Todd Akin should not be on House science committee
The Kansas City Star
Among the many revelations to emerge from the Todd Akin uproar is this: One apparently needn’t respect valid science, or even scientific principles, to sit on the science committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Congressman from St. Louis and (so far) GOP nominee for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat is being roundly condemned for his ignorant assertion that “legitimate rape” rarely causes pregnancy because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
In subsequent statements, Akin has said he misspoke…what he meant to say was that forcible rape rarely causes pregnancies.
Not much of an improvement. The congressman appears to be relying on an old assertion from a physician associated with anti-abortion groups, who years ago published some gibberish about a rape victim’s hormone system going into overdrive and wreaking havoc with normal reproductive functions.
That assertion, by John Willke, has been thoroughly debunked by the legitimate —if you will — medical community. But Akin isn’t one to let valid science get in the way of his belief system. If you oppose abortion as fervently as he does, you need to find a way to get around the widespread opinion that women who are raped shouldn’t have to carry out a pregnancy. So you stick with a cockamamie theory that “real” rape doesn’t cause pregnancy.
Akin is also a strident opponent of the somatic cell nuclear transfer form of embryonic stem cell research, which requires the belief that a clump of human cells in a lab dish, smaller than a sharp pencil point, has the rights of a human being.
As noted here in Grist, Akin doesn’t believe in the science of climate change, either. In 2009, he rose on the House floor to display his sophistication on the matter:
I mean, we just went from winter to spring. In Missouri, when we go from winter to spring, that’s a good climate change. I don’t want to stop that climate change, you know. So, and who in the world would want to put politicians in charge of the weather anyway? What a dumb idea.
So here’s the deal. You can be a member of the U.S. House of Representatives science committee if you oppose politicians being in charge of the weather, but favor them being in charge of women’s health.