A few days ago, we reported that Todd Akin had made several odd comments in 2008 that point to a strangely warped and dystopic view about the future of America. Even though he is Todd Akin, we were willing to cut him a break for some dumb thing he said years ago … until his campaign came forward and said that he still believes all of those things.
We’re specifically referring to Akin’s belief that medical providers perform abortions on women who aren’t even pregnant. On its face, the assertion rings incredibly strange, but the assumption requires a bit more explanation before it can be weighed fairly.
Speaking to BuzzFeed, Akin spokesman Rick Tyler confirmed that Akin still believes his comments, calling the assertion “factual” and pointing to a 1978 investigative news report as evidence that doctors lie to women, convince them that they are pregnant, perform a pseudo-abortion, and collect a paycheck.
“There’s ample evidence that abortion doctors on any number of occasions have deceived women into thinking that they’re pregnant, and then collect money for a procedure that they don’t perform,” he said. “And I say they don’t perform it because obviously the women weren’t pregnant.”
“That’s a war on women that never gets reported. I don’t want Todd to be held to some standard because there’s no accurate reporting on abortion, because there isn’t.”
Further backing up Akin’s claims, anti-abortion activist and former Planned Parenthood manager Abby Johnson:
“In support of Congressman Todd Akin, I can attest that when I served as director of Planned Parenthood in Bryan, Texas, we often scared women into getting services they did not need – including abortion – so we could collect the fees. This included women who were not pregnant and women who were in the process of miscarrying.”
So Akin finally has a point. There’s just one problem. The perspective is about 30 years old. “I think this reflects the fact that [Akin] is not an authority on women’s reproductive health in the modern era,” Dr. Nancy Stanwood, an obstetrician and board member of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health told The Huffington Post. “What he’s saying is baseless and medically ridiculous.”
“This is an old narrative,” she added, “that physicians who provide abortions are greedy. It doesn’t reflect the reality of what I see in my practice. We’re thoughtful and passionate, and we’ve worked really hard to get the medical training we need to take care of patients. That’s our motivation, and that’s the 21st century narrative that we want people to pay attention to.”
Furthermore, Planned Parenthood spokesperson Michelle Trupiano told the AP that “That’s just an absolutely ridiculous claim,” continuing, “just goes to show how extreme Todd Akin is, and he’s not in touch with what happens in women’s lives.”
So Akin was half-right this time. Sort of. We don’t know. He’s not right now, that’s for sure. And his “phase three” human cloning nightmare comments still need to be addressed.