Comments of the Week: Todd Akin and This Summer’s Under-Reported Stories

Comments of the Week: Todd Akin and This Summer’s Under-Reported Stories

Comments of the Week: Todd Akin and This Summer’s Under-Reported Stories

Our readers sound off on choice, Todd Akin’s "legitimate rape" comment and the most under-reported stories of the summer.


Comments of the Week: Todd Akin and This Summer’s Under-Reported Stories

Storified by The Nation · Fri, Aug 24 2012 13:07:01

Each week, using the platform Storify, we highlight some of the best responses from our community on Twitter, Facebook and in our own comment threads. This week, the focus was primarily on reproductive rights, as our readers expressed their outrage over Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comment and tried to make sense of the right-wing’s need to roll back the clock on women’s rights. 

Also in community at this week, on Thursday, August 23rd, we hosted our first ever live video chat. Part of our Voting Rights Watch 2012 reporting project with Colorlines, the chat featured reporters Ari Berman, Aura Bogado and Brentin Mock. Ari, Aura and Brentin discussed the myriad of voter suppression schemes introduced by the GOP, the future of the Voting Rights Act and the steps needed to expand voting rights. If you missed it, you can watch a replay here. 
In response to Peter Rothberg’s “The Five Most Under-Reported Stories of the Summer,” readers added their own suggestions: 
Marva Nelson: 
Military suicides and also ongoing killing of soldiers and civilians in Afghanistan. Thanks for putting this together.The Nation Magazine
Devon Graham: 
The Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement. It’s amazing to me that this has been virtually ignored in the media. Democracy Now! did one story on it a couple of months ago, that is all I have seen. It is essentially a new global corporate bill of rights that supersedes our own Bill Of Rights, masquerading as a "trade pact". The negotiations are being done in secret and even our own Congress is not being allowed to see what is taking place.The Five Most Under-Reported Stories of the Summer | The Nation
Most under-reported story? Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki, 16 year old American child assassinated by this administration. You’d think the Republicans would be all over this. That they are not demonstrates that their racism and utter disregard for the citizenry team up with the fact that they LIKE this kind of militaristic demonstration of power to get them to actually ignore this giant gap in Obama’s armor. Or to put it more simply, America’s corrupt political class is more concerned with its own avarice and ambition to notice that the Executive branch is seizing upon the power to unilaterally decide the life or death of US citizens.The Five Most Under-Reported Stories of the Summer | The Nation
On choice, Todd Akin and “legitimate rape:” 
I’m now a senior citizen, born at the beginning of the "baby boom."  First growing up in the fifties, I remember a young, single woman around our small (about 6 or 7 thousand residents) town, who had a child.  I heard at an early age that she had been raped, resulting in her child.  Everyone was sympathetic, but she was still set apart.  I don’t have any idea what her story really was,  "having to get married" was the norm at that time.  By my young adulthood, abortions were still illegal but scarily available.  Otherwise there were plenty of "shotgun marriages."  Looking back now, the whole situation seems pretty insane.  I envy my daughter’s generation, but fear  what  seeks to be the reactionary Republican mindset.Republicans: Test Your Knowledge of Women! | The Nation
Excellent piece as always, Melissa.  What do you get when the "Ryans" of the world, people who are convinced they know better than scientists, insist deciding the moral rules for all of us?   It’s idiocy like the Louisiana  statute calling a fertilized egg a "person."  And the price for that ignorance?  $400, so far.  That’s how much the attorney fee is, the one tacked on to the already hefty $15,000 price tag of InVitroFertilization (IVF) when desperate couples like my wife and I seek fertility help.  So the fertility clinic can protect itself from this ridiculous statute — the only one in America to date — we had to sign a legal contract saying we will treat a dot on a slide as a person.Paul Ryan Goddam! | The Nation
I want the gentlemen to keep saying exactly what they think about women and sex and rape and pregnancy. How else will we know who they are? And how will we know who we have to speak against and vote against? They (large numbers of male politicians–and males in general) have decided they own us and that we are obligated to obey their opinions and their legislation about our bodies. Never take your eyes off them.  They’ll leave us alone for a while like they did after the ’60’s and then they’ll begin again after the younger generation of women had grown up and forgotten that our rights are not assured.The Danger of Laughing at Todd Akin | The Nation
Actually, even more than medieval ideas about witch-finding, Akin’s position (and that of those who agree with him) is reminiscent of medieval ideas about rape. One early medical theory held that it was the woman’s orgasm that allowed pregnancy. Thus, if you got pregnant, you must have had an orgasm, which must have meant you enjoyed it (even ignoring that the physical is not the emotional or the consensual), and thus it can’t have been rape. One wonders how deep this medieval mindset goes within radical right-wing world-views.The Danger of Laughing at Todd Akin | The Nation
I think that all reasons for abortion are valid, however, it makes sense to find out what those reasons are. No-one wants to have to go through an abortion – we would rather not get pregnant until we want to, and then have a healthy pregnancy. Finding out reasons for abortion can shed light on issues, such as contraception availability or rape, that need to be addressed through policy. The danger is that such studies will be seized on by anti-choicers as justification for removing abortion access for everyone.Does It Matter Why Women Have Abortions? | The Nation
It seems to me that there are two issues here, non-consensual sex and non-consensual pregnancy. Although, they are clearly related issues, I am uncomfortable with the implication that a woman’s right to choose pregnancy should be in any way related to whether or not the intercourse that led to the pregnancy was consensual. If a woman makes the difficult decision that she cannot or does not want to go through a pregnancy or that she does not want, or cannot, support a child, the choice to have an abortion, particularly in the first months of pregnancy should be hers without regard to how she became pregnant.How the Body Reacts to Sexual Assault | The Nation

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