Poor Todd Akin. The Republican Senate candidate from Missouri stepped in a big pile of it in August, when he said in an interview that victims of “legitimate rape” rarely become pregnant, because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” After they got done laughing at the absurdity of the statement, women’s organizations, Democratic leaders and political humorists called Akin out on his insensitivity, his lack of understanding of the emotional and physical trauma of rape, and not to mention his faulty science.
But Todd Akin isn’t the first, and he surely won’t be the last Republican to make outrageous, inaccurate, offensive and downright head-scratching statements about women and women’s issues, on or off the record.
So, in honor of election season, here is our list of the Top Shocking Things Republicans Have Said About Women:
ON WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE
Self-loathing conservative pundit Ann Coulter said in 2007 that her personal fantasy is to have women’s voting rights revoked. “If we took away women’s right to vote, we’d never have to worry about another Democrat president.”
Her pal Rush Limbaugh expressed similar sentiments: “When women got the right to vote is when it all went downhill. Because that’s when votes started being cast with emotion and uh, maternal instincts that government ought to reflect…”
ON BIRTH CONTROL
Here’s Limbaugh again, in reaction to Sandra Fluke’s testimony before a House Committee, where she discussed the importance of insurance coverage for contraceptives: “So Miss Fluke, and the rest of you Feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. We want you post the videos online so we can all watch.
Former Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum thinks the whole contraception thing has been a big failure: “I’m not a believer in birth control. I don’t think it works. I think it’s harmful to women.”
Apparently Indiana State Rep. Eric Turner thinks there are lots of women out there crying “rape!” He says, “Someone who is desirous of an abortion could simply say that they’ve been raped or there’s incest.”
Like Todd Akin, Pennsylvania State Rep. Stephen Freind thinks pregnancy as a result of rape just doesn’t happen very often, saying that the odds are “one in millions and millions and millions,” because the trauma of rape causes a woman to “secrete a certain secretion” that kills sperm. Hmm, they didn’t teach us that in sex-ed class.
Idaho State Senator Chuck Winder wants to make sure women are really, really sure they’ve been raped: “I would hope that when a woman goes in to a physician with a rape issue, that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage or was it truly caused by a rape. I assume that’s part of the counseling that goes on.”
Former Texas gubernatorial candidate Clayton Williams says rape isn’t all that bad: “Rape is kinda like the weather. If it’s inevitable, relax and enjoy it.”
ON WOMEN IN COMBAT
Rick Santorum thinks that men and women fighting side-by-side will be tempted to have a quickie on the battlefield: “But I do have concerns about women in frontline combat. I think that can be a very compromising situation where—where people naturally may do things that may not be in the interests of the mission because of other types of emotions that are involved.”
Fox News contributor Liz Trotta thinks women in the military are just asking to be raped by their male colleagues: “But we have women once more, the feminist, going, wanting to be warriors and victims at the same time…And the sexual abuse report says that there has been, since 2006, a 64% increase in violent sexual assaults. Now, what did they expect?”
For Illinois Tea Party Rep. Joe Walsh, his opponent, veteran Tammy Duckworth’s sacrifice in uniform—she lost both legs and part of an arm in a combat-related injury in Iraq—is just not such a big deal: “I have so much respect for what she did in the fact that she sacrificed her body for this country…Ehhh. Now let’s move on. What else has she done? Female, wounded veteran…ehhh. She is nothing more than a handpicked Washington bureaucrat.”
This former Republican presidential hopeful gets a category all her own, as she is, well, an island unto herself. Here are a few of her zingers:
- On parental consent laws for underage abortions: “Does that mean that someone’s 13-year-old daughter could walk into a sex clinic, have a pregnancy test done, be taken away to the local Planned Parenthood abortion clinic, have their abortion, be back and go home on the school bus? That night, mom and dad are never the wiser.”
- On abortion among African American women: “It is horrific to know that in the African American community, 50 percent of all African American pregnancies in the United States end in abortion, 50 percent. That is a genocide of African Americans of the United States. It should not be. There are Americans all across this country who would love to adopt African American babies, but they can’t because 50 percent of all African American pregnancies today are ending in abortion.”
- On the HPV vaccine for young girls: “I will tell you that I had a mother last night come up to me here in Tampa, Florida, after the debate. She told me that her little daughter took that vaccine, that injection, and she suffered from mental retardation thereafter.”
- On being a submissive wife: Bachmann explained her decision to become a tax attorney per her husband’s wishes, even though it was not what she wanted to do: “Why should I go and do something like that? But the Lord says, ‘Be submissive wives; you are to be submissive to your husbands.’”
Will the Democrats give us such ample fodder on the campaign trail? That remains to be seen. But it’s hard to imagine a worst case of foot-in-mouth syndrome than that which afflicts certain members of the Republican Party.