I’m sure that our on-the-beat ARK readers have all heard by now about Tea Party Representative Tod Akin’s (R-Missouri) atrocious comment yesterday, which reads, as the New York Times quoted:
“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Mr. Akin said of pregnancies from rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”
ARK has discussed abortion already on this blog, so I won’t recite that argument again, but let me reiterate:
Regardless of where folks stand on the abortion debate, and regardless of the moral or religious ideals folks want our government to uphold, women’s health needs to be a priority.
That means that accurate sexual health education needs to be provided across the country so that people form their decisions about health based on science and logic and fact.
That means that victims of rape and sexual assault need to be tirelessly advocated for, and that their physical and mental needs need to remain at the forefront of policymaker’s minds.
Bear in mind that Representative Akin (who is currently running for the Senate) did note that rapists ought to be punished–but really, people who are completely ignorant of women’s health and women’s bodies need to be kept out of public office–and especially need to be kept out of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, on which Akin currently serves–because they have failed to represent more than half of their constituents.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) which graced the Politics section of the September edition of Elle (pg 384):
Women need to be willing to take more risks in running for public office. I’ve talked to countless women who’ve convinced themselves that they’re not ready, not knowledgeable enough about the issues. I’ve never talked to a male candidate who felt that way. Ever. Truly never. A female officeholder once told me that to talk about international trade policy, a woman felt she needed a PhD. A man felt that he was qualified if he drove a Honda.
There are plenty of things that silence women in the world of politics, and silencing ourselves is one of the worst responses.
See you back on campus in a few weeks, ARK! Stay tuned!