By Phyllis Imade
Phyllis is a teen blogger in the Venus Meets Isis network, a digital media program for teen girls, and writes about the involvement of teens in politics and social media.
Many of us are aware of the controversy around the issue of abortion. Specifically, during a presidential election, the case of abortion becomes significant as candidates express their opinions on whether they believe a woman has the right to have an abortion. One person with a very zealous opinion on abortion in particular is not running for president, but instead is running in the Missouri Senate race. And this man is Todd Akin.
This man and his opinions on abortion and rape have currently been big news and have many women and men questioning Republicans' standpoint on women's rights and abortion. Todd Akin states, "If it is a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down." I do not fully understand how this statement, in any possible way, makes sense. Is he trying to say that when one does get pregnant and shows no sign of physical abuse that she was not 'legitimately' raped? Is he claiming that rape victims that have gotten pregnant make false accusations and that the act was consensual?
From a teenager's viewpoint, I personally believe that this statement was repulsive and wrongly accuses women of having the ability to prevent pregnancies in the case of rape. His reasoning on legitimate rape especially seems incorrect if you consider a scientific study showing that a five percent pregnancy rate following rape results in 32,000 pregnancies each year.
Todd Akin did apologize for the offense many people received from his comments and claims that they were phrased incorrectly. But many people still believe that his remark showed little compassion to rape victims in general and especially to those that were impregnated during the act and chose abortion. It insinuates that their option for an abortion was wrong because they were not 'legitimately' raped while invalidating their pain and harm.
His comments on rape were stated during a time when Republicans are fighting strongly to win a presidential election. It could cause a direct impact on the voters' choice in Republican candidates because it sends the message that Republicans may share this opinion on rape and will try to place serious limits on women who want an abortion. One thing is certain: Todd Akin opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest. The way he expressed his belief, however, came across as offensive and inappropriate to many women.
As a result, many Republicans have tried to distant themselves from Todd Akin's somewhat misogynistic opinions on rape to avoid further damage to the Republican presidential campaign. Akin has received widespread calls to drop out of his Senate race by both Republicans and Democrats because many believe that his remarks were completely inexcusable. Republican Mitt Romney, in particular, states that Akin's remarks were "inexcusable, insulting, and frankly, wrong" and called for Akin to step down from the Senate race in Missouri.
President Barack Obama also responded to Akin's comments by saying, "Rape is rape... And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we're talking about doesn't make sense to the American people and certainly doesn't make sense to me."
I believe that Akin's chance of winning in the Senate after stating his beliefs on rape and abortion are pretty much non-existent. Akin's comments on rape will also play a role on how people vote in the election and may swing the United States Senate election in Missouri to the Democrats' favor.