statutory rape.

On the science of trauma and anovulation, they would have consulted with one of our country’s leading bioethicists, Richard Doerflinger of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, who in those early days of the Akin crisis sent around a batch of links to scientific studies backing up Akin’s clumsy formulation.

Or they could have consulted with Dr. Thomas Hilgers of the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction, and one of the country’s leading experts on infertility, who also backed up Akin on the science.

They would have defended and explained and then pivoted to attack this most pro-abortion president in our history. They would have pointed out he even opposed saving babies who survive abortion. They would have changed the subject and put the other guy on his back foot.

But, let’s say the wound was too deep for a reasonable expectation of survival.  Wouldn’t that have been handled in a different way? Wouldn’t there have been a private, quiet conversation and offers of an easy exit and a soft landing? Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard was the only one as far as I can tell who counseled such an approach. Everyone else was hell-bent for leather not just to get Akin out of the race but also to punish him and to humiliate him. This practically guaranteed that Akin would stay in the race.

We cannot let Akin off the hook. His comment was stupid. Floating such a controversial scientific theory was dumb and unnecessary. And while pro-lifers hold that all unborn children should be welcomed in life no matter the circumstances of their conception, we still allow our pro-life politicians to take another view.

The hard cases are exactly where our enemies want to fight this battle. And so we are willing to forgive pro-life politicians who chose not to fight on that ground. We forgave George W. Bush for it.

But, if a politician stakes out no-exceptions, he has to have his short two-sentence answer or even an evasion drilled into his head and he should never waiver from it. Both Akin and Mourdock were perhaps too arrogant. They thought they could wing it and look what happened.

The fact is the GOP establishment went after Akin because he was never one of them and he beat them. They backed other candidates for the Senate nomination in Missouri and they lost to Akin. So, when Akin made his terrible mistake, they saw a plausible opening not only to get him out but to punish him as well. What’s more, many in the Establishment are not pro-life and this gave them an opening to stomp on pro-lifers.

The fact is also that the GOP and conservative elite had their hat handed to them on Election Day. It was not just Akin and Mourdock who lost. Moderate and establishmentarians lost across the board. Heck, the Establishment pumped hundreds of millions into races where their candidate lost by the same spread as Akin lost to McCaskill. Thompson, Berg, Rehberg, Allen, Mack, and McMahon, all establishmentarians or moderates, all received tons of party or Rove cash, not an Akin among them, all gone, all defeated.

So, now the Establishment is thrashing around looking for scapegoats and don’t you know after spending a billion dollars and having less than nothing to show for it, they blame pro-lifers. Specifically and relentlessly they blame poor Todd Akin.

At the end of the day, the GOP and conservative elite lost an economic election that was theirs to win. Concomitantly the Democrats took an open field on the social issues. Even so, these are not reasons for abandoning either economic or social issues.  But if the GOP succeeds in abandoning the social issues, as some are now arguing, the GOP will never win another national election.

Austin Ruse

By

Austin Ruse is president of C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute focusing on international legal and social policy. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of C-FAM.

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  • janeisprolife

    Excellent article Austin. Thank you for the articulation that you have brought to a difficult issue. We aften spoke that he was in fact talking too smart to less than smart listeners in a nano second interview. Actually we had not voted for Todd in the primary and when he won and what followed was so repulsive to us that we put a sign up immediately and sent support to Todd. The progressives won this and set us back but we soldier on. Have a Blessed Thanksgiving. Will you be sharing your receipe for a special turkey?

  • Spudnik

    The Republican establishment is every bit as materialistic as the Democrats, even if they make friendlier noises toward Christians during election season. Both party establishments prefer a strong central government (Republican pretense that they don’t is laughable) and Caesar tolerates no competitors. For a whole generation now Christians and pro-lifers have places their hopes in the GOP and have been let down for just as long. Our allowing ourselves to be fooled for so long is shameful. The GOP establishment wants our votes but has no use for our worldview. Wishing or pretending it were otherwise doesn’t change that.

    • Mark

      So are you trying to say that there is no real difference between Reagan and Obama?

      Do you also believe that 9-11 was an inside job? Too funny.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KO2HaGOui4U

      • MPI

        Mark, I think this is a red herring. Certainly there is a difference between Reagan and Obama, but perhaps what Spudnik is trying to say is that it hasn’t mattered tremendously who is in power. Perhaps it would be useful to look at whether the growth of the federal govt. has grown more or less when Republicans are in power as opposed to Democrats. Or whether the rate of abortion in the country is markedly different depending on which party is in power. I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I suspect there isn’t much difference viewed over time and I tend to doubt that we’ll have much success on family issues so long as the central govt. continues to grow (bureaucracies seem to tend towards secularism). If my assertion is true (and i offer no proof :-) ) then we ought to be thinking about which party is going to really cut spending as opposed to just talking about it. Here, I don’t think the Republicans have much good history to stand on. Social conservatives need to start pushing the Republicans on cutting defense spending (in addition to all the other spending) if we ever wish to see a smaller govt.

      • Goldmund

        http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,183262,00.html
        Eloquent, divorced president seeks political admirers from people of faith.

  • publiusnj

    I agree with the author’s atatement that Akin’s remark was “stupid” and that Akin and Mourdock were arrogant. As the author notes, if one is not going to carve out an exception for rape (and perhaps for incest and the life of the mother), one needs to have a very polished response when the inevitable push-back on those hard cases comes. Mourdock and Akin were not ready and I can understand why Republicans did cut them off, although some Republicans went too far–motivated probably by internecine ambitions to walk way from the pro-life position. While I agree that the pro-life position is correct (even if not sellable) on the hard cases, I understand how easily the public will turn away if those cases are not discussed with precision and an appreciation for the hardness of the case.

    By contrast to those hard cases, though, I think the greater weakness of the Pro-Life side is that we give too much deference to the “pro-choice” position. What is wrong with us calling a spade a spade? The “right to choose” is the purported right of mothers to kill the babies in their wombs for any reason or none. Is that the freedom for which our soldiers have died throughout the world? Along, perhaps, with the right of the male soldier next to him to marry him. When the other side seeks to maneuver us into a discussion of the hard cases only, we need to get the discussion back to the prevalent cases: abortion for convenience, gender selection and in place of birth control. The hard cases are side-shows. Mothers killing babies instead of nurturing them is the real issue.

  • http://twitter.com/SensibleLifeJoe Joe Anderson

    The Republican establishment’s cry that Akin would cost Republicans the Senate was a self-fulfilling prophecy. Their failure to support Aiken after his blunder (and subsequent heart-felt apology) not only ensured his loss but contributed to the skepticism many pro-lifers maintained toward the Romney campaign. This, of course, led to the poor turnout of pro-life voters in the election. So while the Republican establishment likes to point to Aiken as the culprit in its November 6 drubbing, the reality is the reverse. They brought the drubbing on themselves in the way they reacted to a misstep by one of their candidates.

    By the way, it is becoming increasingly apparent to me that this exception Republicans carve out for rape and incest makes our position against abortion exceedingly difficult to defend. We oppose abortion because we do not have the right to kill babies, whether or not they have been born yet. How can we then say, “well, because this baby was conceived in such and such a way I guess it’s alright to kill him?” I can tell you this, in all my interactions on blogs and in other political discourse, and I engaged in a lot of this activity leading up to the election, defending the nuanced Republican position on abortion posed more problems for me than any other challenge I faced. All we’re left with is the rather weak, “well, the Republicans will support killing a lot fewer babies than their opponents will.”

    Make no mistake, I will continue to support the party that values life and promotes the protection of unborn babies in almost all cases. I just think this effort would be easier if our position were more logically sound and consistent. Also, we would not be giving our brother Catholics, who are already looking for an excuse not to support a Republican, the very excuse they seek.

    • publiusnj

      Joe Anderson notes:

      “By the way, it is becoming increasingly apparent to me that this exception Republicans carve out for rape and incest makes our position against abortion exceedingly difficult to defend….”
      From a logical pov, JA is correct. However, logic has almost no place in the public discourse which is largely conducted in sound bites. Rape, incest and the life of the mother are Democrat show-stoppers that Republicans who are not cunning enough often get trapped into discussing. If we descend into a long complicated discussion of the relative handful of abortions that fit into those “hard case exceptions,” the Democrats can keep the spotlight off the amoral slaughter that goes on every day in the abortion mills. That is what they need to do, and we should not be tricked into going along with their agenda.
      It’s kinda like the tactics the Allies adopted in 1944 France when confronted by the fortress the Germans had built up around the sub base at Brest. We could have fought an almost WWI-style battle to reduce and capture Brest before moving out of Normandy and Brittany or we could–as we did–put a blocking force around Brest while the main Allied forces took advantage of their maneuver forces to sweep on toward Germany. The Pro-Life’s Patton is not the hard cases argument but the overwhelming righteousness of the general case against mothers killing their children for any reason or none instead of nurturing them.

      • http://twitter.com/SensibleLifeJoe Joe Anderson

        Good analogy and I totally agree that the abortion supporters deliberately draw us into this discussion of an extreme minority of cases at the fringe of the issue. I fear, though, that by giving in on the rape, incest and life of the mother we lose much of the force of our position and end up losing voters who either do not vote or even feel justified in voting for the opponent (because they already feel so inclined due to other factors such as an ideological perception of the opponent’s relative merits in the real of social justice, for example). And I think the need to tiptoe around this issue makes us look weak. Let’s just stand up for truth. If we lost the ambiguity an interview could go something like this:

        MSM: What’s your position on aborttion?
        Candidate: Human life begins at conception and we human beings don’t have the right to kill innocent human life.
        MSM: What about rape or incest or the safety of the mother?
        Candidate: We don’t have the right to kill innocent human life.
        MSM: What if your daughter got raped?
        Candidate: We don’t have the right to take innocent life. I have a question for you. Do you think it’s OK to kill a baby who is partially born and who could live on her own outside her mother’s womb?
        MSM: You are talking about extreme cases.
        Candidate: So are you. I told you my position on abortion. Let’s move on.

        • elarga

          “Life of the mother” is a non-issue; the Catholic Church accepts this “exception” although technically it is not an exception but the result should satisfy critics. If a procedure required to save a mother’s life incidentally results in the death of the fetus, it is not an abortion, and is therefore licit. This is also mandated in the Irish anti-abortion statute, which the Irish bishops accept: see the recent bishops’ statement at http://www.catholicbishops.ie/2012/11/19/statement-standing-committee-irish-catholic-bishops-conference-equal-inalienable-life-mother-unborn-child/# which states that “Where a seriously ill pregnant woman needs medical treatment which may
          put the life of her baby at risk, such treatments are ethically
          permissible provided every effort has been made to save the life of both
          the mother and her baby.”

          • Austin Ruse

            The Church never allows for direct abortion for any reason. The Church allows for medical treatment that may put the child’s life at risk, but never direct intentional abortion.

            • http://twitter.com/SensibleLifeJoe Joe Anderson

              Thank you, Austin, for handling that one for me. See – CLARITY – not nuance.

            • elarga

              Agreed.

        • publiusnj

          My own view is that when asked “What about rape or incest or the safety of the mother?” I would redirect the question by focusing on the term “safety.” I would answer as follows:

          “The usual formulation acceptable to some pro-lifers would be “rape, incest and the life of the mother.” Safety, unfortunately, is as ambiguous a term as “health” of the mother. So, any such exception would prove so vague as to be useless just like the “health” exception found in Roe v Wade. I could support an exception for terminations when the “life of the mother” was at stake, even though my own morality might call for a differrent result. And, even though I personally believe that we shouldn’t kill babies born of rape or incest because their conception clearly wasn’t their fault, I could also support the rape and incest exceptions given the closeness of the question in those instances.”

  • elarga

    Well, this is a little confusing. First the author says that Akin’s comment is only “clumsy” but a few paragraphs later we find out that it’s really “stupid.” Second, two experts “backed up” Akins on “the science,” but then a few paragraphs later, we learn that Akin’s decision to float “such a controversial scientific theory was dumb and unnecessary.” If “the science” was right, then why is it so controversial as to be “dumb and unnecessary” to even mention it? It would have been helpful if the author actually proposed the best way to understand and publicly assert the view that Akin tried to enunciate. Or is that view just too thin doubtful scientifically to even propose publicly?

    • Austin Ruse

      Because not all right and correct things are wise to say. If Mrs. Jones has gotten terribly fat, it is not wise to say so.

      He should have not floated the scientific theory at all because it is so controversial, and he should have had a better answer on the rape exception, or have none at all.

      • elarga

        Austin, I have tremendous admiration for the work you are doing, but Akin was completely out to lunch on this. Doerflinger’s training was in theology, so he has zero standing on this issue; Hilger’s “evidence” for this (see it at http://pressreleases.kcstar.com/release/messages/26964/ ) is so pathetic it wouldn’t stand up in a high school biology classroom. In other words, Akin’s argument doesn’t even rise to the level of “controversial science.” To attack “establishment Republicans” over this issue just isn’t fair. You said Akin’s comment was “stupid,” and it was, and that in my view is about all that can or should be said about it.

        • Austin Ruse

          First, Doerflinger’s formal training is beside the point. He is one of the most influential bioethicists in our country. Second, Hilger issued a press release not a study. Hilger is one of the most noted experts on human reproduction in our country. He understands what can hinder ovulation as well as anyone. Third, being stupid is not hte same thing as being wrong.

          • Pelagian

            Austin AND elarga: It was not even dumb. This was a standard talking point in pro-life speakers Bureau manuals since the 1970s. If this needed to be pruned from the playbook, it’s up to the pro-life think tanks and 501(c)4′s to use some of those millions they collect to actually educate and disseminate. There should be a Pro-Life legislator’s school in Arizona every winter.

            I don’t think it would’ve mattered what was said, clumsy or not. There is a larger phenomena here that I believe you are missing: You know, the crime in the state of New Jersey DWB, Driving While Black? Akin was guilty of Talking about Rape While Conservative. That’s all. From now until the apocalypse no conservative better utter anything other than “Rape Is Rape”.

            (This is the Agnostic Front simply flexing their muscles. They have the power to stimulate a national guffaw over practically any religiously-tinged statement by a GOP that they want.)

            ps thanks to Austin for pointing out the injustice done to a good man, Mr. Akin.

            • Mike

              “From now until the apocalypse no conservative better utter anything other than Rape Os Rape.”

              Well done, let’s just shut that whole thing down.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Esolen/1184164082 Tony Esolen

    Let’s give Todd Akin another break, too. There is not one politician in this country who can utter sentences that parse, that make philosophical sense, that are well informed by history and economics, and that are the least bit elegant or eloquent. Not one. If every politician were to be hanged for a “stupid” utterance — well, as they say about the bus full of lawyers going over the cliff, it would be a hell of a start. Along with them would go all the pundits, from all across the political spectrum, except for those few who have had the benefit of a classical education. We’re going to hang Todd Akin for saying something in a stupid way? Shut the whole country down, then. And it turns out that he was, on the whole, correct? So then, truth is no defense against slander?

  • givelifeachance2

    “And while pro-lifers hold that all unborn children should be welcomed in life no matter the circumstances of their conception, we still allow our pro-life politicians to take another view.” Speak for yourself. I expect a politician to fit my concept of prolife to be called prolife. You might vote for him as lesser of two evils, but don’t call him prolife if he has exceptions. I think some people call a poitician prolife to rationalize voting for them if they are lesser of two evils. Fine, vote for him, but don’t call him prolife because you might just find your own moral framework corrupted by this rationalization.

  • hombre111

    Whimper. For all the yak about pro-life, the Repubs have never been a pro-life party. They use pro-life slogans as a gimmick to get pro-life votes. But then they do nothing that is really pro-life. It was a ploy to get pro-big business people into strategic places. For instance, look at the many decisions the five “pro-life” members Supreme Court have made furthering the cause of big business. But they have carefully avoided any discussion about court cases that would favor the cause of pro-life. They dodged the issue last year, this year, and next year. History will look back at the lost windows of opportunity. 1st under Reagan, and then under Bush. We should give up on pro-life as a political power struggle and get back to pro-life as a moral struggle. I am reading John Courtney Murray again about the challenges of the Catholic Church in a pluralistic society.

  • Thomas C. Coleman, Jr.

    Did I miss someting, orh as someone already pointd out that the unfortuante locution was “legitmimate rape,” not “authentic rape”? Unfortunately, Mr. Akin’s gaff was particularly hard to recover from. While I think that fo those self-styled Conservatives and pro-Lifers who turned their backs on him lack both charity nad loyalty, I’m not comfortable with the assertion that “one of thier own” would have been treated better. It is easy to remember at this distance that the Bushes all had a lot of opposition among Republicans throughout the land. It was not only Leftists who regarded W as a legacy frat boy cheerleader ex-po head born into money and brigher possibly only than Gore. Many Repubs laughed at Garrison Keillor’s W jokes just to porve how hip they were. If he’d lost in 2000 he wold have been laughed at as much as McCain. Conservatives simply do not have a No-Enemies-on-the Right Policy, Reagan’s 11th Commandment notwithtanding. That is both good and bad.

  • RShapiro

    Oh, please, gag me with a spoon. Akin was an idiot who did more to discredit the pro-life cause than any politician this side of Richard Murdoch. Closing the rape-and-incest loophole is certainly morally defensible, but it must be presented with great tact and sensitivity because most Americans disagree. Akin was not capable of that, and by making it sound like a woman being raped could prevent pregnancy by laying back and thinking of England (whatever he really meant), he just fed into the whole war-on-woman narrative. His defeat was guaranteed, not least because there are many people, including not a few priests and bishops, who don’t like abortion but just love the idea of government benefits, and are looking for any excuse to vote for a liberal pro-abort like Claire McCaskill. He gave it to them. He could have withdrawn, but he decided that if he couldn’t have the seat, no Republican could, because his career came first. He wouldn’t have been the first politician to suffer the political death penalty for a stupid comment (remember George Romney’s “brainwashed on Vietnam” comment?), but he refused to accept the inevitable. Politics ain’t beanbag, especially on the life issues, and if you can’t play the game well, a dignified, unselfish man leaves the field to those who can for the good of the cause.

    • Austin Ruse

      Oh brother.

  • FrankW

    Thanks for a very good article.

    While part of me was upset with the way Akin worded his comments, I think there needs to be a better understand of exactly what is taking place in our nation right now. The question facing pro-life politicians about the no-exception stand on abortion has been out there for decades, and has been successfully fended off by authentic pro-life politicians for that same amount of time.

    However, the attack on the pro-life movement has been significantly stepped up over the last four years, and the GOP establishment has allowed itself to be cowed (or shamed in their minds) into going along with this. The last two GOP nominees for President have had, at best, shaky pro-life positions. These two candidates were also the GOP insider’s choice for President. Why? Because both were seen as social moderates who could “win” the independent vote.

    In the meantime, the Obama administration has set out on an unprecedented attack on conservative social right of the GOP. They have successfully (to this point) passed a health care law that will force Catholic health care institutions to either sever ties with the Catholic Church, violate Church teachings, or shut their doors. This law also forces Catholic schools and universities into a very narrow box of a serving only other Catholics, which will in time result in these institutions being charged with discrimination, likely by the same administration that forced them into this situation.

    And where the GOP establishment been on this? How big an issue was this in the campaign? While Romney went on EWTN and proclaimed that the HHS mandate would be removed if he were elected, he made no mention of this mandate and the violation of religious freedom during the debates when the opportunity presented itself. Meanwhile, Obama was out proclaiming that the GOP wanted to restrict access to birth control, and Romney failed to response to that absurd comment.

    One can only conclude that the GOP establishment is abandoning the socials issues, starting with religious freedom. Their failure to support Akin and Mourdock after their poorly worded comments was just another sign of this.

  • Rich Leonardi

    Mr. Ruse writes, “Would Romney, Blunt, Ashcroft, Bond, Danforth and Talent called for Todd Bush to step aside?”

    Who knows, but a Romney, Blunt, Ashcroft, Bond, or — dare I say it — a Bush probably would have taken it upon themselves to step aside, given the circumstances. And most pro-lifers I know couldn’t have picked Todd Akin out of a lineup before he embarrassed himself, so I hardly think the criticism he’s receiving is the death of the movement.

    • Austin Ruse

      Who said anything about the death of the movement?

  • Laura

    Some men just don’t get it. The problem with the comment was a very, very deep one, primarily a lack of understanding on the part of men as to why this comment caused such a visceral reaction among women. It caused a very visceral, deep reaction from me. It came from left field and part of the 1940s “icky” mentality and ignorance of “women’s things.” It’s of the era that thought women don’t need an education because they “enjoy” being secretaries. A time when men were ignorant about women’s menstrual cycles and female issues. A time when men were the top of the food chain and women were subservient.

    It evokes a feeling of second-class citizenship because that man has no understanding of a woman’s body AND feelings in this day and age. I am not expressing this well. I’ve been searching for an analogy, and cannot find one, that would make today’s man understand why this remark created such hatred and vitriol from women. The majority of men these days are not that ignorant. Most men understand a woman’s body and how it works and don’t have the old standoffish ignorance, nor do they view women as “things.” His comment was a throwback to a neanderthal time and that just blew women out of the water. There was no way to recover from that ignorance. And he is the type of person that exemplifies not even caring to know how a woman’s body functions. It was total, total, total male arrogance at its worst! It says, “I don’t know how it works and I don’t care to know how it works.”

    Then, on top of it all, he makes the situation worse by not stepping down. Pure male imperiousness from the 1950s!! Women were slammed by this remark. They thought men like this no longer existed – and mostly, they don’t. He totally came out of left field, then continues along the same vein by refusing to quit! What the hell was wrong with this man?

    This remark was and is so upsetting to me that I still froth at the mouth and cannot express myself coherently to you. And I am not a woman’s libber by any means. But to all you men who are mystified by the havoc his remark created – and it seems to me by the comments I read here, guys still don’t see the actual problem – it isn’t what you think it is. It was a vicious punch in the gut to women and an emotional slap-down. And guys today aren’t like that. Don’t you guys see? He’s not LIKE you. There is something WRONG with him.

    • Austin Ruse

      Oh brother…

    • buckyinky

      Actually Laura, your comment is an emotional slap-down to men in suggesting that there was a time, whether the 1940s or any time in history, when it was common for men to think of women merely as “things.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Esolen/1184164082 Tony Esolen

    On the comment below, about ignorance of “women’s things”: There is no question in anybody’s mind that Mr. Akin knew quite well that a woman who is raped can become pregnant. All he was trying, badly, to say was that the violence of the rape makes conception unlikely. Now I have asked a very well informed doctor I know about this matter, and said doctor told me that the violence could prevent ovulation, if it had not occurred and was about to occur. I do not see how this is, on the face of it, obviously absurd. I do not see how it is, on the face of it, evidence of ignorance about “women’s things.” On the contrary — the Neanderthal (and by the way, the Neanderthals seem to have been sweet and gentle creatures) would assume that the mechanics of the act were all that was necessary.
    Which is more absurd, to believe that the violence and the unimaginable stress of a rape can prevent ovulation, or that the sweat glands of a man’s armpits can have a soothing effect on a room full of women? Obviously the latter — yet those people who study pheromones say something like that, though for the life of me I’ve never been able to witness it. Which is more absurd, to believe that the horror of a rape can prevent ovulation, or that women who travel together will after some months start to menstruate at the same time? Yet that latter is well attested.
    One more thing: It’s high time to cut the vilification of our fathers and mothers and our grandparents. People who divorce half the time they bother to get married, and who bear two out of five children out of wedlock, and who have made porn into the nation’s biggest export, have absolutely no ground to stand on when they seek to pass judgment upon other people’s expectations regarding marriage.
    I’ll say it again. Akin’s statement was clumsy and politically foolish. But there isn’t a single politician alive today who can go three or four days without making statements equally clumsy — and often downright despicable and immoral. There aren’t any great geniuses in that corral. Bozos on both sides are driving the bus, and it ain’t going to the Smithsonian. And in part it ain’t, because we are, all of us together, a deeply ignorant and vice-ridden people. We even believe that Barack Obama is eloquent.

    • elarga

      Let us suppose that Hilger is right, and that the sudden threat of rape could actually delay ovulation because of the stress induced by the threat; that is indeed plausible. However, this could only mean that at the moment of the threat of rape, the woman had NOT YET ovulated, and if she had not yet ovulated, there would be no egg to fertilize, and therefore no pregnancy. If, however, she was ALREADY ovulating, the threat of rape would make no difference because ovulation had already begun and obviously could not be delayed by any imaginable stress.

      • Austin Ruse

        Sperm can stay in the woman’s body for up to five days. This could be the window of ovulation that might be missed.

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  • Patricia

    Regarding the womens movement and women in general being upset over Todd Akin’s comments, what about unborn women, don’t they have any rights, apparently not. Also how many Einsteins, Mozarts, Rembrandts, Madam Curies, etc, etc. have we lost to abortion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1469384591 John J. Jakubczyk

    Here is the difference between the ay the Democrats treat their own and the way Republicans treat their own. Jesse Jackson Jr. is hospitalized amidst allegations of serious wrong-doing. The democrats circle the wagons and defend him to the hilt. He is re-elected. Only AFTER the election is the truth revealed and now he is resigning (not to mention the cost to his state in the neighborhood of %5.1M. We all know what happened to Mr. Akin.

    Austin is right. Whenever the GOP loses, it leadership and its moneyed elites blame the Pro-lifers. I have seen it time and time again even though the argument is false. But thee are the same folks who will not listen to our experience with the grassroots, who nominate candidates who have their own fatal flaws and who are unwilling to take the issue to the enemy. Instead we cede the field to them and give the media all the ammunition it needs to propagate the great lie.

    Of course the pro-life movement always has been a cheap date, willing to go with whoever promised “access.” Perhaps it is time to re-evaluate both the field and our strategy and take our cues from those who really understand grassroots local politics. Perhaps it is time to cultivate some candidates who will take the issue to the people and force the society to see what it is they are supporting. And maybe the time to do tis is not in the general elections but in the primary elections in both parties.

    • http://twitter.com/SensibleLifeJoe Joe Anderson

      I agree with most of what you say, John. However, I question your idea of trying to work within BOTH parties. It’s time to formally give up on the Democrat Party. To put any effort into that party is to dilute our efforts. What is more, that party has become a secular monolith promoting a range of philosophies directly opposed to the good the true and the beautiful. What is more, even if we get good pro-life candidates elected within that party they cannot operate within the party. As we saw during the Obamacare debacle, too much pressure is brought to bear on pro-life democrats, they are not free to live their conviction and they soon give in to secular progressivism.

  • Maximilian

    Mr Ruse:

    Thank you for an excellent article. Yes, we must be consistent. To really be consistent, the Republican party, of which I’m a member, needs to put a plank in the party platform with the goal of returning artificial contraception to it’s rightful place in U.S. Law: that of a crime. With a TOH to Pope Paul VI, the reasonable man must admit that artificial contraception and abortion are inextricably linked in a causal relationship which has brought us to our present dire situation as a nation. God bless.

  • Goldmund

    I understand the fervor with which the Catholic Church attacks or accepts politicians on the lithmus test of abortion rights.. What I can not reconcile is that the accepted, pro-life politicians are generally supportive of capital punishment. George Bush 43 for example. I wish to see the same fervor for condemned prisoners.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000627907392 Paul Rondeau

    A sad, accurate, well reasoned insight. The GOP has adopted the Obama mantra: everyone else is too blame. For shame.

  • Dan Deeny

    A great article. I actually sent money to Todd Akin’s campaign! But Doerflinger’s formal training is not quite beside the point: please see Mara Hvistendahl’s “Unnatural Selection” (She has fun with Paul Ehrlich and his lack of credentials.); also, Dr. Marie Stopes was not a medical doctor, but a paleobotanist. I guess Dr. Stopes gained so much influence because she had, and has, the rich and powerful on her side.

  • http://twitter.com/TheBraveLass Kamilla Ludwig

    Is there any chance of getting those lists/links from Mr. Doerflinger or Dr. Hilgers?

  • Mike

    Okay, so “legitimate rape” was his awkward way of how sometimes rape is statutory. I get that. But what about “shut that whole thing down”? Isn’t that portion both awkward and inaccurate? A woman who’s Not being forcibly raped certainly appears to have more options at her disposal if she wished to “shut that whole thing down.” Contraception, birth control, or even the timing- she can at least try to do something with the rhythm method. But a woman who’s legitimately (ok, forcibly) raped doesn’t get to choose the time, contraception is hardly practical, and birth control is a bit less likely to be in play if she wasn’t planning on having sex. So would you like to say anything about how a woman’s body can “shut that whole thing down”? Because- as much as you’d like for Akin to have been talking about something else- his main point was that he doesn’t think pregnancy via (forcible) rape is something that really happens. That whole thing gets shut down, he says. But you didn’t want to speak to the accuracy of that assertion in this article, did you? I guess you felt like You had to shut That whole thing down.

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