Todd Akin: Ban Morning-After Pill "Totally For Everyone"

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Updated with statement from Planned Parenthood representatives. The media has gone nuts this week over Congressman Todd Akin's far-right positions, as he prepares to take on Senator Claire McCaskill in November. Buzzfeed says he supported a right-wing militia in the 1990's. The Hill notes that he voted against creating a national sex offender registry and against funding homeless children. It's only a matter of time before we learn that the congressman from Missouri's Second District also hates puppies.

But Akin doesn't seem especially interested in toning down his far-right image now that he's made it to the general election.

Yesterday he appeared on a Kansas City morning radio show, and when pressed he agreed that the morning-after pill should be banned "totally for everyone."

"I think that's a form of abortion and I don't support it," Akin, an ardent pro-lifer for many years, told KCMO's Greg Knapp.

Progress Missouri posted a clip of the interview here: Mitt Romney recently referred to emergency contraceptives, available over the counter in most states, as "abortive pills". Plenty of pro-life groups believe that these pills are akin (ahem) to abortion... But scientists interviewed for a rather exhaustive New York Times article last month disagree.

According to the NYTimes' investigation:

Studies have not established that emergency contraceptive pills prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb, leading scientists say. Rather, the pills delay ovulation, the release of eggs from ovaries that occurs before eggs are fertilized, and some pills also thicken cervical mucus so sperm have trouble swimming.

It's a fine line--or cervical lining--for those, like Akin, who believe life begins at conception.

Tom Barry and Sheila Kostas, representatives from Planned Parenthood St Louis Region, released a statement condemning Akin's assertion as "false and dangerous":

The fact is that emergency contraception prevents pregnancy. Abortion ends a pregnancy. Missouri women and families rely on all forms of contraception to prevent pregnancy and stay healthy. Planned Parenthood affiliates in Missouri provide over 20,000 emergency contraception kits each year. Emergency contraception is more effective the sooner it is taken and it is important that women are clear about where to get emergency contraception and how it works. Confusing emergency contraception and abortion is dangerous for women's health. The contrast between Representative Todd Akin and Senator Claire McCaskill could not be starker when it comes to women's health.

McCaskill's camp launched a relatively tame site yesterday, that attacks Akin for being a pretty stingy guy and not so much for being pro-guns, pro-life, or pro-big-money. McCaskill's boogeyman isn't quite as compelling as Buzzfeed's.

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