Political Animal


October 24, 2012 10:59 AM Akin’s Youthful Indiscretions

By Ed Kilgore

Just as his movement-conservative-activist comrade Richard Mourdock was getting himself into hot water by quite literally attributing to God his views on the compulsory child-bearing obligations of rape victims, Missouri’s Todd Akin gained new attention from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for three separate arrests in the 1980s in connection with his participation in borderline-violent disruptions of abortion clinic operations, in addition to the one arrest Akin had already acknowledged.

The first of the events, according to the newspaper’s archives, was on March 15, 1985. “Nineteen anti-abortion demonstrators who refused to leave the waiting room of an abortion clinic in the Central West End were carried out by St. Louis police officers Friday morning,” read the next day’s paper.
Among those arrested, according to the story, was William Akin, 37, of a Creve Coeur address. The age and address are consistent with other information the newspaper has about Todd Akin.
Three weeks later, another six protesters, including Akin, were arrested at another St. Louis demonstration. “Police had to carry Akin into an elevator,” the story read.
On April 5, 1985, Akin was arrested for a third time, one of 10 protestors who were “attempting to block entrances” at Hope Clinic for Women in Granite City, according to the paper. One clinic employee told the paper that the protestors caused minor damage and leveled “verbal abuse” at women entering the clinic.

Two years later (as he has acknowledged), in 1987, Akin was again arrested, this time at another effort to block entirely legal access to entirely legal abortion procedures at a clinic. It appears in this case the “protest” was organized by an especially notorious and extremist anti-choice group.

Now it’s not like Akin was some “idealistic” college student getting caught up in some ideological hijinks: he was in his late 30s, and was soon (in 1988) to be elected to the Missouri legislature. He was, and is, a stone fanatic on the subject, and his famous views on rape and abortion are entirely within the mainstream of “thinking” among the kind of antichoice activists who represent his political base. I’d even admire him a bit if he just came out loud ‘n’ proud right now and admitted a principal reason he’s in politics is to impose God’s Law on all the slatternly women who keep “killing their babies” by taking The Pill or using an IUD or having clinical abortions.

Truth is, the GOP’s longstanding compact with anti-choice activists and other elements of the Christian Right has politically legitimized folks who are much better suited to be marching in front of abortion clinics waving bloody fetus posters and screaming obscenities at women, than to be strolling the aisles of state legislatures or the U.S. Senate.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Califlander on October 24, 2012 11:18 AM:

    Reduced access to contraception ... redefining rape so that a pregnancy is prima facie evidence of consent ... no abortion, ever.

    I think Akin and Mourdock and Walsh have made the GOP agenda for women pretty clear. All they need now is someone in the White House who will sign it, and give them a few judges to approve it.

  • Samuel Knight on October 24, 2012 11:24 AM:

    Funny how the CW that GOP has the big MO totally ignores 4 big forces:

    1) There are more women than men. And this story really highlights that right in the stretch.
    2) There is a double firewall happening right now:

    Midwest - Ohio, Wisconsin and Iowa.
    Latino - Florida, Nevada and Colorado.

    4) The last debate - 58 million people watched a debate that was generally given to the current president.

  • c u n d gulag on October 24, 2012 11:38 AM:

    To be honest, I have a lot more respect for a guy like Akins, in that at least he's consistent, than a clown like Mitt Romney, who's taken more positions than Ron Jeremy and Jenna Jameson combined - all for political expediency.

    At least Akins doesn't have any checks to Planned Parenthood that are signed by him, floating around, ala Mittens.

  • CharlieM on October 24, 2012 11:49 AM:

    Don't think that the issue is all about this election. If Akin/Mourdock/et.al. don't make it to congress this election there will be other elections and other extremists.

  • TPaine on October 24, 2012 12:35 PM:

    I wonder if we can stop with identifying someone a Christian as if that is the end of the story. The radical religious right likes to paper over religious differences as a political tactic. Identify the demonization as well, please. Thank You.

  • shelli n on October 24, 2012 12:35 PM:

    ok -- i have to call this as i see it. sorry ed, but as much as i am pro-choice, want to keep abortion safe and legal and abhor the gop stance on women's reproductive issues, i need to point out a wee bit of hypocrisy.

    if a liberal candidate had an arrest record for peacefully blocking say, the entrance to the nasty school of the americas (which came up with some of the charming torture techniques used by the bush administration), protesting the naval base in puerto rico, a nuclear plant, etc., this wouldn't be seen as a sign of thuggery, but one of good, clean, liberal conscience. i may not agree with todd akin, but i must respect his right to protest a legal situation he finds unjust.

    it isn't clear that akin was the one spewing verbal abuse at the women. i don't like this type of behavior at all -- but isn't the right to protest part of our great first amendment?

    i don't like hypocrisy when it comes from the right (where it mostly resides). i don't like it anymore when it comes from the left. unless he actually assaulted someone, became violent during an arrest, or other such behavior that crosses the line, the man has a right to protest what he sees as unjust just as much as the liberal heroes at nuclear plants.

  • Anonymous on October 24, 2012 1:54 PM:

    shelli n: "i may not agree with todd akin, but i must respect his right to protest a legal situation he finds unjust."

    But Akin wasn't protesting in a legal manner. Had he been, he wouldn't have been arrested. He was

    #1 Illegally protesting inside a doctor's waiting room (undoubtedly trying to intimidate the clients) and refusing to leave.

    #2 Another indoor protest on private property since they had to carry him into an elevator.

    #3 Illegally blocking the entrance to a clinic to prevent the entrance of clients and presumably to intimidate them as verbal abuse was specifically mentioned.

    #4 The one he copped to: again illegally blocking an entrance.

    Protesting whatever is a grand American tradition covered under free speech, but there are rules about how you can do it. Akin evidently feels those rules don't apply to him because he feels strongly about "his" cause. I say it's only a short step from blocking entrances and spewing abuse to hunting down a doctor in church and shooting him dead.

  • Tom on October 24, 2012 3:28 PM:

    Does Aiken Really believe what he says, or does he just pretend to himself that he does because it feels so good to believe himself morally superior to all of the baby killers? Fred Clark gives good reasoning to believe it is the latter: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2012/10/24/no-5k-for-the-biggest-killer-so-does-anyone-really-believe-its-a-killer/