Akin’s Youthful Indiscretions

Just as his movement-conservative-activist comrade Richard Mourdock was getting himself into hot water by quite literally attributing to God his views on the compulsory child-bearing obligations of rape victims, Missouri’s Todd Akin gained new attention from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for three separate arrests in the 1980s in connection with his participation in borderline-violent disruptions of abortion clinic operations, in addition to the one arrest Akin had already acknowledged.

The first of the events, according to the newspaper’s archives, was on March 15, 1985. “Nineteen anti-abortion demonstrators who refused to leave the waiting room of an abortion clinic in the Central West End were carried out by St. Louis police officers Friday morning,” read the next day’s paper.

Among those arrested, according to the story, was William Akin, 37, of a Creve Coeur address. The age and address are consistent with other information the newspaper has about Todd Akin.

Three weeks later, another six protesters, including Akin, were arrested at another St. Louis demonstration. “Police had to carry Akin into an elevator,” the story read.

On April 5, 1985, Akin was arrested for a third time, one of 10 protestors who were “attempting to block entrances” at Hope Clinic for Women in Granite City, according to the paper. One clinic employee told the paper that the protestors caused minor damage and leveled “verbal abuse” at women entering the clinic.

Two years later (as he has acknowledged), in 1987, Akin was again arrested, this time at another effort to block entirely legal access to entirely legal abortion procedures at a clinic. It appears in this case the “protest” was organized by an especially notorious and extremist anti-choice group.

Now it’s not like Akin was some “idealistic” college student getting caught up in some ideological hijinks: he was in his late 30s, and was soon (in 1988) to be elected to the Missouri legislature. He was, and is, a stone fanatic on the subject, and his famous views on rape and abortion are entirely within the mainstream of “thinking” among the kind of antichoice activists who represent his political base. I’d even admire him a bit if he just came out loud ‘n’ proud right now and admitted a principal reason he’s in politics is to impose God’s Law on all the slatternly women who keep “killing their babies” by taking The Pill or using an IUD or having clinical abortions.

Truth is, the GOP’s longstanding compact with anti-choice activists and other elements of the Christian Right has politically legitimized folks who are much better suited to be marching in front of abortion clinics waving bloody fetus posters and screaming obscenities at women, than to be strolling the aisles of state legislatures or the U.S. Senate.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.