Todd Akin's last chance to drop out of the Missouri Senate race has come and gone. But he's still standing -- with prominent members of the Republican Party by his side.
As Akin carries on to the general election, he wants us to believe two things. First, that his now infamous "legitimate rape" comment was nothing more than using "the wrong words in the wrong way." And second, that he is being unfairly punished by the Republican establishment for his remark.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Akin's outrageous "legitimate rape" statement is not empty rhetoric -- it's reflective of a voting record that consistently attacks women's rights and opportunities. His efforts to curb access to contraception, dismantle Medicare, and redefine rape, place him far to the right of mainstream Missourians. But he is still flanked by allies on all sides. From former Republican Presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee on the campaign trail, to a shocking number of House Republicans, Akin has no shortage of support for his outrageous campaign or regressive legislative agenda.
Akin isn't an underdog, and his supporters are not outliers who are bucking the party establishment. They are the core of a Republican Party that is firmly committed to rolling back the clock on women's rights and opportunities. And an Akin win could shift the balance of power in the Senate towards these right-wing extremists.
The War on Women is real. A vote to redefine rape isn't just a change in rhetoric. It means that real women like our daughters, sisters, and friends who have experienced rape -- whether it was on a date or by a spouse -- could be denied the health care that they desperately need. And a vote to block access to equal pay isn't just a matter of losing a few cents on the dollar -- it makes it harder for women we know to pay for groceries and put their kids through college. If women want to have access to health care, education, and economic opportunity, we can't let Akin win. The stakes couldn't possibly be higher.
We have to hold Republicans like Akin and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan -- who has voted with Akin 93 percent of the time -- accountable for the policies that they support. The good news is that we're well on our way. According to research conducted by EMILY's List WOMEN VOTE!, 65 percent of independent women voters surveyed believe that the drastic cuts to Medicare and Social Security supported by Akin, Ryan, and other House Republicans are convincing reasons not to elect a Republican to Congress.
The power to fight back is ours. The EMILY's List community -- now more than 1.7 million members strong -- has already thrown its support behind amazing pro-choice Democratic women like Akin's opponent, Senator Claire McCaskill, who will not only fight against these extremist attacks, but will advocate for policies that help women and families. Join us.