Commentary: Todd Akin is not a friend of women

The Kansas City StarSeptember 28, 2012 


Mary Sanchez is a columnist with the Kansas City Star.

MBR — Kansas City Star/MCT

Tick tock, tick tock.

Is that Todd Akin’s biological clock?

One day out from the deadline to drop his name from the ballot, the U.S. Senate candidate continues to push the fantasy that he is a friend to female voters.

This is despite new (and old) evidence proving the contrary.

Last week “Women Standing with Todd Akin” were introduced. It’s a campaign pitch to reconfigure Akin in his bid against Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Recall, Akin ignored basic biology by asserting that women have a magical power to halt pregnancies conceived by rape.

Now Akin has trotted out Phyllis Schlafly. She’s a curious contradiction. The 88-year-old is a staunch opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment, claiming it would take away Christian chivalry that women need for protection. Yet she worked nights to put herself through college, eventually earning a law degree and a master’s degree.

In 2010, Schlafly crudely asserted that unmarried women supported President Barack Obama, “because when you kick your husband out, you’ve got to have big brother government to be your provider.”

Schlafly and Akin’s other female supporters deride the idea of a “war on women” within the GOP, claiming instead that pornography, abortion and sex trafficking are the real risks.

All are concerns, but this seems to suggest that “women’s issues” must be framed with some connection to sex acts.

Pressing concerns for women usually involve their children’s education, the safety of their communities and fairness in their workplaces and wages. On the latter, Akin represents one of the worst congressional districts in the nation.

The National Partnership for Women and Families released its findings last week, crunching U.S. Census data to determine gender gaps in pay by congressional district.

Akin’s Second District had the highest gap in Missouri. The median pay for women there is just 68 percent of men’s median pay, working out to $19,726 in lost wages per year.

Yet Akin opposes the Paycheck Fairness Act. He thinks it’s government overreach.

The act calls for employers to prove pay disparities are due to legitimate, job-related reasons. It would make it easier to file class-action suits against systemic pay discrimination and protect workers from retaliation if they discuss wages with colleagues.

Akin calls those protections unnecessary, claiming the marketplace gets rid of discrimination.

McCaskill fully supports the Fair Pay Act, and women.

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