1. You’ve said that Congressman Akin’s remarks offended you. Can you explain, in your own words, what about them offended you? Was it just that he was wrong about how conception works, or do you see more problems in his statement? Please be specific; vague references to “empathy” don’t count.
2. Congressman Akin used the phrase “legitimate rape.” If you haven’t addressed that in question No. 1, can you do so now? Is it a phrase that you would use, or countenance, or one that you would object to? Also, Akin co-sponsored legislation changing a statutory reference to “rape” to “forcible rape.” Is that a bill you voted for, or would?
3. Do you support access to abortion for victims of rape? Have you ever voted on or introduced legislation, or signed a pledge, addressing that point? Would you require any qualifications—for example, would there need to be a criminal conviction first? Do you support access to abortion for anyone besides rape victims?
4. How about emergency contraception, also known as the morning-after pill? A University of California Study estimated that, in 1998, twenty-five thousand women became pregnant as the result of rape, and that twenty-two thousand of those could potentially have been prevented with emergency contraception. Would you classify this as abortion? Should all women, whatever their circumstances, have access to the morning-after pill? And should health insurance cover non-emergency contraception?
5. Congressman Akin is an educated man. Do you think this incident shows that there are shortcomings in sex education and scientific literacy in America? Would you support increased sex education? And could organizations like Planned Parenthood have a role to play there?
6. You and your colleagues have called on Akin to withdraw from the Senate race against Claire McCaskill. Why? Do you think that he is unfit to serve, or do you just think that he will lose?
7. Can you talk about what you’ve done in your political career to help victims of sexual violence? Have you listened to those women’s—and men’s, and children’s—stories?
Fairly excellent New Yorker piece.
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