Rep. Phil Gingrey’s attempts to explain Todd Akin’s rape remarks are leaving many Republicans beyond frustrated that a few in their party can’t help but insert rape into the already contentious abortion debate.
“This is actually pretty simple. If you’re about to talk about rape as anything other than a brutal and horrible crime, stop,” said Republican strategist Kevin Madden, who was a senior adviser in Mitt Romney’s campaign.
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Former Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) questioned why Gingrey was talking about the months-old comment in the first place.
“There’s no way to defend what Todd Akin said,” Bono Mack said.“You just can’t do it and you shouldn’t try to put it into a scientific context. It was a bad statement. And to try to defend it or explain someone else’s poor choice of words, it would be a fool’s errand.”
Bono Mack, who was first elected in 1998 but lost her reelection this fall, said some House Republicans don’t understand the full range of emotions associated with the abortion debate.
“It was my belief when I was in the Congress, and I tried to explain this to my colleagues: The abortion issue isn’t just about abortion. It’s about so much more. It’s about delving into what it means to women and what it means to Americans,” she said. For women, it means “a loss of autonomy. To Americans, it means government intrusion into their lives.”