On Tuesday, Missouri GOP Rep. Todd Akin notched his party’s nomination for Senate to face Claire McCaskill in November. As ThinkProgress has documented, Akin — a Tea Party favorite poised to benefit from millions of dollars of outside money — has a long history of making inflammatory remarks. This time, Akin took to KCMO talk radio Wednesday to decry the morning-after pill, arguing that it should be banned “totally, for everyone”:
HOST: I wanted to get to the actual morning-after pill. So are you saying that you would like that to be banned for everyone, or do you have exceptions for rape and incest?
AKIN: As far as I’m concerned, the morning-after pill is a form of abortion, and I think we shouldn’t have abortion in this country. […] The life of the mother, the situation there is one where what you want to do is optimize life, you try to save the mother’s life, you try to save the child. […]
HOST: Just to be clear, though, you would like to ban the morning after pill totally for everyone?
AKIN: Yeah. I think that is a form of abortion and I don’t support it.
Progress Missouri has the audio.
Akin has a fundamental scientific misunderstanding of what the morning-after pill actually does. Essentially, the pill works by delaying ovulation rather than acting after fertilization. Studies show that the drug prevents pregnancy in women who take the pill before ovulation, while women who have already ovulated become pregnant at the same rate as if they had not taken the drug at all.
Despite the conclusive scientific evidence, many hard-liners like Akin have conflated the fertilization-blocking morning-after pill with fertilization-ending abortion. But if Akin believes that life begins when an egg is fertilized, the morning-after pill poses no friction to his worldview whatsoever.
Emergency contraception prevents pregnancy. Abortion ends pregnancy. It seems the distinction won’t slow Akin down.