Representative Todd Akin (R-MO), congressman and current Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Missouri, made some comments about limiting a woman's right to choose to give birth to a child that might be conceived during an act of rape. Akin went so far as to make a "judgment call" about degrees of rape. His comments provoked a media and political discussion about women's control over the their own bodies and their constitutionally guaranteed rights under Roe v. Wade.
The more I watched the TV discussion of this incident, the more I kept asking myself: What makes men, especially men elected to Congress, believe that they have some special insight and wisdom about what rights a woman should have in deciding about the birth of her child?
This is especially true since the issue has been concluded by the Roe v. Wade decision and the subsequent Hyde Amendment (passed in 1976 and reaffirmed by executive order by President Obama). The Hyde Amendment prevents Medicaid or other funds appropriated under Health & Human Services from being used for an abortion except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered.
It probably is inevitable that sooner or later some male member of Congress, other public official or religious or civic leader would again seek to proscribe the limits of what a woman can or cannot do in connection with a possible need for an abortion.
What is so amazing to me is that people like Congressman Akin -- and Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney and other men who in other instances ardently preach and proclaim the civic virtue of no or limited government in the private lives of American citizens -- seem all too willing to insert government into the most intimate private lives of women. They genuinely believe that they know what is best for women in the case of an unwanted pregnancy.
If there ever was a case indicating the dire need for more female members of Congress, the Todd Akin incident should, once and for all, settle this question.
Congresswomen Shirley Chisholm and Bella Abzug, great feminist members of Congress who are no longer alive, would be screaming in protest.
Finally, we and others have already written several blogs about the issue of voter suppression. One obvious irony not mentioned or discussed is, logic would dictate, that governors and state legislatures -- wanting to reserve political power to local communities -- should support every effort to expand and increase the opportunity to vote, not restrict it.
Yes, we know their narrow anti-democratic agenda (with a small "d") and their larger agenda to defeat President Obama's re-election.
Just thought we ought to mention this again.