Rape, Abortion and Politics

Posted on August 20, 2012 by

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I live in Missouri. Rep. Todd Akin is my US Congressman. I’ve known Todd very personally since 1989 when our family homeschooled our young children alongside several of Todd’s children. Our families have been socially connected through all these years.

In addition, Todd is a PCA ruling elder and a graduate of Covenant Seminary here in St. Louis. He is a godly family man, a staunch conservative and and a principled politician who is unafraid to bring his Christian faith into the political arena.

All that said, Rep. Akin is the Republican nominee to challenge current Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill. He has actually been leading in the polls. Well until now. And just to be clear, this is not really a political post per se. It is more a post about how our Christian beliefs play out in the public sphere.

Over the weekend, Rep. Akin was interviewed by a local reporter (you may remember him from his CNN days). Here is part of the interview:

In one part of the interview, Charles Jaco asked about Akin’s stance against abortion rights even in cases of rape.

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors, (pregnancy) is really rare” in rape cases, Akin said, according to a video of the interview posted Sunday on YouTube. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

He added: “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.” Source

As one might imagine, a firestorm has erupted and his remarks are making national news. President Obama has weighed in today. There are calls for Akin to quit the race from Dems and Republicans. And today Rep. Akin has made some further remarks:

“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.” Source

I left other remarks which don’t pertain to this issue.

The Romney campaign also released a statement about Rep. Akin’s remarks:

“Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said in a statement. Source

There is much more that could be said. This issue has far reaching political tentacles. But that is not why I bring the subject up.

Here is my question ( and it’s not really about the wisdom of Akin’s remarks): What do you think of the Romney campaign’s reaction to Akin’s remarks? Read again above. Here is the part of the Romney response that troubles me:

“…a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape…”

Contrast that with Akin’s “apology” which included these remarks:

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.

Please try to set aside the Mormonism of Romney. Should Christians be ok with a position on abortion which leaves open the legality of abortion under any circumstances? Rape? Incest? Is this a legitimate Christian stance on abortion?

By the way, I am proudly anti-abortion, in case you are wondering.

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