Todd Akin’s secret history of abortion protest arrests: the G.O.P.’s new normal

The National Journal is reporting that Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin was arrested at least eight times in the 1980s in anti-abortion protests. The crimes he was arrested for include tresspassing and disturbing the peace. These arrests haven’t surfaced until recently, largely because they occurred when he used the name William Akin. He didn’t start using the name Todd until became involved in electoral politics. It seems obvious that the name change was motivated because he wanted to cover up his arrest record.

Akin is expected to lose the Missouri senate race to the incumbent, Claire McCaskill, on Tuesday; Nate Silver lists the outcome as “likely Democratic.” Nevertheless, it is remarkable that McCaskill’s average lead in the polls is less than 3 percentage points. It would appear that many voters remain utterly unperturbed by the politics of right-wing extremism, even in states like Missouri, which isn’t a deep red state — McCain won it by only one-tenth of a percentage point in 2008.

How is the rest of the Republican rape fan club doing this election cycle? Glad you asked! Rape enthusiast Richard Mourdock of Indiana — the dude who said that pregnancy as the result of rape is all part of God’s plan — is expected to lose his senate race, though again, he’s close enough in the polls (less than 5 points behind) to pull an upset. The despicable Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois, who opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest, and has also claimed that abortion is never necessary to save a woman’s life, is behind in the polls in his congressional race against the challenger, Iraq War vet Tammy Duckworth. Paul Ryan is another of the rape minimizers; he opposes abortion even in the cases of rape and incest, and has referred to rape as just another method of conception. Ryan, unfortunately, pretty much has a lock on his House seat (although he certainly is spending a bundle this election cycle to hold it down).

Opposition to abortion even in cases of rape and incest used to be a stance taken only by the most extreme fringe, but it is fast becoming the default Republican position. William Saletan has noted that in this election cycle, at least a dozen Republican Senate nominees oppose abortion even in cases of rape and incest:

Of the 28 nonincumbent nominees, 12 to 15 share the view of Akin, Mourdock and the party platform. They believe a rape victim should be forbidden to terminate her pregnancy. This is no longer a fringe position. It isn’t a couple of gaffes by renegade crackpots. It’s what the Republican Party is.

Indeed.

Kathleen Geier

Kathleen Geier is a writer and public policy researcher who lives in Chicago. She blogs at Inequality Matters. Find her on Twitter: @Kathy_Gee