Toobin on Akin, Rape, and Abortion Rights
Jeffrey Toobin of the New Yorker makes an excellent point about the controversy surrounding Todd Akin, rape, and abortion. In our zeal to mock Akin, we're reframing the abortion debate in terms of rape.
The fact is, most women who get abortions got pregnant through consensual sex. Toobin notes that, out of over 1 million abortions performed in the U.S. each year, only about 10,000-15,000 these are from pregnancies that arose from reported rapes:
What these numbers mean is that the vast majority of women who have abortions did not become pregnant because of rape. But the political debate is not about that majority. Indeed, the focus on rape victims creates a malevolent dynamic. Abortion becomes something that women can only earn by hardship, rather than something they can freely choose.
It's fun to ridicule Akin for his extreme and scientifically unfounded views on abortion, and the Missouri Republican deserves all the opprobrium he gets, but let's not lose sight of the larger issue, which is women's right to bodily integrity and self-determination.