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Monday, August 20, 2012

Science, Space and Technology

Dear Representative Todd Akin,

I apologize for contacting you via blog post.  Whilst I understand that you serve on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, and therefore could be presumed to be familiar with things like "the Internet" and "electronics," it has recently come to my attention that you may be more comfortable communicating via tablet (rock, not iPad) or messengers with exceptional memories and fast horses.  As a long-serving member of the House of Representatives and a current candidate for U.S. Senator from the great state of Missouri, however, I am hopeful that whatever minion you have assigned to "computers" will find this letter and relay it to you while you skin a boar (maybe one you killed with your concealed weapon?) or sip on a nice glass of mead.

I say all this, of course, because of your statement yesterday that abortions should not be allowed even in the case of rape because pregnancy from rape is "really rare."  Or, as you put it:

"If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

I don't know what kind of books your Science, Space and Technology Committee gets from Scholastic, but I do wish you would share them with the rest of us.  Or, at least, with me.

You see, I thought those notions about a woman only getting pregnant if she "liked it" and if she "wanted it" and if she "was asking for it" were all the rage back in the 1200s.  (Also known as the 13th Century.  Also known as the Middle Ages.  Also known as Medieval Times.)  I thought that with the invention of things like the microscope and, you know, science, that everyone agreed there was more to reproduction than some saucy female's lustful impulses. 

But you, sir, seem to have some inside track or some backwards track that screams, "NOT SO FAST, PROGRESS!"  Although many have taken to condemning you for your insights, I want more.  You are, after all, hoping to remain a national political figure, aiming now to become one of only 100 members of the Senate.  That place where they draft, debate, and delay legislation that affects all of us peons, including all of us silly females that don't know any better.

Let's take your statement piece-by-piece, shall we?

First, the "legitimate rape" piece.  It's interesting to me how much you enjoy putting adjectives in front of the word "rape."  In that "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions" legislation that you co-sponsored with Paul Ryan (current candidate for Vice-President! Yippeee, right?!?) you kept on wanting the Act to read "forcible rape."  What part of "rape" is it that you think needs a narrowing definition?  I'm pretty sure dictionaries are all on the same page about the word -- the general consensus is that a rape is a sexual assault involving sexual intercourse without the consent of the woman being intercoursed with.  Is it your concern that some assaults are invitational?  Or that when a woman says no, that minx really means yes?  Or that if a woman just kind of hates being violated, and doesn't reach the point of near-suicide in the aftermath, the rape really wasn't all that bad and she probably half-enjoyed the attention?  Circle one.

I know you lost the battle on "forcible rape" and later drafts of your legislation read simply "rape."  (Stupid liberals.)  You sure showed those Democrats, didn't you?  Went ahead and seized on another modifier in your interview yesterday -- that word "legitimate."  I am again resorting to dictionaries when I note that "legitimate" is defined as "conforming to recognized principles or accepted rules and standards."  Because I'm just a stupid female, I need some help here, too.  What are the rules of the road when it comes to rape?  I mean a real rape, not just a rapey-rape.  Like, does it only count if some of my bones get broken during the process?  How piercingly do I have to scream while it's happening?  How shuddering do my cries have to be?  If I'm only deathly afraid, and not soul-crushingly afraid, have I merely suffered an especially uncomfortable pap smear?  Most significantly, if I'm wearing a skirt at the time, was I asking for it?  I'd really appreciate answers to all of the above.  What can I say, I'm a planner.

Let's move on to the "female body" piece of your sentence.  I don't think this should take long.  I mean, yuck, right?  Basically, female bodies just disguise the temptress that lives inside.  The dim-witted dummy that needs an old white guy to tell her how to regulate her ovaries and what to do with her uterus.  I look in the mirror and all I think is, "You're not even competent to take care of yourself.  But you should definitely take care of any zygote any man deigns to implant in you.  Because you are nothing more than a vessel of sperm."  So I get it.  "Female body."  Thing.  Not home to a person.

Now we're at perhaps my favorite piece of your statement.  The "shut that whole thing down" piece.  I think (to the extent I am capable of thinking) that the "whole thing" is pregnancy.  What I really need explained is how that devil's playground of a female body is able to "shut down" a pregnancy after a rape.  I am desperate for an answer.  Why?  Lots of reasons.  (A) If you're aware of some bodily secretion or mantra or prayer that can get a woman to prevent a pregnancy, I'd like you to whisper it in my ear.  I know you're probably not in favor of things like contraception, so I'm not saying I'm going to use this information for contraceptive purposes.  I'm just saying I think I could get past the operator at Pfizer pretty quickly, and Pfizer might like to market this as a contraceptive.  If I make a buck in the referral process, I swear I will give that money to my husband.  (B)  I struggled for two years to get pregnant with my son.  Was my husband raping me all those years?  (C)  If my husband wasn't raping me for two years, what was my female body doing wrong?  (D) If the female body can "shut down" a pregnancy, can it "open up" one?  This would have been helpful to me during those infertility/rape(?) years.  I daresay it would be helpful to other female bodies that are having a hard time getting pregnant/avoiding rape(?).  Please share.

If I might be so bold, I have other questions for you, although not of the "legitimate rape" sort.  I know you're busy clarifying all the ways in which you misspoke yesterday because in truth your heart does go out to all those gals who enjoyed their rapes and let themselves get knocked up and who'll get an abortion over your dead saintly all-knowing body, it was just that you opened your mouth and said the words your brain told your lips to utter.  Perhaps when you're done clearing all that up, you could help me with the following:

1.  Why do we need health care if an apple a day keeps the doctor away?  I don't understand why this argument isn't trotted out more in the War on Obamacare.  Are you saving up the apple orchard rebuttal for the Republican National Convention?

2.  I stepped on a crack in the sidewalk this morning.  How long does my mother have until her back breaks?  Relatedly, how many apples does it take to mend a broken back?

3.  When I was pregnant, I went to my ob/gyn and found out the sex of both of my children using ultrasound technology.  Who would you recommend to represent me in my malpractice suit against said "doctor" for not using that test where you tie my wedding ring to a lock of my hair and hold it above my navel and watch whether it swings in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction to determine gender?

4.  My husband took a long, hot bath once and during his bad-decisions phase in college, he drank a Mountain Dew.  Where, behind rape, would you rank these alternative explanations for why I had a hard time getting pregnant? 

5.  My daughter (future stupid woman) has this umbrella she loves.  It's got princesses on it.  She likes to pretend it's a parasol and keeps it open inside the house when she plays dress-up.  Is she going to get hit by a car or contract malaria?

6.  Where's your favorite place to purchase leeches?

7.  How was it, exactly, that you were nominated for and accepted to the Science, Space and Technology Committee?  Is it because you are from outer space?  If so, we'd all be REALLY curious to hear about your childhood there.  Do the pictures from the Mars rover make you homesick?

In closing, I would like to thank you for reminding us all that just because a theory was discredited centuries ago, that's no reason to deny that theory a place in today's society.  A place like a law or a moral or a chapter in our science book.  Certainly, a place in our national leadership.

Since you have given me so much to think about, I would feel remiss if I didn't give you something in return.  I have been trying to think of what a man like you could possibly want.  You already have your A rating from the NRA, your theologian's degree, your special seat at the right hand of God.  What could a stupid woman like me possibly have to offer you?

I've got it!  Given that we females can't be trusted with our own bodies, I am sure you are of the view that we should never have been trusted with voting privileges.  So I'll tell you what.  I will never, ever use my vote in favor of you or your kind, and I will try to get as many women as I can to not use their vote for you too.  You're so welcome!  It's my pleasure, really.

Yours (obviously),
Female Body # 4752355A


  1. I would just laugh and walk away if he wasn't in office. Terrifying.

    1. Not only in office, but there for more than 10 years! The one good thing about this comment is that it might end that streak.

    2. Oh, I don't know. Judging by the debacle that was Sarah Palin and her popularity, I'm guessing we could sell Shut It Down Kits all over America. We could market them as emergency car kits, just in case you're ever legitimately lost in a bad neighborhood. We could probably convince Chick-Fil-A to include them in kids' meals.

  2. Awesome job. My first draft suggested we bring back alchemy. I'm glad to see I wasn't the only one who thinks he might be stuck in the Dark Ages.

  3. So, so, SO many things wrong with this man, his statement, and his rebuttal. I'm making my politics known, but it honestly has me fear for not only a woman's right to choose, but women's rights in general, if Romney/Ryan DID get elected. They supposedly "approve" of an abortion if it is truly caused by what they deem as "rape." My question is - does it have to be actually proven as truth before a woman is allowed to have one? Or would she have to remain pregnant until it was proven in a court of law? Which takes it to a very different territory - from an early first-trimester termination to a (at best) late-term abortion. What if a woman's abusive husband forced her? Who says that it would be deemed rape?

    Clearly I have strong feelings on the subject, sorry to vent all over your blog :)

    1. I don't know what they mean in terms of the proof required when they say that abortions would be allowed in cases of rape - you raise good points and concerns. And I am glad you are using this as a place to vent your strong feelings!

  4. Absolutely right on and wonderfully nitpick: There are 100 Senators.

    1. Oh my gosh - can't believe I made that mistake. Thank you for pointing it out - I've corrected it in text. I appreciate your reading and your kind words.

  5. I love it - such a shame that you had to write it.