Yahoo! News asked Missouri voters to share how Senate candidate Todd Akin's comment about "legitimate rape" is affecting their votes this fall. Here excerpts from what they wrote on Monday.
After hearing Akin's comments, my first thought was: What defines "legitimate rape"? How could you tell a woman who became pregnant after a rape that she wasn't really raped? I'm by no means a doctor, but I am a woman, and I'm pretty sure that a woman's reproductive system does not "shut down" in the event of a rape.
Akin later issued an apology via Twitter, saying, "To be clear, all of us understand that rape can result in pregnancy & I have great empathy for all victims. I regret misspeaking."
I'm not sure he was misspeaking, but rather giving an uneducated and ignorant opinion. While Akin may feel this was a "legitimate apology," the women of Missouri may never accept it. As a woman voter in Missouri, a mother of two and former teen mother, I could never bring myself to terminate a pregnancy. However, I have deep sympathy for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year, and I think abortion should be available for these women. My vote will not be going to Akin this election.
-- Kate Tabers, St. Louis
I'm a voter in St. Louis. I'm also as a reasonable person, and I have been offended by Todd Akin's statement about "legitimate rape."
Not only was the comment a gross display of ignorance, it was also troublingly vague; I raise the question: What exactly is "legitimate rape" to him? Is he, like many people are, under the false impression that the majority of rapes are committed by strangers in an alley just waiting to prey on unsuspecting adult women? Is he aware that, according to RAINN.org, two-thirds of rapes are committed by someone whom the victim knows, and 40 percent of them happen to people under the age of 18?
I'm upset, and I am not willing to accept his apology. As a politician, he almost certainly has a swarm of PR people to tell him that his comment was a misstep, and I'm fairly certain that was the major motivation of his apology.
-- L. Vaillancourt, St. Louis
Here's why I still stand behind Todd Akin. Some would scoff at his comments. But no matter our opinions, we all have something that we could say about it. I believe Akin lacked sound judgment in the words he chose, but the message he was attempting to express was of greater importance than any controversy that could stem from what he did say. Akin may have been a little insensitive in his wording, yet the moral story remains unchanged:
Abortion is immoral and illegal in the eyes of God. It should be illegal in the United States. All it really is, when you get down to its simplest elements, is murder.
-- Curtis Ray Bizelli, Poplar Bluff
Akin's apology did not fill me with confidence; it quickly glossed over the original comments and tried to push the focus toward the economy, this election's hot-button issue. This is not the first time Akin has taken heat on the issue of rape; in 1991, says the Post-Dispatch, he fretted over a marital rape law that could be used "in a real messy divorce as a tool and a legal weapon to beat up on the husband." To me, he showed a lack of compassion, even then, for the issue.
Rep. Akin can count on at least one less vote; his lack of compassion and the total lack of understanding of basic human biology for someone who sits on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee points me back to Sen. McCaskill's camp.
-- Gene Bannister, Park Hills
I'm already an ardent supporter of Sen. McCaskill, and I wouldn't have voted for Akin in the first place. But I was aghast at his blatant disregard for political common sense.
Akin is an engineer by trade. He also earned a master's in divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary in 1984. As a voter, I'm trying to figure out how Akin can talk about the science behind rape and abortions without a medical degree. It would be one thing if Texas Rep. Ron Paul, an actual gynecologist, made these statements (albeit not true). It's another thing for a non-expert to assert facts of biological processes.
-- William Browning, Branson
As far this voter is concerned, this man is not a career politician; he is an ongoing train wreck. Akin says he believes the female body has ways of shutting down pregnancy brought on by rape and that women getting pregnant by rape is very rare occurrence. Akin claims doctors told him that. Those "doctors" must be the imaginary voices in his head that told him running for Senate was a good idea. No doctor would ever say such things.
He never had my vote, so I can't say he lost it over this whole embarrassment, but I profess I will do everything in my power to make sure he loses the votes of friends and family who were naive enough to vote for him.
-- Dustin Triplett, St. Clair
- Politics & Government
- Todd Akin