Just when you thought the GOP couldn't get more ridiculous or offensive, a Missouri Republican, Todd Akin, claims that women who are "legitimately raped" don't get pregnant. He said this on KTVI-TV St. Louis when asked about his support to ban all abortions, including instances of rape.
It seems to me first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.
Akin implies that if a woman who was raped does become pregnant, she actually wanted the sex; it isn't a "legitimate" rape if the victim becomes pregnant.
How many new ways can the GOP blame the victim?
Although Akin has claimed he "misspoke" (but did not apologize), many Republicans are turning on Akin, calling his statements anywhere from "incorrect" to "offensive." Minority leader Mitch McConnell recently suggested Akin "reconsider his options" and the Republican Committee is pulling the money they had marked to help Akin's $5M advertising campaign, according to the LA Times.
Democrats should feel ambivalent about the GOP's, including Romney's, rejection of Akin after he made this absurd claim. Unfortunately, their rejection of Akin does not indicate progressive, or even reasonable, views, and takes the attention off Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, who also opposes all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest. Paul Ryan calls himself "as pro-life as a person gets" which means he is against in vitro fertilization, plus he supported the trans-vaginal ultrasound requirement and even the outrageous and ill-advised "Sanctity of Human Life" Act.
While it is refreshing to hear Republicans acknowledge that the science does not back up Akin's claim and, in some cases, to hear them almost be reasonable enough to assert that a victim of rape should not then be forced to endure a pregnancy and childbirth resulting from a rape, unfortunately, by rejecting Akin, the GOP might convince the general public that Akin is on the fringe, that his are not indicative of mainstream Republican thought. In actuality, Akin's beliefs fall well in line with most Republicans, including Paul Ryan's. The majority of GOP lawmakers are rigidly anti-choice and, more and more, anti-birth control, and those who hold different, less rigid beliefs are disparagingly called RINOs.
Akin's error was not in stating what he believes or in holding such a view; his mistake was attempting to cite science to back up his claim instead of sticking to the Republican trump card: religious beliefs.
In short, Akin isn't going to lose because he holds an outrageous stance--the GOP's candidate for Vice President holds an even more extreme position, after all--he's lost support because he made a gaffe. In a party that doesn't recognize legitimate science (regarding climate change, evolution, alternative energies, etc.), by using science (let alone spurious science), Akin made a fool of himself and the GOP. Democrats and Republicans can agree on that.