Incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) is leading by 10 points over challenger Congressman Todd Akin, according to a Rasmussen poll released Thursday. This is the first time Senator McCaskill has led in the polls since May. She currently has 48 percent support to Akin's 38 percent.
The new poll shows the impact of explosive statements Congressman Akin made about rape this past Sunday. He claimed that "legitimate rape" does not usually lead to pregnancy. "First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare," Akin said to KTVI-TV. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume maybe that didn't work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child." [Emphasis added]
Since the interview, many Republicans, including Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), and four former Missouri Senators, have urged Akin to step down from the race. He has refused to do so.
Other Republicans have made similarly incendiary comments since Akin's statements last weekend. Congressman Steve King (R-IA) commented that he had never heard of a child being impregnated from statutory rape or incest.
This attitude towards rape is not a new trend. Earlier this year, Idaho state representative Chuck Winder doubted a woman would know whether or not she had been raped stating "I would hope that when a woman goes in to a physician with a rape issue, that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps, her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage or was it truly caused by a rape. I assume that’s part of the counseling that goes on."
Incumbent McCaskill has a demonstrated pro-choice record and has supported many women's issues, including voting to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.
The Rasmussen poll was conducted by phone interview of 500 "likely" Missouri voters conducted August 22nd with a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percentage points.
Media Resources: Rasmussen Reports 8/24/12; Huffington Post 8/24/12; Opposing Views 8/22/12; New York Times 8/21/12; TPM 8/21/12; Politico 8/19/12; Feminist Daily Newswire 8/20/12
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .