Written on Tuesday, August 28, 2012 by Nathaniel Davidson
“You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!”—Leo Amery to Neville Chamberlain, 1940
“Did I deserve the death penalty?”—Rebecca Kiessling, conceived by rape.
As Patriots know, Todd Akin won the tightly contested Republican Primary for a Senate seat from Missouri. But then a TV interviewer asked him the usual “hard case” canard, whether he would make an exception for rape and incest. He infamously replied:
“It seems to be, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”
The strange phrase “legitimate rape” has been a magnet for criticism. He hasn’t helped by his own confused rationalizations. First that he meant “forcible rape”, then revising it to what I had originally thought he meant, rape claims that are true as opposed to false rape allegations. And his claim about female bodies is certainly misinformed (although not nearly as much as the typical Democrat misinformation that unborn female bodies are just disposable clumps of tissue—see House Fails to Ban Sex-Selective Abortions).
Many conservatives, including my employers, Liberty Alliance, have called for Akin to drop out of the election. This election is certainly not just about Akin, but the whole need to recapture the Senate and undo the Democrats’ damage. Many leading Republicans, including Romney and Ryan, have joined the call, while the Republican National Committee withdrew all funding from the Missouri race. Ann Coulter summarizes:
“Republicans are not asking Akin to step aside because they suddenly found someone better. They are asking him to step aside because, by his own volition, he said something monumentally stupid, destroying his own candidacy. …”
“His comments are going to cost Republicans an easy Senate seat in a moment of crisis for the nation. This one man’s stubborn refusal to bow out could cost us control of the U.S. Senate, House seats in Missouri, Senate seats elsewhere and maybe even the White House itself.”
Certainly conservatives need to weigh the greater good of the Senate race with being too ready to buckle under media pressure. A fellow columnist has sounded an important warning in Hey, Republicans! I have an idea! Let’s help the Democrats win. Again!
“Do Republicans really want to stand idly by as the Democrats pick off their primary choices one-by-one, based upon bad word choices, or worse? Does that risk winning the Senate, and possibly the entire country by Republican’s inability to ‘team up?’ ”
All the same, it doesn’t seem that this applies to Akin. While he is quite conservative, he is not quite the martyr to principle he is making himself out to be. Ann Coulter says:
“Akin was not even the clear choice of conservatives. In the primary, John Brunner was endorsed by both Missouri Right to Life and the National Right to Life. Sarah Steelman was endorsed by Sarah Palin. Akin was endorsed by the Democratic Party.
“The Democrats carefully nurtured Akin with millions of dollars in campaign money because he was the candidate they most wanted to run against. (Akin thinks all those Democrats voting for him in the primary merely show that he’s got tremendous crossover appeal!)”
So there are very good reasons for conservatives who care about an election victory to echo Amery’s call to the bumbling appeaser Chamberlain, quote above.
However, in all this political mayhem, it would be a shame if a good point Akin made is lost.
Akin’s continuation was lost in the confusion and his unreasonable stubbornness, and this is a pity, because it is very sensible:
“You know, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”
We should be clear: the only reason for opposing abortion is that it kills an innocent human being (please, no debates on “original sin” here—I am using the word “innocent” in the original meaning, from Latin in-nocens, or not harming). Democratic politicians, although self-servingly claiming to be from the “party of science”, have to avoid this key scientific issue of when life begins. No wonder, because the evidence keeps growing against any attempt to deny the humanity of the unborn.
For example, two years ago, scientific research prompted a New Scientist report:
“Could a fetus lying in the womb be planning its future? The question comes from the discovery that brain areas thought to be involved in introspection and other aspects of consciousness are fully formed in newborn babies.”
So why should we be surprised that the then-candidate Obama, telling the hapless Rick “40 Days of Pointless” Warren that the question was “above my pay grade.” Apparently this didn’t offend Warren’s precious sensibilities anywhere near as much the
uncivil discourse that gave him an excuse to cancel an Obama–Romney debate at his church.
Other Dems make some nebulous airy-fairy appeal to “personhood”, which is hardly “scientific”. And then there are those who spout the mantra “A woman’s right to choose”, which would be fine if the baby were a fibroid or cancer, not another human being. Yet another pretence is that it’s just a “religious” issue, as they spout absurdities like “Get your rosaries off my ovaries.”
The most cowardly of all is “I’m personally opposed, but …” Think about it: why be personally opposed to abortion? If the baby is not a human being, then it’s silly to be “personally opposed” to abortion. Would anyone be “personally opposed” to removing a fibroid or tumor? But if it is a human being, then how is it any longer a matter of “personal choice”? Of course, the Dems were historically “pro-choice” on slavery too—they should have adopted the slogan, “Don’t like slavery? Then don’t own slaves!”
Is anything about the science, or the baby’s innocence, changed because of the way the baby was conceived? Akin was perfectly right: it is the rapist we should punish—the child of the rapist should not be executed. As per the quote at the top, Rebecca Kiessling, who was conceived by rape, and is now a pro-life lawyer and mother, asks, “Did I deserve the death penalty?” Her website has many other examples, and her story changed the heart of Texas governor Rick Perry.
Now there might be pragmatic reasons for this exception. Banning abortion except for the cases of rape or incest would certainly eliminate the vast majority of abortions. In an earlier column, A search for a perfect candidate will help elect the worst, I cited the Christian ethicist Greg Koukl, When Compromising Is not a Compromise. The case for voting for a candidate who allows for the rape exception, to defeat an abortion extremist like infanticide-supporting Obama, is even stronger than the case Koukl presents. But don’t pretend it’s a very logical or moral position.
Todd Akin’s careless words have the possibility of causing immense harm, not only to his own chances, but to Republicans as a whole this election. So for the good of his party, and more importantly, to his country, he needs to drop out. But he made a good point that the rape exception for abortion is unsound. However, the only silver lining I can see is if the Republicans have the cojones to turn the conversation back on the Democratic “cult-like devotion to abortion”, and the President’s abortion fanaticism.