Letter to the Editor

Ellen Kubit, Undergraduate Student

I have a class with Andrew Breland, writer of “Sticks and stones may break our bones…” Every day, he brings intelligent answers and comments to the class. Since this piece is in the ‘Opinion’ section, I know Mr. Breland will respect me offering my own.

Towards the middle of the third paragraph, Mr. Breland writes, “Now, we all know he got the biology wrong.” That is quite the assumption. Did everyone know the biology of his comment was wrong? Mr. Breland and I definitely know, but I think that statement is too bold for the rest of the United States of America. If Todd Akin did know the biology was wrong, if he did not base his decision on “from what [he] understands from doctors,” would he had still used the comment as support for his argument? Would a politician involved in a high-profile race against a pro-choice candidate have used such an incorrect statement to support his pro-life stance? I am not convinced. In my opinion, Todd Akin truly believed that victims of rape have the ability to block the semen and prevent pregnancy.

This misconception of the entire understanding of the female reproductive system is quite problematic. Brushing off the comment as a “gaffe,” a “slip-up in a speech,” and a “single occurrence of ‘foot-in-mouth'” seems even more problematic. Todd Akin is not the victim of a mere slip-of-the-tongue. He showed the entire country that he basically did not take 5th grade health class. He stated on a broadcast television show what he truly thought was possible. And this is why there was so much uproar. A basis of his pro-life stance in regards to victims of rape is not grounded in facts. Furthermore, I am curious what Mr. Breland thinks of Akin’s “legitimate rape” comment. After all, Akin received backlash over 2 remarks, but the article mostly discusses the biology one.

What differentiates a “legitimate rape” from an “illegitimate rape”? Does the latter mean a boy-who-cried-wolf rape? Does the latter mean the victim knew the assailant? Does it mean the victim did not scream and cry and fight? Does it mean the victim was dating, engaged, or married to the attacker? As someone who cares very strongly about this topic and as someone who has volunteered with Planned Parenthood and the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, I can assure you that you cannot define what a “legitimate rape” is. But according to Todd Akin, “legitimate rape” victims can prevent pregnancy. Whatever happens to the fake victims is not his concern.

I hope this response demonstrates that the Todd Akin example is not the result of a biased “liberal mainstream media” portrayal. Todd Akin is an example of the public reacting to an inaccurate comment of a public official. Mr. Breland, how would you respond to fellow Republicans Scott Brown, Mitt Romney, and Paul Ryan’s disgust with Todd Akin’s comments? They made sure they distanced themselves from fellow Republican Todd Akin. Surely that can’t be the “liberal mainstream media” at it again?

I believe we could discuss the negatives of “liberal mainstream media” and the negatives of Fox News for probably a week and I do not want to focus on that topic. I respect Mr. Breland for sharing his opinion with the entire university. I am so grateful to live in a country where we can have these two different views with no consequences! I do encourage to focus less on biased media accusations and focus more on the issues at hand. I would be more than happy to discuss with Mr. Breland the undeniable dangers of Todd Akin’s remarks in the future.