Republican Missouri Congressman Todd Akin caused a firestorm of controversy last week when he made shocking comments about only some instances of rape being legitimate, drawing the ire of both GOP Candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama. Now, actress Gabrielle Union, is weighing in on the subject and slamming Akin for his comments.
The trouble all started when Akin gave an interview to KTVI and claimed that abortions shouldn’t be allowed for victims of rape and incest because a woman’s body has a natural mechanism that prevents pregnancy during rape.
“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin said. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”
We’re not sure where Akin, who retracted his statement, got his information from, but Union, who is a rape survivor, was none too pleased with his words and during a recent interview on MSNBC’s “NOW with Alex Wagner,” she criticized the GOP Senate Candidate for his comments.
“I was shocked and I would say saddened, except it pissed me off. So I shot Todd a little Twitter message today explaining kindly, though I didn’t realize there was a need to — that all rape, Todd, is legitimate,” she said.
Union also supported reproductive and health care rights for all women.
“Every rape victim should have equal access to services and justice and health care,” Gabrielle argued. “I believe all women should have access to quality health care and preventative services.”
Union then explained that Akin’s words are a reflection of the outdated “blame the victim” mentality that still pervades our culture and the accepted idea that ordeal of rape victim’s should be dismissed and dehumanized.
“He absolutely said that your experience is not valid—whatever that is, it’s not valid,” Gabrielle argued. “That goes for any sort of women’s issues. I don’t understand how we’re moving in this direction. It’s counterproductive.”
If a woman’s rape experience isn’t legitimate, we wonder how Akin feels about male rape victims. But that’s a conversation he’s sure not to have any time soon.
In the mean time, watch Union’s full interview here and check out some other famous survivors of rape and sexual assault below. – nicholas robinson