Todd ‘Legitimate Rape’ Akin fires back

"Firing Back," by Todd Akin (WND Books, $25.95)
“Firing Back,” by Todd Akin (WND Books, $25.95)

Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin is back with an unapologetic memoir that describes what he calls his “political assassination.”

The St. Louis Republican sank his campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2012 by claiming that “legitimate rape” rarely causes pregnancy. “The female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” he said in an interview that quickly became the subject of widespread condemnation – even from his own party members.

At the time, he quickly apologized for that remark, but next week, he’ll publish “Firing Back: Taking on the Party Bosses and Media Elite to Protect Our Faith and Freedom.” The book will be released by Washington-area WND Books, which describes itself as ” ‘fiercely independent,’ telling the stories that other publishers won’t.”

Akin addresses the legitimate rape debacle in the opening line of his trim memoir: “In my campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2012, incredible as it seems in retrospect, I spoke a few words that touched off an explosion heard around the world. As the dust settled, the mainstream media ridiculed me, the leadership of the Republic Party denounced me, and the many true patriots defended me. In this book I share the inside story of that political assassination.”

Then he backs up and describes his once-promising Senate campaign against Democratic candidate Claire McCaskill. “Some leftist groups viewed her as a feminist role model,” he notes. “This is especially true of women’s groups whose primary mission, twisted as it sounds, was to ensure that women could continue to kill their unborn babies with impunity.”

Chapter 2, “Defcon I,” takes us through the notorious interview with St. Louis Fox anchor Charles Jaco, who, Akin says, was trying to “force me to take a politically unpopular position.” Then he reprints his 51-word answer and carefully analyzes each line.

“The word ‘legitimate’ modified the claim and not the action,” he writes. “There have been women who have lied about being raped. . . . My comment about a woman’s body shutting the pregnancy down was directed to the impact of stress on fertilization. This is something fertility doctors debate and discuss. Doubt me? Google ‘stress and infertility,’ and you will find a library of research on the subject.”

Akin goes on to acknowledge that the research “is not conclusive,” but he insists that “there is considerable evidence that stress makes conception more difficult. And what could be more stressful than a rape?”

After tracing the wildfire spread of his interview around the media, he concludes, “It was simply an assassination. Thus, I was to be the point man for the fictitious ‘Republican war on women,’ because I had spoken a few words on the subject of rape and abortion.”

The narrative then moves back to describe his college years, his marriage and his dedication to God. Chapters not yet available to the press address 9/11, the Iraq War and President Obama.

“Firing Back” opens with a foreword by former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who refers to Akin as his friend. Huckabee criticizes the GOP for turning on Akin, and he jokes that he and his fellow social conservatives must sit in the back of the bus.

“Todd represented to me what we must do more of as conservatives,” Huckabee writes. “We must stand up for what we believe in. We must no longer apologize for our principles or skate around them in fear of protest.”

Ron Charles is the editor of The Washington Post's Book World. For a dozen years, he enjoyed teaching American literature and critical theory in the Midwest, but finally switched to journalism when he realized that if he graded one more paper, he'd go crazy.
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