This weekend Missouri Senate candidate, Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), make big news when he declared women could shut off their bodies from getting pregnant during a "legitimate rape". Since then we have seen troves of big names in the GOP come out and denounce the comments, including the head of the RNC, Mitt Romney and even the head of Tea Party Nation.
But what does this say about the GOP and their pro-life platform?
The comments Akin made, while totally absurd, are not that far off base with what the GOP has said for years. They constantly try to come up with ways to defend the denial of abortion to women in all cases. Akin and Paul Ryan even co-sponsored legislation last year that tried to redefine rape. So Akin is actually really aligned with the GOP platform.
So why is the GOP running from this?
They constantly say they want to make abortion a key issue and that most of America supports their views, so why not capitalize on what Akin said? Why is it now that the real views are out there the GOP chooses to hide?
The reason is simple and a lesson that all conservative voters, especially the social conservatives, should take in. The GOP doesn't want abortion outlawed. I have said this for years and you can simple look through history to see proof of this. The GOP had control of the House, Senate and White House for years early in the millennium, yet they never tried to ban abortion. They never even really brought the issue up.
The top people in the Republican Party know they need abortion to rally church and social conservative support and if it were to become outlawed, then that takes away a big motivator for the base. Remember, we do live in a country that voters need huge motivation to vote.
Another thing the right realizes is that their platform on abortion does not align with the mainstream of America. Sure they go out and say it does, but polling shows something different. Only 20% of voters actually view the GOP platform that abortion should be outlawed in every case.
So what the GOP has done over the decades is dangle the carrot on a string in front of their social conservative base. They keep saying that they will rid us of abortion, yet they don't really plan on doing no such thing. The GOP knows if they do this then they will quickly loose elections, unless they can compromise and lay out clear and sensible guidelines to when abortion should be allowed. Before that, the GOP also has to prove that they are truly concerned about women's health and their rights. This is something else the GOP has continuously failed at over the years.
When you hear a Republican politician say they will work to rid our nation of abortion, realize that they are giving hollow promises. Instead start pushing our leaders to work to find middle ground to end the abortion debate. Once that happens then outrageous comments, like those made by Todd Akin, will be truly seen as outrageous by everyone.