President Barack Obama called comments from Republican Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin about rape and abortion “offensive” and “way out there” on Monday, and said politicians should not be making healthcare decisions on behalf of women.
“The views expressed were offensive. Rape is rape and the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we are talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people and certainly doesn’t make sense to me,” Obama told reporters in the White House briefing room.
Akin, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, said in a television interview on Sunday that women have biological defenses to prevent pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape,” making legal abortion rights unnecessary.
The first Saudi woman to compete at the Olympics may have bowed out after only 80 seconds on the judo mat on Friday but she was hailed as a heroine by many web-users in her homeland and given an enthusiastic reception by the Olympic crowd.
Only a week ago, softly spoken and shy teenager Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shaherkani had been labelled a “whore” on Twitter by some in conservative Saudi Arabia, but that criticism has been since drowned out by an outpouring of support and applause.
Her appearance had been in doubt due to wrangling days over whether judo authorities would allow her to wear an Islamic headscarf while competing, but in the end she entered the arena wearing something akin to a swimming cap.
“I’m really happy to be at the Olympics and proud to represent the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and thank all those who stood with me,” she told Reuters, clutching her older brother’s hand as they negotiated a media scrum.
Shaherkani, one of two Saudi women chosen to compete at the Games, was defeated in the first round of the +78kg judo category by Melissa Mojica of Puerto Rico.
Parents, instructors and students watch drills performed by fellow members of various Ninjutsu schools at a park in Karaj, 45 km (28 miles) northwest of Tehran February 13, 2012.
Currently about 3000 to 3500 women train in Ninjutsu in independently run clubs throughout Iran working under the supervision of the Ministry of Sports’ Martial Arts Federation. Picture taken February 13, 2012. [REUTERS/Caren Firouz]
Under new rules set to be unveiled on Thursday, the Defense Department would continue to prohibit women from serving in infantry, armor and special operations units whose main function is to engage in front-line combat, defense officials said.
The new policy would open about 14,000 jobs to women by enabling them to take positions such as medics, intelligence officers, radio operators and military police at the battalion level, which had previously been considered too close to combat, officials said.
An instructor from the Tianjiao Special Guard/Security Consultant Ltd. Co, smashes a bottle over a female recruit’s head during a training session for China’s first female bodyguards in Beijing January 13, 2012. According to the company, the training session consists of 20 women, mostly college graduates, who will undergo 8-10 months of training to develop sufficient skills to become security guards. The company will then offer the best trainee a chance to attend the International Security Academy in Israel.
Photo: REUTERS/David Gray
This systematic degradation of Egyptian women dishonors the revolution, disgraces the state and its uniform and is not worthy of a great people …
Women are being beaten and humiliated in the same streets where they risked their lives for the revolution only a few short months ago.