As you've probably heard, the GOP has officially taken a strong stance against the moral permissibility of abortion. The party's position is that a woman should not be able to abort a fetus, even if the fetus is the product of rape or incest.
Representative Akin's comments have received quite a bit of attention recently. In discussing pregnancy resulting from rape, he remarked: “It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really
rare. If it’s a legitimate
rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
The majority of the controversy over Akin's comments revolve around: (a) biology and whether a raped woman is more or less likely to get pregnant than a woman that engages in "normal" intercourse; and (b) his use of the phrase 'legitimate'. I don't think either of these is where oppenents should really direct their ire.
Regarding (a), it appears that Akin is incorrect about his biological claim. A number of professional medical associations have disputed his remarks. But, even if he's right, I don't see why this is relevant to the discussion. Suppose that it is extremely unlikely that a woman becomes pregnant after rape. Imagine that merely 1% of cases of rape result in pregnancy and the chances of getting pregnant from "normal" intercourse is significantly greater than this. What's the argument that gets one from this (dubious) biological point to the conclusion that it is wrong for a woman to abort a fetus after being raped? I don't see why the probabilities matter here.
Regarding (b), I can certainly see why people think that Akin is implying that some (many?) cases of purported rape are not legitimate (where this is read: actual cases of rape). If this is Akin's position, there may be cause to be upset. And we can have a very interesting discussion about what counts as rape and what exactly it is to give consent. But, again, I don't see anything in what Akin says that has anything to do with whether women that have been raped and become pregnant ought to be allowed to have abortions. And that's the issue at hand. That's a major part of the official platform of the GOP. A quick look at the GOP website and interviews with the major players in the Republican Party yields little by way of actual arguments for this controversial position.
We need to engage in a debate about the issue and this requires wrestling with premises that are actually relevant. Unfortunately, it seems the bulk of politicians (on both sides of the aisle) and members of the media (liberal and conservative alike) are guilty of failing to do this. This, I think, is deserving of our ire.