A Recent History of Republicans Talking About RapeS

What a month it's been for Republicans and rape. Since Missouri senate candidate Todd Akin — at the time leading the polls by a wide margin — told a journalist that in the case of "legitimate rape, the female body has ways" to prevent pregnancy, prominent Republicans haven't been able to avoid putting their rapey feet in their moist, sex-obsessed mouths. Here's a recent history of Republicans on rape.


Todd Akin

Position: Missouri representative, senate candidate
Kinds of rape distinguished between: legitimate and illegitimate
Experts cited: "doctors"
Euphemism used for pregnancy from rape: "that whole thing"
Full quote: ""First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. 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."
Clarifying statement issued to press: "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 ... 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."
Reaction on left: Full-throated condemnation, shock, horror, disgust


Steve King

Position: Iowa Representative
Experts cited: Steve King
Euphemisms used for pregnancy from rape: "a circumstance," "subject matter"
Full quote: "Well I just haven't heard of that being a circumstance that's been brought to me in any personal way and I'd be open to discussion about that subject matter."
Clarifying statement issued to press: "The liberal press and their allies have again twisted my words. I never said, nor do I believe, a woman, including minors, cannot get pregnant from rape, statutory rape or incest. Suggesting otherwise is ridiculous, shameful, disgusting and nothing but an attempt to falsely define who I am."
Reaction on left: Anger, strongly-worded statements


Mike Huckabee

Position: Former Republican Presidential Candidate
Kinds of rape distinguished between: forcible and non-forcible
Full quote: "Ethel Waters, for example, was the result of a forcible rape. I used to work for James Robison back in the 1970s, he leads a large Christian organization. He, himself, was the result of a forcible rape. And so I know it happens, and yet even from those horrible, horrible tragedies of rape, which are inexcusable and indefensible, life has come and sometimes, you know, those people are able to do extraordinary things."
Clarifying statement issued to press: None, yet.
Reaction on left: Email-forwarded link to statement in ALL CAPS


A Recent History of Republicans Talking About Rape

Sharon Barnes

Position: Missouri Republican Party Committeewoman
Experts cited: God, Todd Akin
Euphemisms used for pregnancy from rape: a "bless[ing]" from God
Full quote: "Ms. Barnes echoed Mr. Akin's statement that very few rapes resulted in pregnancy, adding that 'at that point, if God has chosen to bless this person with a life, you don't kill it.'"
Clarifying statement issued to press: None, yet
Reaction on left: Quick link on Twitter


Paul Ryan

Position: Vice-Presidential Nominee, Wisconsin Representative
Experts cited: Mitt Romney
Euphemisms used for pregnancy from rape: "method of conception"
Full quote: "I'm very proud of my pro-life record, and I've always adopted the idea that, the position that the method of conception doesn't change the definition of life. But let's remember, I'm joining the Romney-Ryan ticket. And the president makes policy. And the president, in this case the future President Mitt Romney, has exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother, which is a vast improvement of where we are right now."
Clarifying statement issued to press: None, yet.
Reaction on left: Yelling at TV


Tom Smith

Position: Pennsylvania senate candidate
Experts cited: Tom Smith
Euphemism used for pregnancy from rape: "that," "something"
Compared rape to: Out-of-wedlock pregnancy
Full quote: "What that congressman [Todd Akin] said I do not agree with at all. He should have never said anything like that. I lived something similar to that with my own family. She chose life and I commend her for that. She knew my views but fortunately for me … she chose the way I thought. Now don't get me wrong. It wasn't rape. [Asked if rape and out-of-wedlock pregnancy are similar.] No, no, no. Put yourself in a father's position, yes, I mean it is similar ... It's very, very difficult. But do I condone rape? Absolutely not. But do I propose life, yes I do. I'm pro-life, period."
Clarifying statement issued to press: "Tom Smith is committed to protecting the sanctity of life and believes it begins at conception. While his answers to some of the questions he faced at the Pennsylvania Press club may have been less than artful, at no time did he draw the comparison that some have inferred. When questioned if he was drawing that comparison, Tom's answer was clear, 'no, no, no.' Tom was speaking to the difficult decision faced by his family, not the nature of his daughters conception."
Offensiveness level: Exasperated shake of head


Rebecca Kleefisch

Position: Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor
Kinds of rape distinguished between: forcible and "more forcible"
Compared rape to: "different types of assault"
Full quote: "Rape is a rape. I don't know how you can categorize it, and it's disgusting that Todd Akin would have tried to categorize it [Informed that Paul Ryan had co-sponsored a bill that would have distinguished "forcible" rape] I think there is a way to have a more forcible rape, the same way there are different types of assault."
Clarifying statement issued to press: None, yet
Reaction on left: Eye roll.

Image by Jim Cooke.