Rep. Todd Akin: legitimately raped by liberal media

The real function of the rape hypothetical is to force the Todd Akins of the world to make their premises explicit

by Colby Cosh

Christian Gooden/AP Photo

The hot story in U.S. politics this week is a Republican Senate nominee’s folk belief, expressed in a television interview, that women rarely get pregnant from “legitimate rape”. Missouri Congressman Todd Akin told a TV interviewer:

First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.

Akin’s use of the phrase “legitimate rape” is attracting a lot of catcalls; maybe he ought to have used Whoopi Goldberg’s famous formulation “rape rape” in order to be better understood. The funny thing is, if Akin meant “violent rape” when he referred to the “legitimate” kind, his weird legend is probably slightly higher on the ostensive believability scale than, say, “Organically grown vegetables are better for the environment”. It’s quite demonstrable that plenty of mammals undergo spontaneous abortion under stress; when it comes to sheep, rabbits, and rodents, “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down” is a 100% accurate statement.

Unfortunately for Akin, we belong to none of those species, and the evidence from medicine says that thousands upon thousands of human pregnancies result from rape. I don’t advise you to take it to the bank, but it may even be the case that rape is more likely than consensual sex to induce pregnancy in humans.

Everybody in the media thinks it is interesting that a Republican candidate got tripped up in being challenged on the abortion issue by means of a philosophical edge case. No one seems to take much notice of how big a deal we make of these cases themselves. It is fine that Akin got humiliated and may lose his political career, since a political campaign is, in part, an IQ test. He failed the test by letting it slip that he may think some species of sexual assault are less “legitimate” than others. He might as well have added a “heh heh heh” and waggled his eyebrows salaciously while he was at it.

In some contexts there are valid reasons to distinguish violent rape from other kinds, just as we distinguish murder from manslaughter. But the officiousness with which Akin is being belaboured is appropriate to our time in history: we have only lately blown up the methods of social control once used to protect women from non-consensual sex, and a few generations of men are having to have it drummed into them that sex without consent always has the essential nature of rape, whether you paid for dinner or not. This awkwardness is part of the price for the transition from an ancient social regime of patria potestas to one of ultra-individualism and contractual relationships.

Still, it’s interesting that we have made the poor little rape-baby so central to the debate over abortion—that this is the test we apply to men like Akin, even though Akin had already made his extreme pro-life position clear many times over. He thinks that abortion is wrong, and while rape is also wrong, two wrongs don’t make a right. This position has an attractive consistency when contrasted with the fudges some people come up with in confronting abortion. If you want to make an exception for rape because in that case the woman did not choose to get pregnant, will you make one for the broken condom and the forgotten birth-control pill? For a “natural family planning” calendar calculation gone awry? For a makeout session that gets out of hand?

To the degree that a “pro-life” position respects a woman’s choice, it becomes a “pro-choice” position very quickly in practice, as the “exceptions” naturally expand to cover nearly every conceivable situation in which a woman will want to seek an abortion. Women don’t get abortions because they’re laugh-a-minute thrill rides. They get them, and pardon me if I’ve buried the lede here, because they’re pregnant and they don’t want to be pregnant anymore.

The real function of the rape hypothetical is to force the Todd Akins of the world to make their premises explicit. The fertilized ovum being sacred, and having all the entitlements and endowments of a fully formed human being, its mother must inevitably be assigned the attributes of a heifer and made to carry the child to term at all hazards. (Indeed, her conduct could conceivably be policed to ensure that the fetus survives to term in good health.) The pain, inconvenience, danger, and expense to be experienced by the mere vessel count for nothing; the principle that the child’s existence is in no sense subservient or incomplete must be upheld, even if we never in any other way behave as though this principle were true, and even if no one really thought it was true until about 1965, and even if the implications are somewhat ridiculous.

That is the pro-life proposition, and the details of the child’s origin are ultimately tangential. But it’s not a coincidence that pro-lifers have, within their cultural cocoon, concocted a myth that deflects the rape issue—the edgiest of all the edge cases.




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Rep. Todd Akin: legitimately raped by liberal media

  1. It is fine that Akin got humiliated and may lose his political career,
    since a political campaign is, in part, an IQ test. He failed the test
    by letting it slip that he may think some species of sexual assault are
    less “legitimate” than others.

    He also failed the test by not having a canned answer ready for the question. That question comes with the territory of being a Republican. If you’re a pro life Republican and not prepared to answer that question safely without damaging yourself and the entire brand, you’re not smart enough to be in politics.

    • Sadly, I’m not sure there’s ANYONE who would be considered “not smart enough to be in politics” in 2012.

      • Yeah, Biden has set that bar pretty low indeed.

        • To be clear, I didn’t mean that as a partisan jab, so much as a slam on ALL politicians (not just in the U.S. either, though some of them are arguably the worst).

          I’m also POSITIVE that there has to be much worse on the Dem side in the U.S. than Biden. Biden is certainly gaff-prone, and not necessarily that smart at any rate, but I don’t think that it’s partisanship that has me believing that he’s not even in the same LEAGUE as an Akin, or a Palin, or a Bachman or a Herman Caine, say (though I suspect that once he got out of the race, Caine started deliberately playing up the notion that he’s an idiot for PR purposes. I can’t IMAGINE he’s as dumb as he comes off as in those Daily Show pieces he does from time to time now with John Oliver. That’s gotta be largely an act!).

          Again, not that there aren’t Dems in that league too, but I’m not sure Biden’s THAT bad.

        • Biden? What about President!?

          WSJ ~ Is Obama Smart? Case Study In Stupid Is As Stupid Does:

          On another occasion—at the 2004 Democratic convention—Mr. Obama explained to a Chicago Tribune reporter that “I’m LeBron, baby. I can play at this level. I got game.”

          Of course, it’s tempting to be immodest when your admirers are so immodest about you. How many times have we heard it said that Mr. Obama is the smartest president ever? Even when he’s criticized, his failures are usually chalked up to his supposed brilliance. Liberals say he’s too cerebral for the Beltway rough-and-tumble; conservatives often seem to think his blunders, foreign and domestic, are all part of a cunning scheme to turn the U.S. into a combination of Finland, Cuba and Saudi Arabia.

          I don’t buy it. I just think the president isn’t very bright.

          Socrates taught that wisdom begins in the recognition of how little we know. Mr. Obama is perpetually intent on telling us how much he knows. Aristotle wrote that the type of intelligence most needed in politics is prudence, which in turn requires experience. Mr. Obama came to office with no experience. Plutarch warned that flattery “makes itself an obstacle and pestilence to great houses and great affairs.” Today’s White House, more so than any in memory, is stuffed with flatterers.

          http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904140604576495932704234052.html

          • “I’m LeBron, baby. I can play at this level. I got game.”

            Is that immodest? I mean, he did proceed to become the first Black President of the United States. How can you complain about big talk when he backed it up with stunning success?

            “I just think the president isn’t very bright.”

            This from a guy who approvingly cites Jonah Goldberg. Think about that.

    • What if that WAS his planned response?

  2. Colby Cosh, you don’t even understand the word rape so don’t you dare try and insult victims of sexual assaults by say saying the liberal media raped Todd Akin. It’s not even the liberal press that are criticizing Todd Akin so I don’t know where you get your information from. Mr stupid Akin brought this all on himself with his out of date and dangerous thinking. This story is huge because the world apart from America are looking at this story and wondering if this is how the Republicans really think.
    Rape is rape Colby Cash and Todd Akin

    • Maybe I’ve underestimated the value of this “Colby Cash” alter ego. Gives me someone to point the finger at when he writes something ill-advised!

      • I hear Mr. Cash is loaded… always good to have rich alter-egos

    • The headline here is a bit cringe inducing, but to me it’s perfectly clear that the intent there is to mock Akin’s use of the “legitimate/illegitimate” dichotomy, and furthermore, to argue that the media/political fallout that Akin is experiencing as a result of his comments is ENTIRELY legitimate.

    • RTMFA.

    • “wondering if this is how the Republicans really think”

      Obviously if you can find a single republican amongst the 47 senators and 242 congressman, and the numerous other candidates, that if that one expresses an unusual opinion then they all must think that way.

      Because Republicans are like the Borg.

      Nevermind that the status of abortion has not changed since Roe vs Wade, despite multitudes of Republican election victories since then.

      Who cares what the other 288 Republicans say, or have said, or will say? The one opinion expressed by that one individual on that one day is the determining factor.

      Sort of like how we know Barack Obama and all other Democrats are dumb because Obama said there are 57 states. It’s hard to believe that all Democrats think there are 57 states, but you’ve convinced me now that it’s true.

      • “Nevermind that the status of abortion has not changed since Roe vs Wade, despite multitudes of Republican election victories since then.”

        Right. You try and tell that to a young pregnant woman who must:

        - Find a way to the only clinic permitted to operate in the state
        - Get into the clinic through the lines of protesters outside
        - Attend a state-mandated initial visit
        - Provide proof of her parents’ permission for the procedure
        - Listen to a state-mandated script of falsehoods and emotional manipulations read by the doctor
        - Spend the night away from home (since the state mandates a day’s wait before the procedure)
        - Make her way back through the protesters
        - Receive the procedure
        - Find her own way home

        Just because Roe v. Wade itself hasn’t been somehow overturned, doesn’t mean that the “status of abortion” has been unaffected by Republicans like Todd Akin.

        And if pro-choice Canadians seem vigilant in the face of wedge attempts to chip away at abortion rights (*cough* Stephen Woodworth *cough*), well, you can understand why.

        • Apparently you believe that teenagers who are not allowed to drink legally should be allowed to get themselves an abortion on demand. How quaint.

          • “Abortion on demand”. Quaint.

            Did you notice all the other barriers I listed? It’s hard to argue that the “status” of abortion has remained unchanged when a woman has to go through an obstacle course like that. And naturally these obstacles disproportionately affect the poorest, least empowered women.

          • You call that an obstacle course? LOL You’re not only sick to favour abortion for teens on demand, which I’m sure would be opposed by 99% of people, but you’re deluded as well. The protesters! What a laugh. Can’t get a ride home! OMG!

          • What you call “abortion on demand” is more commonly known as “choice”. It’s a constitutionally-protected right.

            And cute – you hee-haw over a woman who can’t afford transportation to the only clinic permitted to operate in her state. I guess constitutional rights depend on one’s financial status in your world.

  3. I see, it was non-violent rape. Like non-fatal murder. Just
    because the victims face isn’t smashed to a pulp or he/she wasn’t stabbed does
    not make a rape ‘non-violent’. A rape is inherently violent. Unless he is
    making a frankly appalling suggestion that if you didn’t fight back hard enough
    to suffer additional severe bodily injuries then it wasn’t so bad now was it
    eh? Maybe if even liked it! Just a little? No? ARGGGGGGGGGGGG

  4. ‘but the incidence of
    pregnancy through rape is very low’.

    The instance of pregnancy through ANY single act of
    sexual intercourse is low.
    The chances of a women
    becoming pregnant are 5% on the day of ovulation going from 0% to 26% in the
    five days prior and returning to 0% after. Averaged out and taking into account
    the odds of fertilisation when both sperm and egg are present this gives a
    chance of between 4% and 5% of any single instance of sexual intercourse
    resulting in pregnancy. This is REGARDLESS of whether the sex is consensual.
    See, some of us go and learn about the issues at hand which is the first thing
    I did when I read about this comment.

  5. I actually think the whole debate about abortion and rape in this instance could be considered tangential.

    What I’d like to know is exactly which “doctors” have been spewing this nonsense, and how they’re (apparently) managing to keep their medical licenses.

    • I’ve known of doctors who told patients that men are missing a rib, or that all babies are born white or with blue eyes……a template so to speak. I had hoped this kind of thing would end with Google.

    • Some talking head on MSNBC was saying yesterday that a representative who was a physician said something akin to “rape doesn’t lead to pregnancy” on the floor of Congress. There are also doctors who subscribe to the total fabrication of a link between abortion and breast cancer. Not even the most educated people are immune to the extraordinary forces of a confirmation bias.

  6. And as regards the stress angle:

    Mayo Clinic publication on fertility
    states:

    In more modern times, the rape-pregnancy
    claim seems to have been linked to the fact that stress can decrease fertility.

    “Mental stress can temporarily alter the
    functioning of your hypothalamus – an area of your brain that controls the
    hormones that regulate your menstrual cycle,” explains the Mayo Clinic in a
    publication about infertility. “Ovulation and menstruation may stop as a
    result.”BUT the stress that reduces fertility is the chronic kind that occurs
    over months or years, NOT the acute trauma of a rape.”
    Jeez, I have learned more about womens reproductive systems in the last 3 days than in my whole life. This is pretty sad considering I have my own set of ovaries.

  7. He wasn’t talking about stress. He believes women have a mental capability to control their reproductive system beyond choosing to have sex with a person unprotected. Modern medicine does not recognize this. This belief is born out of the need for pro lifers to ease their conscience of forcing through laws that would have rape victims (of any kind) endure a pregnancy and birth of their rapists child.

    • Is there not a law we can implement to force people to read past the first two paragraphs before commenting?

      • Under some metrics that would qualify as legitimate rape, or possibly rape-rape.

        • If I hold readers’ faces to the screen and force them to read articles in their entirety, would that be legitimate reader-rape?

          • Yes but don’t worry, the human body has natural ways of expelling any knowledge absorbed via reader-rape

  8. ‘Mr. Akin is not alone in his view
    about rape and pregnancy, however. It dates at least to medieval times, when a
    13th-century English legal tome called Fleta asserted that pregnancy was prima
    facie evidence against a charge of rape, “for without a woman’s consent she
    could not conceive.”’

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/science/how-todd-akin-revived-medieval-beliefs-about-rape-and-pregnancy/article4490867/

    The 13th century! Why are rightwingers still living in the 13th century?? Cripes, living in the 1950s is bad enough, but the Dark Ages???

    Get out of vaginas! Get out of bedrooms! Surely in a world of war and disease and famine you can worry about something more important than sex and it’s long outdated superstitions!

    • Oddly enough, some of us think that it’s kind of important to end the practice of tearing the limbs off of unwanted kids…

      • That doesn’t happen Gaunilon….just more of your gullibility.

        • That is a lie. It is how most abortions are performed, since the saline method (which burns the baby to death) went out of favour. D&C, in which the doctor uses a knife to scrape pieces of the kid out of the uterus, or suction (the most common variety) in which a suction machine is used to tear pieces off the baby and discard the pieces of her body.

          Go to a GAP demonstration some day and look at the photos. Or talk to an abortion survivor (i.e. someone who was “aborted” but managed to survive the attempt and has the injuries to show for it). Educate yourself.

          • No Gaunilon, none of this happens.

            Photoshopping fools many people….and there are no ‘abortion surviviors’

            If you believe there is a ‘god’…..then try using the brains you were given.

          • Again, please educate yourself.

            I’ve personally met several abortion survivors. I’ve also heard two former abortion doctors hold forth on what exactly they did for a living, with video included.

            Google “abortion methods”. Learn what D&C, suction, and saline solution abortions are. In the first two, a baby gets torn to pieces. In the third, the outer layers of her skin get burnt off and she takes 30-60 minutes to die, and is quite often born alive. The survivors I’ve met still had the burns from the saline solution.

            Get a fricking clue, and then try showing an ounce of concern for the 100000 children violently murdered every year in Canada in the name of “choice”.

          • Gosh I met ‘bearded ladies’ at the fair when I was a kid half a century ago, and even then knew enough not to undress in front of them. LOL

            C’mon Gaunilon….stop being so bloody stupid. You are being played for a sucker. For your wallet.

          • Dude…this is Emily. Have you not read this site enough? You could drag her into an OR where the procedure is performed and force her eyelids open to make her watch, and she still wouldn’t admit to being wrong. Save your energy.

          • I know. Normally I avoid, but some times I think there’s still hope. I write, after all, on behalf of the fool.

          • I find it hilarious that MEN who’ve never been near a pregnancy, or an OR for birth… or abortion… and who would pass out at the sight of either event occuring…….have the nerve, the gall, the chutzpah…..to tell a woman ANYTHING about birth…..just because they’ve seen a fuckin’ MOVIE!

            I’ll bet you fools believe wrestling is real, too!

  9. Deuteronomy 24:16 ~ The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

    I am pro life and never heard this rape argument before.

    Why are abortions limited to the first eight months of a person’s life if “fully formed human being” is criteria? New born babies are useless, they don’t start being able to take care of themselves until 18 months old or thereabouts. New born babies are pigs in poke for parents – they don’t know what child will be like – so we should change our abortion laws to allow parents to murder their children at any time before they start kindergarten and parents can take their time to decide if their child is a keeper or not.

    • Well, first:

      Deuteronomy 23:1 ~ If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife–with the wife of his neighbor–both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.

      Starting a moral argument with something from Deuteronomy or Leviticus is rarely a good idea, particularly an argument about the sanctity of human life. For every word about the times when you shouldn’t kill a person there’s a passage (usually pretty crazy) about the many times when you MUST kill a person. If we’re going to follow Deuteronomy with regards to abortion in the case of rape there’s a pretty compelling case to be made that the debate is moot, as we’ve arguably been commanded by God to kill both the rapist and his victim (unless one wants to argue that we should wait until the baby is born and THEN kill the mother).

      As to this:

      New born babies are useless, they don’t start being able to take care of themselves until 18 months old or thereabouts.

      I know you’re being facetious, of course, but at least part of the notion of setting an in-womb timeline as to when abortion may or may not be considered “acceptable” is whether or not the fetus could EXIST outside of the womb, full stop.
      To my mind, the focus of the argument (if there’s to be one) shouldn’t be on when “life” begins, but on when “humanity” begins. People would still be free to argue that one can’t (or shouldn’t) separate the two, but there’s nonetheless clearly a difference (the importance of said difference being the subject of debate) between, say, an entity that isn’t yet capable of feeding and caring for itself, and an entity that doesn’t have organs. One doesn’t have to agree that there’s a moral difference between a zygote and a baby, but I don’t think that room for moral disagreement makes the distinction itself irrational.

      • When one has a surgical abortion, one doesn’t abort a zygote, or a blastula or a morula but an embryo. An embryo that usually has a brain and a heartbeat.

        But regardless, what is humanity besides being human? You’ve already admitted that life begins at conception, so what is the growing life inside the woman’s uterus if it is not human? What species is it before its metamorphosis into a human being by the magical act of passing the vaginal wall?

        If it is human being but not deserving of basic life and support because we have to respect the individuality of the person, why do we force people to look after children after their birth? That causes stress, a decline in health, and a decline in standard of living compared to couples in similar economic circumstances without children. Colby Cosh mentioned patria potestas, and one one of the rights under patria potestas was the right of a father to kill one of his children whenever he wished. If people don’t owe anything to their children, even basic succor before birth, why aren’t we logically consistent and say that they have no responsibilities after birth and can dispose of that human life as they wish?

        • Akins argument is stupid enough……you and Tony can stop making it worse.

          • There are a lot of absurdly illogical arguments made by both sides of the choice debate, Emily. They are pointing out some of the absurdities of the pro-choice side; feel free to rant (as you are wont to do) about the pro-life side.

            From a purely scientific point of view, using the definitions of “human” (having the DNA structure of homo sapiens) and “life” the pro-life side is correct in saying an abortion is the termination of a human life.

            The question though is a moral one, not a scientific one, and people come up with all kinds of absurd inconsistencies trying to argue that their viewpoint is the only possible correct answer.

          • There are no debates or arguments to be had……it is medical science, and strictly between a woman and her doctor. End of story.

          • Well, we all know YOU won’t tolerate any opinion other than your own!

            You just essentially contradicted yourself with that last post. Medical science says that from a purely biological standpoint human life begins at conception. Period. So what is between the woman and her doctor is a moral and medical decision – morality and emotion are much bigger factors than science.

            I don’t think making abortions illegal is a solution to anything; if we are to significantly reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, better sex education and a sea change in societal mores are our best hopes. The radicals in both camps who aren’t open to discussing the issue (as opposed to trying to dictate terms) do not do themselves any favours; most Canadians are somewhere in the mushy middle and just bury their heads in the sand whenever the topic comes up.

          • Sorry, you’re muddling your religious beliefs with science…..not acceptable

            Before you know it you’ll be singing ‘Every sperm is sacred’

            And most Canadians are quite happy with the laws they way are now.

          • Did you see me advocate a change in the law in these posts? You did not.

            However, it is you, not me, who is muddling fact and opinion. And I never once raised religious beliefs. If you look back at our exchange here, the only one of the two of us trying to impose our own beliefs on others… is you.

            FACT: scientifically speaking, human life begins when sperm and ovum combine to form an organism capable of continued growth and containing its own unique DNA.

            FACT: legally speaking (at least for criminal law), in Canada the aforementioned life form has no legal rights until it has exited the womb

            OPINION: Everything else about this topic. Including your viewpoint.

          • Sperm is alive, eggs are alive….and should you look up parthenogenesis you’ll discover one of the contributions isn’t always necessary.

            FACT….in a past life you probably argued about how many angels could dance on the head of a pin…..sounds like your kinda crowd….but I’m not interested. Now off you go.

          • Parthenogenesis does not occur in humans; we’re talking human life.

            Eggs and sperm do not contain a full set of DNA and so are incapable of replicating and growing into a complete human – another requirement for it to be human life. That carton of eggs in your fridge is not a dozen chickens. Basic biology.

            But then you’ve never been one to let facts get in the way of an opinion.

            Now off YOU go…

          • OK; it is apparently possible in a lab; thanks for pointing that out. Doesn’t occur spontaneously in humans though (or at least there is no evidence to support it). But this has nothing to do with the discussion at hand; as you often do, you are attempting to deflect the discussion with pointless asides because you have nothing further on point.

            Of the two of us, I’m not the one here who is busy counting angels on the head of a pin…

          • Since I can’t abide the rightwing, I have absolutely no interest in leading the discussion away from Akin.

            Give your head a shake.

        • Spot on, Yanni.

      • “Starting a moral argument with something from Deuteronomy or Leviticus is rarely a good idea, particularly an argument about the sanctity of human life.”

        I am pro wrath and smite, I think there should be much more of it in our society, I am just confused why people think it is normal to murder innocent babies but no one else. Many people who support abortion of baby conceived during rape would not support death penalty for rapist and I find that bewildering.

        I believe in karma and Newton’s third law and much of modern justice policy goes against cosmic and physical laws of nature. Important part of Deuteronomy 24:16 is “… every man shall be put to death for his own sin.”

        Criminals are not being punished enough and that goes against Nature.


        • I am pro wrath and smite, I think there should be much more of it in our society, I am just confused why people think it is normal to murder innocent babies but no one else. Many people who support abortion of baby conceived during rape would not support death penalty for rapist and I find that bewildering.

          OK, but Deuteronomy arguably calls on you to support the killing of the rape VICTIM too.

        • Like I said in an earlier story… Generally most of the population agrees that it is a moral good that human beings should be killed. They generally just disagree on the particulars of how, who and when. Which is extremely depressing.

    • “Why are abortions limited to the first eight months of a person’s life if “fully formed human being” is criteria?”

      Indeed.

      Samuel 15:3 ~ Now go and smite Amalek,
      and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay
      both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

    • “New born babies are pigs in poke for parents – they don’t know what child will be like – so we should change our abortion laws to allow parents to murder their children at any time before they start kindergarten”

      You, sir, are a Jonathan Swift-like satirist. Well, not really. You’re a quote-belching troll. Quoting that sage Jonah Goldberg eagerly and often, even. Thanks for the reminder never to even parse a McC post that even brusquely lights on the subject of abortion lest one finds your lacking humour here.

  10. It is interesting that Colby Cosh equates motherhood, and the responsibilities and duties that entails, as being no different than being a heifer. That is one blatant piece of misogyny. It would be like saying that if a man who is forced to pay child support even if the woman conceived by sabotaging his or her birth control has turned him into a yoked oxen. No, it is precisely because he is a man and and a father, regardless of the circumstances of conception, that he has a duty and responsibility to support that child.

    I myself do not believe that people have the right to kill their own children, or that attacking and killing their own children simply because they don’t want to be pregnant anymore is a moral action. I do not however, like Mr. Cosh, equate pregnant women as being heifers if they are pregnant, nor should they be treated as such before or after pregnancy.

    • Yanni…men can practice birth control, too…

      • Yes. More particularly they can keep it in their pants in the first place until they are ready to have a child with a committed partner. The idea that it is healthy to try and practice consequence free sex is both biologically impossible and foolish. There aren’t 100,000 abortions a year in Canada because 100,000 women (or men) aren’t using birth control. Sex is a risky behaviour and has consequences, period.

        But it can also be the case that men (and women) have been misinformed about their partner’s birth control in an attempt to get pregnant without one partner’s consent. This is essentially a form of rape, and I hope the Supreme Court rules with the woman who charged someone with sexual assault after she found out her boyfriend poked holes in his condom to try and get her pregnant.

        But regardless of the circumstances of conception, you have a moral duty to care for your child and heir in the best way you can. You do not have permission to murder it.

        The only exception is when your own life is at risk, though I would consider it heroically virtuous to lay down your life to ensure the survival of your unborn child, just as I would consider it heroic to lay down your life for a child threatened outside the womb.

        • “The idea that it is healthy to try and practice consequence free sex is both biologically impossible and foolish”

          As is the idea that people can be expected to remain abstinent until they’re ready to have a child with a committed partner.

          Sex is a physical drive, like hunger. Any given individual may be able to abstain for long periods of time but it’s foolish to expect the population to do so (which is why there were back-alley abortions even in the days before the sexual revolution).

          • No, I fully expect that people will fail from the ideal, and they will unfortunately get pregnant in less than ideal circumstances. No, you don’t get to murder your own offspring for the sake of convenience.

            We are in the 21st century. We have split the atom, walked on the moon, and have built a great society. You don’t have to kill your children anymore. There are other solutions.

          • “We are in the 21st century.”

            Yes we are. Though some people want to drag us back to the dark ages, in which the government exercised authority over womens’ bodies.

            I’m glad to hear there are other solutions in our high-tech age. I assume these solutions avoid forcing a woman to carry a fetus to term and go through childbirth?

    • That flew over yer head there. What he is saying that pro-lifers ultimately view pregnant women as heifers with no right of their own.

      • The fact that he figures that pregnant women who can’t kill their own children are heifers speaks towards his attitude towards women and their biological function in general. Unless you have the option to kill your own child, you are a heifer, because carrying a child isn’t a sacred trust, but a mere animalistic spawning and a degradation of the person.

        Thus, another example of why secular humanists aren’t really humanists after all.

    • “Colby Cosh equates motherhood, and the responsibilities and duties that entails, as being no different than being a heifer.”

      No; he says that people like Akins assign them an equivalent role in society. It’s pretty evident from the article that he doesn’t agree with Akins, so if he is saying this is what Akins essentially believes, it’s safe to assume Cosh himself thinks otherwise.

    • As for reproductive rights and child support: It could probably be argued that forcing the biological father to pay child support if he wanted an abortion and the woman kept the child violates his Charter rights against discrimination on the basis of sex.

      If a woman has post-conception reproductive rights and the option to choose whether or not her fertilized egg gets to live or die, then the man too must have the right to decide on the fate of his half of the DNA post-conception.

      Clearly, he can’t force the woman to have an abortion against her will – so his rights must be differently expressed. If the woman chooses to go through with the pregnancy against his wishes, and then she or the government forces him to pay child support, he is in essence not only being denied his right to choose, but is being partially enslaved as a consequence of this denial.

      Therefore, if the male expresses in writing during the pregnancy that he does not want the child and forever relinquishes all parental rights, he should then be treated the same as an anonymous sperm donor – a source of DNA only. He should bear no responsibility for child support.

      • Why shouldn’t sperm donors be responsible for the children they make?

        • Are blood or organ donors responsible for the future well-being of the recipients of their largess? How many blood or kidney donors do you think we’d have if so?

          A sperm donor offers up his sperm so that another who wants a child can have one. Period. He is not volunteering to surrender a chunk of his pay for the next 18+ years to someone else.

          Your position on the topic would close sperm banks overnight and end the dream of many childless couples.

          Of course, if you are opposed to in vitro or other non-intercourse fertilization practices, your statement makes perfect sense…

  11. It seems to me, that in both Canada and the US, the media spends vast amounts of energy trying to stir up the abortion debate, even though it falls way, way, way down the list of election issues.

    This is exactly what happened in the last 3 Canadian federal elections, were the media went to vast lengths to find Conservative candidates willing to express their opinions on a subject, abortion, that has not been touched by an elected government for decades, and has absolutely no prospect of being touched in the foreseeable future in either Canada or the USA.

    This is simply an indicator of how this is nothing more than the liberal media trying to help their favoured party win the next election. They think the abortion issue harms the conservatives, so they ask questions about abortion to conservative candidates (conversatives only, of course), hoping to find a politician willing to give them a soundbite they can play over and over and over again. Rather than talk about the real issues, they try to manufacture controversies that will favour their preferred party. This did not work in Canada (despite the fact it consumed vast amounts of the media’s coverage), and it won’t work in the USA either. But they keep trying.

  12. Tod Akin called into question the character of every woman who was impregnated by a rapist. That is much deserving of scorn. Those defending Akin like Colby Cosh should be ashamed.

      • Ah, the heartbreak of RCDD (Reading Comprehension Deficit Disorder).

        The headline has a typo though. Surely you meant “rapped legitimately”.

    • Mighta shoulda finished reading the post, eh?

  13. Akin’s idiotic comments aside, the consistent pro-life position would be this: if it’s wrong to kill a born child conceived in rape, then it’s also wrong to kill an unborn child conceived in rape.

    And then, of course, there is the fact that 1.1 million abortions occur in clinics and hospitals across North America every year, almost none of which have anything to do with rape. It does seem like a convenient distraction for those who think our current abortion situation is just peachy and would prefer not to discuss the ethics of abortion per se.

    • Didn’t you mean to say “the ethics of bodily autonomy”? Oh, right, you didn’t.

      • Yes, that’s right, if we call it “bodily autonomy” instead of “abortion” that makes it all ok. I mean, killing children is totally justified if it’s to preserve your “bodily autonomy”, right?

        Let’s be honest. You think child-murder is ok if the child in question is inconvenient (i.e. by interfering with “bodily autonomy”). This should bother you, and judging by your predilection for euphemisms, it does.

        • Sure, I’ll be honest. We’re not talking about “child-murder” because we’re not talking about children, but yes, I do rank having autonomy over one’s own person pretty highly, especially as long as this is a world full of people who are quick to presume that they know what is best and are just itching to impose their idea of the right way to think and act on others. And it’s a principle even more worthy of protection in the case where some of those people are actual legislators like Todd Akin who are willing to include falsehoods and superstition in their worldview.

          • Yes, that’s right, that non-child which you have every right to kill magically turns into a child as she transits the birth canal.

            Come on. Be honest. If you’re ok with the current abortion situation in Canada, you’re ok with it being perfectly legal to kill a child up to the moment of birth. That’s clearly a child.

            You are holding that your autonomy gives you the right to kill a child. Defend it if you have the stomach, but have the honesty to admit what you’re defending.

          • I don’t know what to tell you, Gaunilon. I think your argument is a smidge on the dishonest side, but here you go: it’s my body, and it’s a less-than-ideal world. If my appendix is proving to be a problem, it’s got to go. Same goes for the child (your term, not mine) inside of me. Of course, it’s your right to beak off about my decision, but the decision is mine to make, and you had better stay the hell out of my path as I enter the clinic.

  14. I wondered where you were going there at first Cosh, but honestly, you’ve quite eloquently revealed the vacuous and deceitful nature of the pro-life-at-all-costs mentality. Bravo.

  15. It’s one thing to point out Akin’s stupidity. It’s quite another to imply that all pro-lifers are as stupid as Akin. That is what the author gently encourages us to do in the last 4 paragraphs of the article. Please spare me the self-righteousness. Abortion is a complex issue that challenges our very ethics. I refuse to believe we have debated the issue long enough or deeply enough to have arrived at a definitive, objective, universal truth.

  16. Todd Akin opened a can of worms that most people are not ready to deal with. Now, before I get going, let me say that I disagree with Akin on abortion. I think it should always be available for females that are the victims of rape and/or incest.

    Now, let’s go. “Rape” is not all the same. Both the law and society has classified rape into various categories for as long as I can remember. This why we have “statutory” rape as opposed to “forcible” rape. And please note that some Republican didn’t just make up those terms….they have been used by law enforcement reporting for decades.

    Why the all of a sudden outrage over Akin’s comments then? Is it because he’s a Republican? Fair enough. But any honest person is going to have to admit that there are staunch Democrats that have made equally offensive claims about rape. Take Whoopi Goldberg’s comment about known rapists Roman Polanski. She didn’t think his rape was “rape” rape. I guess that made it OK. Now, many Democratic Julian Assange apologists are dismissing the claims of the two women who accused him of rape – before it has even seen the inside of a court room. Superb.

    So, what have we learned here?

    1. Rape is bad.
    2. But only if it’s “real” rape
    3. And “real” rape depends on what side of the political fence you sit on.

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