August 20th, 2012
07:53 PM ET

Comments: Akin's 'legitimate rape' remark draws ire across political spectrum

Editor's note: We're listening to you. Every day, we spot thought-provoking comments from readers. What follows is a look at some of the most talked-about stories of the day.

Rep. Todd Akin, a Republican Senate candidate from Missouri, caused a firestorm of controversy because of his remarks about "legitimate rape" and opposing abortion in rape cases. Akin has since apologized, but readers of all political persuasions seemed mostly unified in opposition to Akin's remarks; they tended to differ much more when talking about what those words actually mean politically.

Akin remarks put abortion at center of campaign debate

Mark Ivy, who describes himself as an independent who plans to vote for Mitt Romney, said he believes Akin should bow out of his senatorial race.

"We need people who can judge what is fact from fiction, no matter one's personal ideology," he said via e-mail. "We need people who can tell that if it is raining you take an umbrella when you go out."

His CNN iReport video commentary riffed off Missouri's oft-debated "Show Me State" nickname, which the Missouri Secretary of State website defines as the "stalwart, conservative, noncredulous character of Missourians." His strong stance attracted several commenters, including CKThompson, below.

k3vsdad: "While many are seeing this as a discussion on abortion, to me it is rather a question of judgment and common sense. The congressman, who is standing his ground and vowing to stay in the race, is to me a failure on two very important concerns that voters in the Show Me State should be focusing.
"Show me good judgment – Akin in his remarks fails on this.
"Show me common sense – Akin fails on this as well."

CKThompson: "There is no defending his statement in this case ... it was completely absurd. But to eliminate him as a viable candidate because of an absurd statement is, in itself, absurd. As I said on another iReport, if we eliminated every politician who said something stupid during a campaign, every capitol and statehouse would be empty."

But then we found Ivy becoming the commenter on another video commentary iReport from Egberto Willies of Kingwood, Texas. Willies said he believes many evangelicals are "comfortable with" Akin's views, and added that he also sees a "war against women" welling up in portions of the Republican Party.

"Akin's comments were backward, offensive, and showed a complete disregard for women," Willies said. That got a response from several commenters, including Ivy.

EWillies1961: "Republican senatorial candidate Todd Akin says a woman's body protects against 'legitimate rape'. This is not a mis-speak. This is an ideology."

k3vsdad: "No ... not ideology ... idiocy. This guy is just plain stupid, nor is he representative of the whole."

The conversation dominated the comments on This comment was the most popular for much of the day:

JasonTremblay: "Shows the true agenda of Republicans: to interfere in the personal lives of others whether it's abortion or gay marriage. None of which is based on facts, only their fairy tale book."

The remark attracted several replies. Here's a sample:

Brandon Messenger: "Actually this shows the true agenda of the liberal national news media. The name of the game is 'deflect and redirect.' Instead of focusing on the REAL ISSUES of the election – the horrible Obama economy, the horrible Obama national debt spending out of control – we need to 'deflect and redirect.' Let’s talk about nonissues that will make the other side look bad. Yeah! That’s the ticket! This is a good news story for the conservative side because it means the national news media is in agreement that Obama is in a bad position going into the elections when all they can come up with is to 'deflect and redirect' away from the major issues that are going to tank him in November."

picklemonsta: "What is shocking to me are all the bleeding hearts here who act surprised when conservatives act conservative. And when liberals act liberal, who would have thought?! Get with the times people, politics are polarizing for a reason. Division is key!"

Are the divisions clear-cut? Some of those commenters said no political party seems to fit them.

Bruinman86: "It's ignorant to group all Republicans together as against gay marriage and abortion. I know many who are in support of marriage for all as well as pro-choice. The hard core right wingers are the ones you want to focus on."

MEonEARTH: "What I need is a third choice. I don't like Democrats' socialist, big government, anti-Second Amendment agenda. I don't like Republicans' anti-First Amendment, Bible thumping, anti-abortion, creationist agenda."

ovipconsult: "I'm an economic conservative and social liberal ... the best party for me is the Libertarian since the GOP can no longer accommodate people like me, and I don't like economic liberalism."

A few commenters groused about religious leadership.

mauiharper: "We really need to start taxing churches. It would help with the national debt and go a long way to stopping this propaganda about women's reproductive rights. Churches have abused their tax free status miserably to cover up pedophilia, deny marriage equality and a host of other social injustices. It is sad, because most people of faith don't subscribe to these beliefs, but their churches do."

The discussion about religion and science was much more pronounced on a related opinion article, and even spilled over onto a story about the Mars rover Curiosity.

Opinion: Rape can make you pregnant. Period.

In particular, readers opined that Akin's membership on the House Committee on Science makes the remarks more baffling. Several also compared Akin to Paul Ryan, the newly minted vice presidential candidate. A separate opinion article discusses the many ways Ryan is appealing to Republican women.

saboth: "You know what is even scarier than the ignorant comment itself? This Republican serves on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. You want to know why America is slipping behind other countries? Our legislators are ignorant in the very fields they are supposed to be legislating."

Guest: "His beliefs are no different from Ryan's, who has co-sponsored legislation in the past that would ban any abortion under any circumstances including rape!"

This reader said one can't just apologize easily.

IndMind: "And you do not get to say 'oops, my bad' after the world calls you out on something this stupid. This is a clear inclination to twist facts or ignore science as a means to an end. That mentality doesn't wash away with an insincere apology."

Should fetuses be aborted if they are the product of rape? What do doctors think about Akin now? A couple of commenters claiming to be Republican doctors gave their thoughts.

christyh214: "I'm a doctor, I'm a Republican, and I'm a woman who became pregnant when I was raped. That's such a disheartening statement to hear this day and age, it goes back to making this crime the woman's fault. I guess that means that according to men like this, I must've been 'illegitimately' raped. I just thank God that when this happened to me, abortion was an option, and although I didn't use that option, I have peace in knowing that the choice was mine to make."

texdoc78154: "As a Republican, male and doctor, I'm appalled at the stupidity from one of our candidates for Senate. No support from the national party, no support from other Republicans, it's now up to the voters of Missouri. I hope he steps down in time for us to field another candidate."

Readers discussed the details of keeping a child born of rape. As the discussion turned to abortion and religion, we saw very provocative interpretations of childbearing, abortion and the story of Jesus.

GAGGEDinUSA: "Many women would recognize that the child is innocent and a part of them and still go through with the pregnancy and ignore the rape part as much as possible. To this day, I still believe that Mary was raped."

sarahH: "So why make their sacrifice meaningless by forcing them to do it?"

Another thread took a different spin on that concept. These commenters expressed a strong anti-religious sentiment.

MrBean101: "What he seems to be saying is that if you turn up pregnant and say it was the result of being raped, you are lying. Jesus wouldn't let that happen so you must just be a harlot. I fear Taliban Christians more than Muslim ones."

jonnyboiler: "The irony of it all - Mary was raped, and Jesus was the result according to their beliefs."

MrBean101: "... This invisible nonexistent sky-god never penetrated her so as to leave her a virgin and really impress everyone, so it's not technically a rape anyway. Just wonder if Joseph was consulted."

One male reader said he sees things more broadly.

globaldecay: "There isn’t one single thing on Earth that could be done to promote greater freedom and liberty, or to fight poverty and suffering, then as would ensuring all women everywhere have complete control over their own reproduction. I may just be a man, but if the liberty of women is threatened then it is also a threat to my own liberty. That’s how it is with freedom."

Finally, this commenter said the Akin comment bothered them because of what it says about women's motivations.

Bart Sturdow: "I think when the congressman said 'legitimate rape' he meant rape when the woman was really getting raped as opposed to illegitimate rape, what he believes are the times when a woman later says she was raped and it was consensual. By arguing that women do not get pregnant if raped is, in effect, saying that all women who get pregnant and say they were raped are liars. Cannot imagine a much more offensive thing to say about women."

What do you think about Akin's statements? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Abortion • Comments • Gender • Missouri • Politics • U.S.
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Infamous Blogger"

    That is incredible news chrissy. I'm sorry for the out of character tirade last night. G-d bless superman and Rest In Peace LeeInTulsa forever and ever.
    Truely exiting news. I feel a lot better now. Guess who,s on the list now?

    August 21, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Cesar The Chorizo Champ Of Chihuahua

      What happened to LeeInTulsa?

      August 21, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kismet

      leeintulsa passed away in April.

      August 21, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    August 21st, 2012 11:43
    /////Subject to change without notice/////
    Our Local CNN Blog Community:
    banasyOur Blog Community
    CNN: nsaidi
    leeintulsa (In Rememberance)
    Joey Isotta – Fraschini
    s kel
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    Cesar Chorizo Champ of Chihuahua
    Jeff Frank
    All in this community, try to follow CNN community guidelines. If your recommended to be added or you want to opt out, let Jeff know.
    Trolls and “heat of the moment” screen name changers need not apply.

    August 21, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Hiding under rocks? Tea Party Republicans scare you? Low levels of real intelligence? Bemuses you? Corrupt? Greedy?
    You got balls. The article is about Akins, but rather is this more about you?
    Another member of the party said Republicans follow people with integrity. Akins apparently doesn't have integrity and neither do YOU!

    August 21, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Gregory Peña

    I've been listening to the Republican politicians say all day today on TV that the Republican Party is about "A CULTURE OF LIFE... WHETHER IT BE PRE-NUPTUAL, OR END OF LIFE". This, to defend their views on abortion. This is said by the same Party that champions backing the selling of LIFE KILLING assault weapons, and capital punishment.
    What gives the Republican Party, or anyone else, the right to draw the line at where LIFE can begin and end?

    August 21, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. saywhat

    Truly sorry to hear about leeintulsa,RIP.

    August 21, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Gregory Peña

    I miswrote in my previous blog. What I meant to write was;
    I've been listening to the Republican politicians say all day today on TV that the Republican Party is about "A CULTURE OF LIFE... WHETHER IT BE PRE-NATAL, OR END OF LIFE". This, to defend their views on abortion. This is said by the same Party that champions backing the selling of LIFE KILLING assault weapons, and capital punishment.
    What gives the Republican Party, or anyone else, the right to draw the line at where LIFE can begin and end?

    August 21, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ian

    If every Republican Congressperson who made a poorly informed, bigotted, outrageous or simply stupid comment on the record were to be booted out, there would be no Republican Party left. You would have a one party system, or maybe not, since your Democrats are equally prone to dumb statements. If the same applied to them you would have no Congress at all. Maybe then things might get done and the country could start to recover.

    A concerned Canadian

    August 22, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • myapinyun

      Could we not say the same about the likes of democrats like Joe Biden, Bill Maher, Charles Shultz (MSNBC), Anthony Weiner, and my list could go on and on. Hell, if we are going to dismiss everyone who makes an assinine comment then I am afraid we will have a very empty White House, and Congress....Let us just say this guy is obviously off the mark. To spend any more time raking this over the coals is just as stupid as spending time raking Biden over the coals for his seemingly racist comment about "puttin them all back in chains"

      August 24, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. cleareye1

    These views are common among conservatives. They really would like to retreat to the 17th or 18th century when men controlled everything. Romney's failure to be honest with the American people about his taxes is another example. He wants to continue his free ride and not have to pay his fair share along the way. He's never served in the military, nor has any of his 5 sons. That tells me a lot. The fact he has not paid any federal taxes tells me even more.
    Obama didn't serve either, nor Clinton. Bush only pretended to. We rejected the people who had really served, McCain, Gore, and Kerry. What does that tell you?

    August 22, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
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    August 23, 2012 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
  10. Paramad

    Repelicans/conservatives want to retreat to an era when WHITE, males ran the world, controlled the wealth and essentially had all the power. The world is changing and the WASP male is slowly losing that edge but they will not go down without a fight. This struggle will go on for several years. We as Americans will experience social and political upheaval and all we can do is seek knowledge, embrace critical thinking and at least attempt to increase understanding of this complex world and the myriad of peoples that exist here.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
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    November 4, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
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