Mike Huckabee to Rep. Todd Akin: Rapes Have Created Amazing People! August 21, 2012

Mike Huckabee to Rep. Todd Akin: Rapes Have Created Amazing People!

Another right-wing politician has put his foot in his mouth to seemingly defend Rep. Todd Akin‘s atrocious comments about “legitimate rape.”

The LA Times reports that Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee had the following words of wisdom to share:

Ethel Waters, for example, was the result of a forcible rape,” Huckabee said of the late American gospel singer. One-time presidential candidate Huckabee added: “I used to work for James Robison back in the 1970s, he leads a large Christian organization. He, himself, was the result of a forcible rape. And so I know it happens, and yet even from those horrible, horrible tragedies of rape, which are inexcusable and indefensible, life has come and sometimes, you know, those people are able to do extraordinary things.”

Thanks for clearing that up, Mike! That makes it much easier to question whether a rape is “legitimate” or not. (End sarcasm. Cue *facepalm*)

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  • Gunstargreen

    Every time Mike Huckabee opens his mouth and something disastrous spills out I say to myself, “this man could have been president.” Then I feel like crying.

  • Flo

    Always a silver lining, right? Right? *sigh*

  • Tom Walters

    –“Hear Anything?”
    “nope – hasn’t hit bottom yet”
    –“I don’t think there is a bottom…”

  • Matthew Booth

    This post is a disservice to reasonable argument on a difficult and emotionally charged topic. Lets briefly go back to the talking points of Todd Akin’s original foot-in-mouth. In my view there are 3:

    1. “Legitimate rape”. To say this is an unfortunate choice of words is a massive understatement. However, if it weren’t for point 2 I’d be prepared to believe he simply mis-spoke.

    2. Women who are raped don’t get pregnant. This is the major WTF. It’s so bad, in fact, take point 1 and beat him senseless with it.

    3. Aborting a foetus which is the result of a rape punishes the foetus and compounds the crime. This is a perfectly respectable, rational argument meriting a respectful, rational response. On balance I personally don’t agree with it, but it’s not insane.

    In the Mike Huckabee quote above, he’s only supporting the third point above, and doing it rather well IMHO. On the other hand, your post attempts to dismiss his sensible argument with some kind of ad-hominem by association. You don’t attempt to address his well-made points in any way. This post is a reminder that it’s not just religious zealots with their fingers in their ears.

  • Zuckerfrosch

    I imagine these were not “legitimate” rapes, then, since the women didn’t “shut down” the pregnancies. 

  • cathouseumbrella

    Ah, good old rape! Just another wonderful part of God’s plan, right Mike?

  • Zuckerfrosch

    Oh, and Matthew: Forcing a rape victim to carry her rapist’s baby at the threat of imprisonment for murder further punishes the rape victim and compounds the crime.  What was so offensive in Akin’s remarks is that when he was discussing this point, he left out the woman, and only considered the rapist and his blastocyst.

  • Matthew Booth

    I totally agree. That’s just one example of a sensible counter-argument to a well-made point.

    However, Camille didn’t choose to make that point. Instead she chose to blast Mike Huckabee with a snide remark about something said by somebody else. In doing that she did us all a disservice.

  • CelticWhisper

    Point 2 has to be one of the most staggeringly stupid, uninformed, ignorant things I’ve ever heard.  I really wonder where on earth he got an idea like that.

    I mean…okay, yeah, politicians say stupid shit in the name of pandering to their parties and getting votes, but usually it’s stupid shit that can be misinterpreted just so they can later say “You misinterpreted it!” and weasel out.

    There’s…really no way to misinterpret “the human body can automatically reject rape pregnancies.”  It’s blatantly scientifically untrue and provably so.  He had to know there was no way to escape verbal crucifixion by the scientfic, medical, and general non-neanderthal communities over it.

    Or is he actually that dumb?

  • SpaceViking

    Well I guess that makes everything alright then. And since every child deserves a mother and father, we should also force the rape victim to marry her rapist.

  • CelticWhisper

    “Good people have come from rape!”  Yeah, and Hitler developed the Autobahn.  Doesn’t mean the rest of the shit he did was acceptable.

    Nice rhetorical trick, though.  He thinks that by pointing this out, he magically equates support for abortion in cases of rape to wishing these people never existed.  Of course, if they never existed we wouldn’t know what we were missing, and it’s also not to say that another equally-brilliant person wouldn’t have come into being in their place.

    “You’d kill Ethel Waters?”   No, but I’d kill the rapist who impreganted her mother (preferably before he was able to do so) or, if I was too late, I’d support the decision to terminate mitosis in the cluster of cells that would eventually turn into Ethel Waters.

    Oh, crap.  Did I just ruin another pro-lifer argument with science?  Dang, I gots to stop doing that.

  • The point the right is missing is that its a choice. The mothers of those individuals chose to carry the baby to term. That was their decision and I don’t think anyone faults them for it. THe point is, it was their decision, not the government’s, to carry the baby to term. No one is saying, “if you’re raped, you must get an abortion”. We’re saying that the choice should be there for the mother to make.

  • NeedingMoreFacts

    What Huckabee said is factual – he said he knows two people who were conceived by rape, disputing what Akin said.  He also makes the factual statement that those children/adults conceived by rape go on to do wonderful things. 

    Thank you Matthew for addressing these points.

  • 3lemenope

    Or is he actually that dumb?

    I suspect the truth is something like this:

    Akin: I wanna say something smart sounding and provocatively pro-lifey as a signal to my base who love this stuff. Anybody know a clever point I can make?

    Staffer: Senator, I read this here on the Interwebs, and it sure sounds good. It looks like a decade ago someone said that a doctor once told them that rape doesn’t produce babies because of something sciency.

    Akin: Let’s go with that!

    I suspect as likely as not this was less a calculated statement horribly backfiring and more just a dropped-in scripted dogwhistle for the base that wasn’t pitched quite high frequency enough. Not that that reduces his responsibility for saying it, after all he did say whatever came out of his mouth of his own free will. Just saying that chances are it was an act of horrible carelessness rather than malice; he sees people who oppose abortion rights as a block of voters, and ones he’d like to have strongly associate with him, and so he said something to prove to those voters that he’s a serious guy about their issue, tough even on the margins, and accidentally went too far and found his head suddenly located up his ass (foot-in-mouth, I think, is too gentle a metaphor for what he did). 

    Just example number whatever why viewing the abortion issue as a realm of labels and sides instead of as a policy discussion leads to foolishness and a lack of progress.

  • Xuuths

    And there are many successful people who were raped as children, so raping children is ok as well by this logic.  Right?  Is that what you are defending?

    In fact, you might remember the guy who cut off his own arm to save his life — he’s gone on to be successful.  So it’s okay to cut off your own arm.  Right?

    Heck, there are people who are successful people who happen to be homosexuals — so being homosexual is ok as well by this logic.  Right?  (Oh, I guess Huckleberry isn’t suggesting THAT, is he.)


  • This is a bit like the whole fallacy of giving God credit for every good thing that happens, while refusing to blame it when something bad occurs.

    If you’re going to defend requiring raped women to have their babies because those babies might become wonderful adults, you have to equally allow for the possibility that those children will develop into axe murderers. And given the trauma of rape, it’s not hard to imagine a significant percentage of babies born to victims will grow up under dysfunctional conditions… just the sort of thing that breeds dysfunctional adults.

  • Matthew Booth

    If you’re going to go ad-hominem, target the right guy and do it properly: http://www.theonion.com/articles/i-misspokewhat-i-meant-to-say-is-i-am-dumb-as-dog,29256/

  • Michael

    The more I hear it the more “shut down the pregnancy” sounds like a euphemism for getting an abortion and lying about it.

  • We were discussing this topic with my sister once about how horrible it is that Santorum said raped women should accept their rape pregnancies as blessings from God. My sister insisted that abortion after a rape was still wrong and that she knew someone who was raped and she now has an adorable young boy.
    Well duh. No one’s saying that rape babies are ugly or evil. But now this woman has a constant reminder of her rape and her rapist. The focus is always on the child or the future child and how they can be a blessing or can go on to do amazing things. It doesn’t ever  seem to matter how the woman feels through all of this. In fact, my sister mentioned that this woman had wanted an abortion but her family kept her from getting one. But who cares, because the baby is cute, right?

  • Spark

     Why not? It’s in the Bible!

  • I respectfully disagree to your defense of point 3. While some people may say that abortion “punishes the foetus” I do not see that as a rational argument. It is an emotional appeal which attempts to personify an embryo based on its potential for life and further convolutes the issue by associating that potential life with actual living people. The idea is based on magical thinking and logical fallacies, not on science or rational facts.

    Therefore, my reaction to point 3 is just as “WTF” as your response to point 2. I don’t see Camille’s post as an “ad-hominem by association,” but rather as an angry WTF comment akin to your response to point 2. The only difference is that you personally disagree with point 2, but not with point 3.

    Choosing to bring attention to Huckabee’s comments through sarcasm doesn’t necessarily support your implication that someone who thoroughly disagrees with him has “their fingers in their ears.” Some of us have heard the arguments, had the debates and have already reached your level of disgust with point 2 in regards to point 3. 

  • The Captain

    ““Ethel Waters, for example, was the result of a forcible rape” So the fuck what? Hitler was the result of consensual sex, can he make a fucking point without it being a logical fallacy?

  • MariaO

    This is a very old idea that I have heard from several directions, so it is definitely not Akin’s idea. In one way its rather nice – both participants need to enjoy the proceedings to start a fetus – and I think this was the original idea, when conception was still a mystery. But that is of course not how it is used here. It is the perfect “out” for rapists:
    If no pregnancy – no harm done (at least nothing the rapist need to care about).
    If pregancy – she wanted sex and definitely no harm done.
    But I guess it is too much to expect any kind of logic from men with brains so tiny and damaged that they rape people – and think it’s OK.

  • Stev84

    No, he meant it literally. As in the hormones produced during stress (such as adrenaline) somehow interfere with conception or early pregnancy and prevent it from progressing.

  • CelticWhisper

    “But that is of course not how it is used here. It is the perfect “out” for rapists:

    If no pregnancy – no harm done (at least nothing the rapist need to care about).
    If pregancy – she wanted sex and definitely no harm done. ”

    Huh, never thought of it that way, but it is a very convenient copout, isn’t it?  Of course, “no harm done” ignores the psychological damage done to the rape victim and any physical injuries incurred in the process, but as you say below, rapists aren’t exactly the brightest bulbs in the box.

    “But I guess it is too much to expect any kind of logic from men with
    brains so tiny and damaged that they rape people – and think it’s OK. ”

    Or, in the interest of equality, from women with brains so tiny and damaged that they rape people and think it’s OK.  Such as the one who tried to forcibly inseminate her wife with a turkey baster.  Link: http://www.news.com.au/lesbian-fights-off-sperm-wielding-partner/story-0-1225699482043

  • Stev84

    It can also be called the “The trains ran on time” argument, which is what was said about Mussolini (though in reality they weren’t on time).

  • Reginald Selkirk

     Exactly. Women are not “persons” whose interests need to be taken into account, like men and fetuses. Women are just baby factories. If Republicans want to order those baby factories into operation in order to protect the rights of a zygote or a fetus,  Mathew Booth sees this as a “perfectly respectable, rational position” with which he just happens to disagree.
    One thing the conservatives are forgetting: approximately half of those fetuses are likely to be female, and therefore do not deserve rights. They should figure out a counter-argument to that.

  • Reginald Selkirk
  • NeedingMoreFacts

    I wasn’t defending anything at all, except Huckabee’s factual statements.  There is no logical fallacy (which, I would argue most people don’t even know the real use for the phrase, except they read it in blog posts like this one) because there is no argument in what I said.  None of us said raping a child is OK.  You’re acting crazy. 

    You’re making incredibly loose assumptions and portraying exactly what others think about atheists: angry people.

  • According to Christian theology wasn’t the Virgin Mary raped by the Heavenly Father? Or was that alleged event considered a “legitimate rape”?

  • Fetuses and embryos are distinct living human organisms, not merely “potential life.” Consult any number of secular embryology and human development textbooks.

    It’s crippling to the pro-choice side when we get the science wrong ourselves. Please stick to the (debatable) philosophical assertion that fetuses are merely potential persons, not the (false) scientific assertion that fetuses are merely potential life.

  • NeedingMoreFacts

    “If you’re going to defend requiring raped women to have their babies …”

    Wait, who said this?  I certainly didn’t see the implication. 

  • They’re not missing the point. It’s the very same point that’s central to the abortion debate. All they’re doing is being consistent in their belief that abortion is morally wrong, whether or not the pregnancy was the result of another moral wrong.

    Just because someone doesn’t agree with you doesn’t mean they misunderstand what you’re asserting.

  • Rationality is important, until OUR sacred cows are threatened.

  • NeedingMoreFacts

    What’s *your* point? 

    Seriously, someone (mainly a man) says the word “rape”, and some liberals are all over it like a piece of meat in a lion pit.  Just because Huckabee refuted what Akin said (saying that Ethel Waters was conceived by forcible rape – you know, since Akin said it wasn’t possible) doesn’t mean he’s implying anything other than what he said.   Actually, do you know Hitler was a result of consensual sex?  How dare you say that out loud without proof (sarcasm)!  What does it matter?  Who cares if Hitler was a result of consensual sex? 

  • Akin and many other right wing extremists take the position that abortion should be illegal in all cases… even rape and incest. You obviously aren’t following politics very closely if you’ve missed that fact!

  • No one is disputing that people conceived by rape can go on to do wonderful things or saying that they are in any way “tainted” by the way they were conceived. That implication is part of fallacy because it sets up a straw man which can be easily defeated.

    Equating ‘abortion of an embryo’ to ‘wishing that a living person had never been born’ is a faulty analogy which relies on emotional appeal to argue a point. 

    Using the accomplishments of people conceived in rape as a reason not to allow abortion is also a logical fallacy because it appeals to the consequences of a belief. You could just as easily say that serial killers, rapists or other “bad people” are an argument *for* abortion – and that would be an equally faulty argument.

    The only thing factual about Huckabee’s statement is that he knows two accomplished people who were conceived through rape. That fact alone does not support a logical argument for or against the availability of legal abortion.

  • Kodie

     There is a logical fallacy if he’s implying that abortion is wrong in case those fetuses would have grown up to be fantastic people (which is also subjective). It’s a pretty popular tactic that we have to save all the fetuses in case we abort the one who could cure cancer someday (additionally: you’re glad you weren’t aborted, aren’t you?), and as many people born in hard circumstances grow up to achieve great things and are glad they were born doesn’t really address the fact that some people do not want to or are unprepared to become parents. Fetuses that are aborted don’t grow up to become anybody, and fetuses that are not aborted may or may not achieve any success. We certainly don’t, as a society, see it as our social responsibility to nurture children or parents in difficult circumstances who have to make this difficult choice sometimes. We only see the few who make it through as reason enough to save all of them, many of whom have difficult lives and perpetuate cycles of poverty with few social programs to ensure greater chances of being a successful person, and on top of that a possibly traumatized mother, stigma, and a father who may or may not be in jail and may or may not still be “around.”

    Now that sounds really eugenic when it sounds like I’m implying there are some people who aren’t worth not aborting, but that’s not what I’m saying. It should be entirely up to the parents to take on any responsibility in that department. Huckabee is pointing to a few successes he knows about and sorting them from people whom he can easily ignore. He’s the one naming what success means, what beating the odds looks like, while ignoring “the odds”. Forcing all people to carry fetuses to term even in instances of rape is gambling on the premise that making it in this life is up to the individual to build themselves up from an unwanted start only because it’s possible, then everyone should do it. Start putting resources in place – but no, that would be cheating them out of the glory of climbing up all by themselves so we can use them as examples of how the system works. The system is set up for a lot more people to fail, because succeeding is hard especially if you’re born with the burdens other people don’t normally have.

    Those people’s mothers were raped and I don’t know how old they are or why their mothers didn’t choose or possibly couldn’t choose abortion, or possibly wouldn’t choose abortion if they could. Unless it wasn’t their choice, then it was still their choice, which again forces the responsibility some may not want to take. When there is nothing you can do about it, some people are capable of strength, but it should not be the law that a rape victim has to do the “strong” thing and persevere with a pregnancy she doesn’t want because some women made it work, for the same reason not all fetuses should be allowed to develop just in case some of them turn out to be solid winners you can then use as examples.

    We stigmatize rape victims in this society – she wanted it, or she’s lying, not to mention single mothers, young, poor single mothers, mixed race children – like it’s societies job to judge someone for their circumstances, people who don’t know and don’t need to know what’s up with that, labeling whatever it is the mother’s fault, making these people’s lives even harder, and/or judging them for being on welfare because they couldn’t or didn’t choose abortion.

    tl;dr – It is non sequitur. A fetus gets no guarantee in life, not who its parents will be or what opportunities it can exploit or what personal success it may achieve, especially with low priority on social programs, and shouldn’t be burdened with nonsense about possibilities. Also, data points aren’t evidence. Once we save the fetuses, there is a lot of potential and this potential is limited by the same people.

  • Shuteme

    Can you imagine gong thru life saying… I’m so proud of my father for raping my mother… Or I wouldn’t be here…

  • The Captain

    You need to read more better. Huckabee was also making an argument that rape can produce people that “do extraordinary things.” not just as a refutation of what Akin said, but to make the point that abortion should not be allowed in cases of rape because of this. I was just pointing out the bullshit absurdity of that argument. But I guess you missed that.

  • RobMcCune

    The point is people are offended at points 1 & 2, and pro life advocates show up to say “Point 3! Point 3! Look over here Point 3!” It’s a deliberate attempt to derail the conversation, distract from the vile things Akin said, and in doing so defend him. 

    Thank you for at least acknowledging the parts of Akin’s statements we both agree are despicable.

  • The Captain

    I always reefer to it as the “immaculate rape”.  Drives them nuts.

  • Sir Mets

    raping a child is bad and he didn’t say anything about raping a child but he said about raping a woman which is still a rape “needing more facts” there has been numerous report of child molesters, rapist and god knows what else from Christian religion and for a Christian to go and admit that some of there fellow worshippers done or doing horrible things they just spend there lives defending those people and trying to find stupid arguments or people to help them with it. O MY GOD 2 people turn out successful as a rape baby hmm let me think there are 1000s of woman who get raped daily and out of those only 2 had a baby that got somewhere that’s great odds in fact the best odds ever so we should make rape legal lol. wtf and a woman doesn’t get pregnant when she gets raped? u right a girl has a controller in her hand and she switches the button during rape to shut off her foetus. so to summarize religious people and right wing politicians are mentally challenged people who use religion to escape psychic wards and judging by what they say they also have an iq of 20 and i guess they are happy all the time because they were all either a product of rape wich will explain there iq level or simply its hard to think of something that makes u mad when u have no brain activity in the first place

  • NeedingMoreFacts

    Yeah, I’ll learn to “read more better”.

  • Kodie

     Sarcasm aside, some of them already are.

  • LesterBallard

    Everything is part of god’s plan. God’s wonderful plan, and is for his ultimate glory. No matter how terribly shitty it is to actual human beings. These people believe that aborting a fetus is murder. However, if their god killed every pregnant woman on the planet tomorrow, they would simply say it’s god’s will, praise him.

  • SpaceViking

    Exactly! Who cares about the suffering of the rape victim? THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

  • Dan

    Mike Huckabee is against abortion in the case of rape and incest, and has made that belief clear often. (Paul Ryan too).

  • The Captain

    Great, and while your at it learn the understanding of intentional bad grammar for humor.

  • Dan

    You don’t understand sarcasm, do you?

  • Sue Blue

    Jesus Jumped-Up Johnycake Christ, I think my brain is bleeding – thanks, Mr. Suckabee.   Why didn’t you just follow up those turds of wisdom with a rousing “So, hey, all y’all fine young Christian men, get y’selfs out there and rape some gals now, and spread that fine Christian seed!”  

  • cipher

    There are millions of people in this country who think this cretin represents the salvation of America.

  • nakedanthropologist

    I disagree.  The statement(s) made by Akin are an act of malice.  Not just because he said them, but because they are backed up by his voting record and espoused ideology.  It’s one thing to banter an idea around (such as ‘legitimate rape’ – as horrible as that is) but this wasn ‘t banter.  The statement made by Akin was deliberate and an accurate reflection of his political and ideological actions.  Huckabee’s defense of Akin is equally despicable because it trivalizsd a real-life issue concerning physical and mental harm.  He [Huckabee] bypasses the victims of rape when he only points to their children as examples of “but something good can still come out of this!” – what of the victims and the impact this crime has on their lives? 

  • What. The. Fuck.

  • A fetus or embryo is not a person in the same way that an egg is not a chicken.

  • nakedanthropologist

    “Jesus Jumped-Up Johnycake Christ, I think my brain is bleeding” – dear Sue Blue, I might have to borrow this sometime. 🙂

  • You don’t seem to have understood what I said well enough to disagree with it.

  • Margaret Whitestone

    Heinous.  Guilt a rape victim into carrying her rapists fetus because it might become an “amazing person”.  Funny how we never hear how that fetus might grow up to be a serial killer.  

  • Dan Dorfman

    What makes a person great isn’t born with them. A ball placed at the top of a flight of stairs doesn’t contain any energy on its own. Rather than protecting each and every every zygote because it could be the next albert einstein or cancer-curing doctor, how about investing in education or helping the ALREADY BORN?

  • amycas

     No, rapists don’t have tiny brains or anything like that. I know people would like to think that rapists are just some sort of inhuman monsters, but they’re not. They are people. You probably know one and you don’t know it. That’s why it’s scary. Rapists are able to hide in plain sight. I know you guys meant well, but every time rapists in general are “othered,” it makes it that much harder for a victim to be believed when that “sweet old man/popular kid at school/well respected public figure/well-loved family member” turns out to be a rapist.

  • amycas

     I think Rainne was just clarifying what Susan probably meant to say: that a fetus or embryo is not a person. “Life” was not the correct word to use.

  • amycas

     So many Godwins!!!

  • amycas

    But the ball has potential energy! And thermal energy and energy contained in its atoms!!

    Otherwise I like your comment. 🙂

  • newavocation

    These guys are living proof that babies can come from anal sex.

  • NeedingMoreFacts

    I think it’s funny that people who claim to be so rational and brilliantly above stupidity, can’t even use the right “your/you’re”.

  • NeedingMoreFacts

    I’m specifically talking about what Huckabee said in response to Akin.

    “The only thing factual about Huckabee’s statement is that he knows two accomplished people who were conceived through rape.”

    Did I not just say almost that same exact thing? 

  • snoozn

    Imagining Akin and Huckabee singing a lovely duet of “Every Sperm is Sacred.”

  • No

    I can’t help but notice how they’re (and by “they” I mean Republicans) now using the “forcible” qualifier on a regular basis when discussing the crime of rape. This is another attempt to skew public perception of an issue in their favor by reinventing how people talk about it. Rape is rape; it doesn’t require another word to imply force. The word rape itself includes the concept of force. 

    Can someone please explain what non-forcible rape is?

  • Yeah, that makes sense.

  • 3lemenope

    You know, as I’ve gotten to read more about Akin–his record and his past words on this and related subjects–I think I was wrong to give him the benefit of Heinlein’s Razor, and you are right. 

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