First, Akin has made himself so toxic that he may lose his race against Missouri’s Democratic Sen.
Second, Akin’s sudden notoriety is bringing to public attention the fact that his absolutist stance on
And third, Akin is no wacky outlier in his party. Plenty of Republican lawmakers believe odd and absurd things just like he does and, increasingly, they dominate the party.
The big campaign money is now running from Akin. The national GOP,
Ryan has not been ambiguous on the issue at all. He would allow abortion only to save the life of the mother. He teamed up with Akin to sponsor a bill to distinguish "forcible rape" from some other kind. (What would that be, unforced rape? Consensual rape? Not-so-bad rape? Happy rape?) He, too, wants a personhood amendment. He has also supported a bill that would require women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound probe – thus nationalizing the notorious scheme that recently failed to win approval in Virginia.
Ryan is a champion of the antiabortion cause. As yet, though, no one has suggested he shares the curious idea that Akin put forward, the hypothesis that women who are raped cannot really get pregnant because they secrete a mysterious substance that prevents fertilization.
But poor, beleaguered Rep. Akin did not come up with this weirdness on his own. The secret secretions idea has been pushed by antiabortion activists and Republican legislators at least since 1988. It's a convenient piece of quack science for pro-lifers because, if a woman's body resists pregnancy in the case of a "real" rape, then all the women who claim to have been impregnated by rapists – more than 32,000 in the U.S. annually – are actually lying and, therefore, should not be allowed to abort.