KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Mo. Senate Candidate Blasted For Comments On Rape

Republican Rep. Todd Akin, who is challenging Sen. Claire McCaskill, suggested in a TV interview that some rapes are "legitimate" and women can shut down a pregnancy from such an attack.

Kansas City Star: Todd Akin Is Showing All The Wrong Attitudes
Just keep talking, Congressman. At this rate, U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin will alienate swaths of voters long before November. Last week, Sen. Claire McCaskill's GOP rival swiped at the federal program that feeds millions of hungry schoolchildren. On Sunday, he spoke dismissively about rape victims. Akin suggested that some rapes are more "legitimate" than others, as he tried to justify his opposition to abortion, even in the case of rape. ... Gaffes are one thing. All politicians verbally misstep, some more than others (looking at you, Joe Biden). But this remark, like the school lunch comment, showcases Akin's ideology. He tried to diminish difficult abortion scenarios. Doing so makes hard-line views more comfortable to hold (Mary Sanchez, 8/19).

Kansas City Star: Todd Akin's Rape Fantasy
In his fantasy world, U.S. Rep. Todd Akin wants women who are raped and get pregnant to have the child. It's a fantasy world inhabited by fewer than one in five Americans, most of them likely males who can't get pregnant and don’t have single clue about what horrific emotional and physical damages are caused by a rape (Yael T. Abouhalkah, 8/19).

The New York Times: Akin Comments Could Swing Missouri Senate Race
It can be easy to overrate the importance of scandals in the first few days after they occur. Many voters will vote along party lines almost no matter what, and others will decide based on factors like the economy or an incumbent senator’s voting record. Nevertheless, my view is that insensitive comments concerning rape are especially likely to be deemed inexcusable by voters, and that the swing against Mr. Akin could be larger than the average of 10 percentage points from similar events (Nate Silver, 8/19). 

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