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Asymmetrical gender wars in the US election

By Babette Francis - posted Monday, 24 September 2012

The mainstream media in the US are having a field day chortling over Mitt Romney's comment at a private fund-raising dinner that 47% of US voters don't pay federal income tax and are therefore unlikely to vote for him. Instead of regarding Romney's comment as a realistic appraisal of his chances in the November elections, the media interpretation was that therefore Romney didn't care about 47% of US citizens and if elected President would only have at heart the interests of the 53% who did pay taxes.

The US media are overwhelmingly pro-Obama, the few exceptions being Fox News and radio superstar Rush Limbaugh. Prior to this latest bout of Romney bashing, the media were having a field day - or days - over a comment by Congressman Todd Akin about "legitimate rape".

Akin is a six-term member of the US House of Representatives and in August won the Republican primary to contest a Senate seat in Missouri.


During an interview on "The Jaco Report", St. Louis Fox TV affiliate, Akin was asked a question on abortion: "What about in the case of rape? Should it be legal or not?"

Akin: "How do you slice this particularly tough, ethical question? It seems to me that first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape the female body has ways of trying to shut that whole thing down. But  let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something. I think there should be some punishment. But the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child".

Akin's answer was very poorly phrased. Rape, by definition is never legitimate. Akin was trying to draw a distinction between forcible rape and "statutory" rape, i.e. consensual sex with a minor. Although there is evidence (see Dr. Thomas Hilgers, NaproTechnology ob-gyn, Creightion University) that raped women are less likely to become pregnant than women after consensual sex, many women do become pregnant as a result of rape.

The media and Democrat opposition were in a piranha-like feeding frenzy, morphing Akin's remarks into the "war on women". Akin was disowned by the Republican establishment who asked him to withdraw from the Senate race and warned he would get no funding.

Akin apologised immediately stating:

As a member of Congress, I believe that working to protect the most vulnerable in our society is one of my most important responsibilities, and that includes protecting both the unborn and victims of sexual assault. In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it's clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year. Those who perpetrate these crimes are the lowest of the low in our society and their victims will have no stronger advocate in the Senate to help ensure they have the justice they deserve.

I recognize that abortion, and particularly in the case of rape, is a very emotionally charged issue. But I believe deeply in the protection of all life and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action. I also recognize that there are those who, like my opponent, support abortion and I understand I may not have their support in this election.

To be clear, all of us understand that rape can result in pregnancy. I have great empathy for all victims. I regret misspeaking.


Despite urging from Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Karl Rove, Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin and Republican elites, Akin refused to withdraw from the Senate contest. He has been supported by Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Phyllis Schlafly, Family Research Council and the pro-life movement. After an initial drop in the polls, Akin now appears to narrowly leads his Democrat opponent Senaor Claire McCaskill.

Some women do make false accusations of rape. Remember To Kill a Mockingbirdthe book and film so loved by liberals, in which a white lawyer (Gregory Peck) defends a black man against a false accusation of rape by a white woman?

That was fiction but in real life the US Supreme Court decision in Roe v Wade legalising abortion was based on a lie by plaintiff Norma McCovey. Years later she admitted she invented the rape story to make a stronger case for abortion. McCorvey has repented and become a strong pro-life advocate.

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About the Author

Babette Francis, (BSc.Hons), mother of eight, is the National & Overseas Co-ordinator of Endeavour Forum Inc. an NGO with special consultative status with the Economic & Social Council of the UN. Mrs. Francis is the Australian representative of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer - She lived in India during the Partition of the sub-continent into India and Pakistan, a historical event that she believes was caused by the unwillingness of the Muslim leaders of that era to live in a secular democracy.

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