Today, Representative Todd Akin apologized for what he called yesterday's "foot-in-mouth" moment, i.e. expressing his belief that abortion shouldn't be legal in this country, even in cases of rape, because "legitimate" rapes rarely result in pregnancy (ostensibly because of the mysterious magic of nature or the voodoo magic of wombs).
While forcefully worded, the apology—which clarified his belief that "legitimate rape" is really "forcible rape"—was weak at best:
“I’ve really made a couple of serious mistakes here that were just wrong and I need to apologize for those,” the GOP candidate explained. “I made that statement in error. Let me be clear, a rape is never legitimate. It’s an evil act, and it’s committed by violent predators. I used the wrong words in the wrong way. What I said was ill-conceived and it was wrong, and for that, I apologize.”
“I also know that people do become pregnant from rape,” he continued. “I didn’t mean to imply that that wasn’t the case. It does happen, and it’s also terrible, particularly the most terrible of all.”
But even as Akin says that he's "always had a compassionate heart for victims of sexual assault" and that pregnancy-by-rape is "particularly the most terrible of all," what he's not doing in this apology is changing his stance on abortion.
In fact, moments after trumpeting his compassion for rape victims, Akin uses 9/11 to justify why they still shouldn't have access to abortions—even tenuously comparing abortion-seeking women to terrorists.
“I remember in Sept. 11th, there were rescue workers running into the buildings that were about to collapse. They grabbed somebody in a wheelchair, pick them up, they don’t check their ID to see whether they’re important or not. They just take them to safety and run back for more,” Akin pointed out.
“That’s the very special thing about our country. And that’s what we have at risk right now, and we have to defend that.”
Republicans will no doubt praise Akin for being brave enough to apologize for his stupidity (as Huckabee praises him). But personally, I find his apology as repugnant as the comments that sparked it. Legislators like Akin have the power to turn their incredibly stupid, unsubstantiated beliefs into laws that hurt women and violate their rights; apologies over semantics don't mean shit when the underlying sentiment remains the same.