Todd Akin is thinking of running for Senate again
. Yes, that Todd Akin, the same man who managed tolose his run for the Senator from Missouri
by telling a reporter that women can’t get pregnant from “legitimate rape” because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” But Akin is hardly the only imbecile on the right who feels the need to opine about female bodies while having some peculiar ideas of how they work. Here are some of the stranger examples of conservatives holding forth on how they think that women’s bodies or women’s health care works.
1. Swallowing vagina cameras.
During a recent hearing on a medically unnecessary bill banning telemedicine abortions, state Rep. Vito Barbieri subjected pro-choice Dr. Julie Madsen to a bunch of confusing and weird questions, in clear hopes of tripping up her medically correct claim that telemedicine abortions are safe. He only caught up himself, during a lengthy digression about colonoscopies in which Madsen noted a patient can swallow a pill with a camera in it for a doctor to look in his colon. “Can this same procedure then be done in a pregnancy? Swallowing a camera and helping the doctor determine what the situation is?” Barbieri asked.
2. Women are “climate control” for embryos.
Todd Akin’s ignorance about the female biology he obsesses over isn’t limited to speculation about rape. In 2005, he made a speech in the House where he basically argued that women are, quite literally, nothing but incubators. “Now an embryo may seem like some scientific or laboratory term, but in fact the embryo contains the unique information that defines a person,” he said. “All you add is food and climate control, and some time, and the embryo becomes you or me.”
3. It’s all abortion!
You get the feeling that some anti-choicers believe that modern women get abortions on a weekly basis, like they are manicures or something. Sen. Jon Kyle confirmed that suspicion in 2011 when Republicans decided to shut down the entire federal government to destroy Planned Parenthood and stop it from its unholy mission of making it safer and healthier for people to have the sex they were probably going to have anyway. To justify shutting down the entire government to stop one health care non-profit, Kyle ominiously intoned, “If you want an abortion, you go to Planned Parenthood, and that’s well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.”
4. Seriously, everything is abortion.
The tendency to assume that any sexual health care besides childbirth must be abortion isn’t just a cranky old man habit on the right. Renaming any health care that isn’t making-babies “abortion” is an out-and-out political strategy that anti-choicers have been pushing for years. Anti-choice organizations have been floating the claim that an expanding number of contraception options are the equivalent of “abortion” in order to demonize them and try to restrict access. First it was just emergency contraception, which they called “abortion” on the iffy grounds that anything after you have sex must be abortion. Now the birth control pill and the IUD are also being described as “abortion.” It’s like they’re moving down a list of contraception methods and declaring them “abortion” in order of effectiveness. At this rate, condoms will be called “abortion” in conservative circles by the year 2020.
5. Creaky old jokes are better than facts.
Big time Republican donor and Rick Santorum support Foster Friess thought he, too, would like to play doctor on TV and tell women that he knows better than they do what kind of medical care they need to control their fertility. Denying that women need contraception in 2012, Friess went on MSNBC and said, ““You know, back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraception. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn’t that costly.”
6. But it’s women who don’t know enough about women’s health care to be able to make decisions about it.
The reason all this Republican ignorance is so infuriating, of course, is that none of these men feel they need to know the first thing about women’s bodies, women’s lives, or women’s health care to dictate how we should live our lives or use our bodies. But one Republican candidate, Greg Brannon, really encapsulated this mentality by arguing that women seeking reproductive health care are “little girls [who] don’t understand what’s going on to their bodies.”