OK, I get it. Todd Akin is a fool and probably hates women and sex. But the question here is not the definition of rape, and which kind might or might not justify abortion. The question is access to abortion.
It took me, oh, 60 seconds to tire of the left's indignant hyperbole. Todd Akin's comments about abortion and "legitimate" (meaning forced) rape were idiotic and, alas, not unusual among the far Right.
It's hard to count the ways Akin was idiotic. The most amusing was his implication that a woman can't get pregnant unless she's enjoying sex; my 3 siblings and I are living proof that THAT's not the case. (I base this on my mother's suggestion that sex was a bargaining chip in getting a man to marry you - otherwise, why do it, for heaven's sake?) Well, me, my siblings, and the 30 some thousand pregnancies that annually result from rapes, many of which were "legitimate".
But we're missing the point; the outrage on the left (and the pseudo outrage on the right) is about the words "legitimate rape". It SHOULD be about the attempt to give abortion more or less legitimacy depending on the situation. We're being distracted by a fool.
The war cry of the left has been "rape is rape". While it's a catchy phrase and perhaps good political ammunition, it's not what you'd call "true". There's having sex with your 22 year old boyfriend when you're 16 and in love (statutory rape), and then there's hitchiking when you're 17 because you're naive and think everybody's basically really nice, and getting in a car with a really creepy guy and, when he says he wants to make out with you but he promises he won't do anything else and you say "No, let me out right now", he drives you to a deserted road and rapes you and possibly kills you. The first thing happened to me. The second almost did - I was saved by a mail truck going by, and escaped with a ripped dress.
The issue is not that all rape is the same, and it's disingenuous to claim so. The issue is that Republicans are systematically dismantling women's rights; the pinnacle of that quest will be outlawing abortion of a fetus resulting from violent rape. The beginnings are already appearing: grading the validity of abortion, restricting access to and funding for birth control, and painting women who want contraception as sluts.
Abortion is a dicey issue; it encompasses but isn't limited to a woman's control over her body (and often her independence, education, and financial well-being). If you believe, as some honestly do, that abortion is the murder of a baby, it makes sense to decide when that act is justified.
But if you believe, as I do, that a fetus up to a certain indefinable point is a cluster of non-sentient cells, abortion becomes more a question of women's rights.
There's much that's gray between these two perspectives.
I haven't made ethical peace with the issue of abortion, but I'm clear on where I stand legally - I believe the issue has to be decided by the woman, and we all need to leave her body and her conscience alone.
Most importantly, I think abortion is preferable to forcing unwanted babies to be born.
The saddest thing I've seen is not abortion - it's the kids who are never delighted in. The toddler who's parked in front of a TV strapped in a car seat. The little byproducts of lust whose parents abuse them or, worse, just don't really notice them. There's a syndrome noticed by educators, recently: young parents of accidental babies don't talk to them. Now THAT's sad.
Abortion is a necessary part of society, and needs to be safe and legal. Todd Akin is a part of the war against women's rights; let's not be deterred from the central issue by a fool who made the mistake of saying what many of his kind believe.