By Sara Jerving on November 07, 2012

The people of Missouri and Indiana were, in effect, given a referendum on "legitimate rape" on election day, and they soundly rejected the concept by defeating U.S. Senate candidates Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock. The two legislators had stirred controversy over their verbal attempts to characterize the validity of a rape victim's experience in order to push forward their anti-abortion agendas.

The extremists lost badly, while a historic number of women swept into the U.S. Senate, turning the tide in the "war on women." The Obama campaign's heavy focus on women's issues for the past year appears to have paid off with CNN reporting an 18-point gender gap nationally this election, more than his 12-point gender gap in 2008.

Akin's Extreme Stance on Abortion Haunted His Campaign

Rep. Todd AkinIn mid-August, U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin kicked off a media firestorm when he stated that it is "really rare" for a woman to get pregnant from what he dubbed "legitimate rape." "The female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," he opined while attempting to make the case that no abortion exception was needed for rape and incest. Initially, the GOP scrambled away from him hoping to get him to drop out of the race. GOP strategist Karl Rove made a joke about killing Akin and Paul Ryan called the comments "outrageous" and countered Akin saying "rape is rape," failing to mention the fact that he co-sponsored a bill with Akin, which in its original form said that only victims of "forcible rape" would qualify for federally funded abortions.

Karl Roves's Crossroads GPS, a "dark money" group and his American Crossroads SuperPAC, pulled ads from the state after Akin's comments. But the state's GOP came to his aid spending $700,000 in an ad campaign in support of Akin. "Now or Never" SuperPAC poured $1 million into the Akin campaign the week before the election. The PAC is almost entirely funded by a Las Vegas based nonprofit with a similar name that does not disclose its donors.

In attempts to woo female voters after the fallout, Akin decided to feature a rape survivor who had an abortion in one of his ads. A "Women for Akin" bus tour featuring Phyllis Schlafly, president of the anti-abortion, anti-equality in marriage group Eagle Forum, rolled across the state in hopes of closing the gender gap. Apparently the women of Missouri were unimpressed.

Official unconfirmed election results have McCaskill defeating Akin 55 percent to 39 percent. Of the women who voted in this race, 57 percent voted for McCaskill, as opposed to 37 percent for Akin.

Mourdock: "God Intended" for Children Conceived by Rape

In the wake of Akin's comment came further controversial statements from the Tea Party-backed Richard Mourdock, the Indiana State Treasurer and Republican nominee for U.S. Senate. During a debate, Mourdock said he opposes abortions in response to pregnancies conceived in rape because "even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."

Following the remarks, Romney tried to distance himself from Mourdock by saying that his views don't align with the Senate nominee, but noted that he still supports him. Romney had cut an ad in support of Mourdock that began airing on the same day that Mourdock made the comment. This was one of the few ads Romney cut for Senate candidates. Obama's campaign effectively used the Romney ad as fodder for a radio ad campaign targeting women voters nationwide.

Shortly after Mourdock statement, Club for Growth, founded by Stephen Moore, a "scholar" at the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), came to the rescue with a $300,000 ad buy.

Mourdock's opponent, Joe Donnelly, is also anti-abortion, but supports abortion in cases of rape, incest and when the mother's life is threatened. Unconfirmed official election results have Donnelly defeating Mourdock 50 percent to 44 percent.

Of the women that voted in this race, 52 percent voted for Donnelly and 42 percent voted for Mourdock.

Collateral Damage, Mandel Lost Race in Ohio

Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel lost his race against U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown. Mandel was also against exceptions for rape and incest, and refused to comment or condemn Mourdock. The next day he dubbed Mourdock a "class act" for apologizing for his extreme remarks.

Unconfirmed official election results have Brown defeating Mandel 50 percent to 45 percent. An exit poll found that 56 percent of Ohio voters think abortion should be legal "all or most of the time."

Of the women that voted in this race, 56 percent voted for Brown, as opposed to 41 percent for Mandel.

Voters Sweep Women into Office

Not only were extremists roundly rejected this election cycle, but the tide was turned in the "war on women" with the decisive elections of at least 19 women to the U.S. Senate, the most ever in U.S. history. New Senators included Republican Deb Fischer (Neb.) and Democrats Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) who will join re-elected incumbent Sens. Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.)

Comments

Isn't funny how these "MEN" want to make or change laws about about womens body. TODD AKIN calling into question Legitimate rape. Is there any other kind of rape? MOURDOCK.... You want a woman to carry a child and give birth to a child from a MAN who raped her. Gods will? Do you really believe that God intended for a MAN to rape a woman? REALLY? Well not the God I know and love.

Just to make my feelings clear... Abortion is NOT a form of birth control. I don't believe that teens should be having sex. I think that PARENTS need to keep having those hard conversations with their SONS & DAUGHTERS about sex and make sure that they understand the importance of using some type of protection if they are going to have sex. Young women need to be more responsible about who they are sleeping with and taking the proper preventative care to help ensure that pregnancy doesn't happen.

That said... When there are sooooooooo many DEADBEAT DADS out there, it puts such a hardship on women to take care of the children they do have. Another mouth to feed can be devastating. We need the right to choose what happens to our bodies.

It's hard to believe that that old double standard is still out there in 2012. Men have random sex and it makes them macho and cool but when women do it, they are whores and sluts. Drives me crazy. These MEN want to go out and have unprotected sex and help create all these babies, but they deny them and don't support them and it all goes downhill from there. It then falls to women who can't afford it to the states to support all these children. Children grow up without the support and love of a father. Gods will? I think not.

Women of this country need to unite and defend our right to make decisions about our own bodies. But we have a bigger responsibility than that. We need to educate and council our young teen girls to make better choices for themselves. It's our duty as women to this. We need to help and protect each other because these MEN WILL NOT!

If their daughter was raped I'm sure they would want to look at that babys and see the rapist in that babys face. or have a child out there that had their blood and disclaiming the child-- some could do it but i can't. They do not want to help feed anyone and they can sure want to feed anymore new born poor people, the thing is that is the only good thing they could think and say about their selves. and then someone challenged them to the pro life and rape they had to take the lie even farther,....That THAT BIG FAT LIE WENT AWAY AND WE ALL NEW IT WAS A LIE EVERYSINCE REGAN...OR MAYBE HE HAS RAPED A WOMAN AND HIS BABY IS OUT THERE SOMEWHERE. IT SEEMS TO ME THAT HE WOULD HAD TO BEEN IN THE RAPEST SHOES TO FEAL THAT WAY. I WANT MY BABY!!!!

But what the hell is with all the man hate? Men and women will never truly be equal. You know why? Because we are different. It's that simple. We get pregnant and they don't. They have a little more freedom in that respect and it is our responsability to protect and take care of our bodies just as they should take care of theirs. Again I agree with your major points but jeez...I think you have some issues. Lumping all men into a category is as bad as these candidates and their outlandish views on rape.

A woman's body? Assuming it's consensual, didn't the woman already make the decision about her body?

An unborn baby--call it a fetus if you will--has its own beating heart, its own brain, its own nervous syste. Indeed, there can be no argument that it is a living being with its own human DNA, distinct and separate from the mother.

So the argument that killing an unborn baby is a personal decision that a woman makes that affects no one but herself is simply false. Or, if the one who opines is at all educated, a lie.

If you want to make the case that it's OK to terminate human life in order to help your home financial situation, fine. But don't try to convince me that the mother is the innocent victim and the unborn baby is an evil, nonhuman parasite.

Neither ethics nor science can support that argument. An inconvenient truth, perhaps?

I'll bet those reverend clergymen who testified before that Virginia legislative committee all expect their wives to come across when they want it. (Except for the priest, of course.) And I'd bet even money at least one is cheating.

If men got pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.

You are wrong about some of us men. Some of us will do the noble thing even if it is not convenient or hurts us financially, emotionally, physically, etc. because it is right. It's what REAL MEN do. I have met men who live by this principle at work, in my neighborhood, at church..everywhere. I was adopted, and I for one am happy my mother didn't kill me. I may or may not be a product of rape; but it really doesn't matter to me, my wife, my adopted parents, my children, my grandchildren, my employer, my friends, etc. I have lived for 52 years, designed healthcare facilities all over the country, paid taxes, raised children and grandchildren, donated my time and money, and would never consider cheating on my wife or doing anything that would tempt me to. You would never vote for me because I, like Susan B. Anthony and others who paid for your freedom, am an extremist that believes all life comes from God regardless of the man-perpetrated evil that may have initiated it. We're the ones that you will want to have around when YOU are in trouble. We will clothe and feed and love you even though you hate us. We are the people of God, sinners all, but forgiven and loved and adopted into the His family; and called to do great things in His name.

That's all very sweet, but none of it entitles you to force any woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term if she chooses not to.

Sorry, but you showed your misogyny up front by saying, "Didn't the woman already make the decision about her body?" That's just a slightly more delicate way to say, "You made your 'choice' when you spread your legs, slut."

So thank you for all your charity, but it will be enough for you and the Susan B. Anthony List and Governor Ultrasound just to stay out of the way.

Democratic state Sen. Maggie Hassan defeated anti-choice Republican Ovide Lamontagne for the governorship, and two Democratic women, Annie Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter, unseated Republican incumbents for the state's two US House seats. The state's two sitting US senators (one D, one R) are both women, so the state's top five offices will now all be held by women.

Additionally, the Democrats have recaptured the legislature's lower house from the reactionary Republicans who took over in the 2010 election.

The name ALEC did not go unmentioned in the campaign.