In a press conference this afternoon, President Obama was asked about Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) comment that “legitimate rape” generally does not lead to pregnancy. The President did not pull any punches:
OBAMA: Well, let me first of all say the views expressed were offensive. Rape is rape. And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we’re talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people, and certainly doesn’t make sense to me. So what I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women. And so although these particular comments have led Governor Romney and other Republicans to distance themselves, I think the underlying notion that we should be making decisions on behalf of women for their health care decisions or qualifying ‘forcible rape’ versus nonforcible rape — I think those are broader issues and that is a significant difference in approach between me and the other party.
Obama’s strong condemnation of Akin is welcome, if not surprising given the widespread outrage at the Missouri lawmaker’s remarks. Additionally, his reference to so-called “forcible rape” is likely a clever attack on his opponent’s running mate. GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan is an original co-sponsor of the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” a bill which rolls back a longstanding exemption to the federal ban on abortion funding for rape survivors unless the woman seeking to terminate her pregnancy experienced a “forcible rape.”