All Steamed Up
I had coffee with Lila yesterday. She’d been reading the news and was all steamed up. “Fit to be tied,” she said about herself.
“You must have read the story,” she began, “about the fellow running for senator in Missouri, who said ‘if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.’” What he was getting at was that maybe some women would pretend to have been raped so that they could get an abortion. Don’t that beat all?”
I admitted that it did.
“According to this fellow Akin, rape is the sort of claim a shirker would make. Like the third grader saying ‘the dog ate my homework.’ Or the tardy employee claiming a train held up traffic. No big deal. Now you can get an abortion. That’s what he meant by legitimate rape.
“I’d like to sit down with this Mister Akin and talk to him about rape. About how it is perhaps most women’s greatest fear. About how humiliating it must be to go into a police station and then submit to an examination and questions and to the possibility of someone hinting that it was perhaps your own fault because just look at that short skirt you’re wearing, or just look at where you’d been, didn’t you know better?
“Sure. Sex, babies, we women take these things lightly. We need men to follow us around and decide what’s legitimate and what’s not. ‘Were you really raped, or do you just want an abortion?’ That’s what, in Mister Akin’s world, women will be asked.
“We’ve seen this sort of paranoid paternalism before: poor single mother? You’re probably taking those food stamps and selling them just so you can buy meth (or a television). We’ll have to put a stop to this.
“Never mind Mister Akin’s sheer stupidity about the human body. Follow his reasoning and boxers who’d been hit legitimately would have self-healing broken noses. Old people who’d legitimately come down with cataracts would have cataract-removing mechanisms in their eyeballs.
“Now that’s something I could get behind.”