KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Reactions To Rep. Akin’s Comments: ‘Offensive And Ignorant;’ ‘Loathsome;’ ‘Bad Science’

Opinions are uniformly negative in response to the Senate candidate's comments on rape during a TV interview.

The New York Times: New Frontiers Of Extremism
Republicans are frantically trying to get Representative Todd Akin to drop out of the United States Senate race in Missouri after his remark about abortion and rape, but not because it was offensive and ignorant. They're afraid he might lose and cost them a chance at a Senate majority next year. He would surely be replaced by a Republican who sounds more reasonable but holds similarly extreme views on abortion, immigration, gay rights and the role of government because those are the kinds of candidates the party nominates these days in state after state (8/20).

The Washington Post: The Repugnant Code Behind Todd Akin's Words
It's idiotic, to borrow the phrase of GOP strategist Mike Murphy, to say — citing doctors, no less — that women's bodies contain some hidden defenses that can kick in to prevent pregnancies. To suggest there are different categories of rape — some real and awful and others that are not — is loathsome. Even from someone who would liken student loans to Stage 3 cancer, as Mr. Akin once did, the comment was stunning in its stupidity and insensitivity (8/20).

Philadelphia Inquirer: Bad Science
Akin may have been referencing some of the ancient Greek texts that had similar strange views about how the human body functions. For example, people in ancient Greece believed that hysteria was caused by the womb detaching itself and wandering around the body, causing all kinds of problems. … Akin, a congressman, sits on the House Science Committee. We hope that Missouri voters realize that voting for him for Senate will lead to nausea, vomiting and despair (8/21).

Bloomberg: Todd Akin And Paul Ryan Are More Alike Than You Think
What Akin's remarks have unleashed is a discussion in the presidential race over social issues that will be hard for Republicans to control. They were reasonably sure they could paper over the differences between Ryan and his running mate, Mitt Romney, on Medicare. On social issues, the problem is the opposite: The difference between Ryan's views and Akin's could fit on a Post-it note (Margaret Carlson, 8/20).

Kansas City Star: Akin Must Decide Whether To Quit Race
Traditionally, we favor letting democratically elected candidates rise or wither on their own merits. In the absence of financial or criminal malfeasance, the voters' decision determines the contest. The crime of intemperate remarks doesn't necessarily win a do-over or the chance for the party to choose a stronger contender. Certainly, he's a state embarrassment and we abhor his remarks. But Republican primary voters chose him, and unless he volunteers to exit the scene, we say the state gets a choice in November, and Akin has to live with his "open mouth, insert foot" record (8/20).

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