The Todd Akin Guide to Female Biology

Pseudoscience, sexism, and politics.


In Missouri, Republican candidate Todd Akin is offering voters a chance to widen the range of pseudoscience represented in the Senate, opining that it is "really rare" for a rape to lead to pregnancy. In a "legitimate rape," he explained, "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

Sadly, the interviewer failed to ask any follow-up questions about what those ways might be. Retractable uterus? Vagina dentata? Just how does Todd Akin think the female body works? I'm not the best interviewer in the world, but I know that when someone says something like that, you work to nail down the crazy right away. Good luck getting him to discuss it now.

There are times when a politician says something jaw-droppingly stupid without unleashing any political consequences. This is not one of those times. The GOP is pretty much required to win this race if wants to retake the Senate this year, and you can safely anticipate that Democrats in other close races will try to tie Akin to their opponents. Mitt Romney condemned the comment this morning, and he isn't the only Republican on the ballot who has jumped to distance himself from the Missourian. Expect more.

Josh Kraushaar has posted an interesting rundown of the political takeaways here. You should read the whole thing, but his main claims are these:

  • Believe it or not, Akin could still win.
  • The Republicans sure have been nominating a lot of crappy Senate candidates lately.
  • The Tea Party movement is not to blame for most of those crappy candidates.
  • Akin isn't likely to drop out.
  • Obama's going to pounce on this.

Akin, meanwhile, says he "misspoke." Hey, it happens to all of us: You get tongue-tied and invent a new law of biology, insulting millions of women in the process. He probably meant to say "I love puppies" or "Missouri sure is swell." Or possibly "the Sun revolves around the Earth."