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Akin, Ryan discuss controversy; Kathleen Parker says the "gender gap exists for a reason

Christian Gooden / AP

The controversy over Rep. Todd Akin's "forcible rape" comments seem to be in no danger of abating this week...and, of course, that is for good reason.

Akin himself weighed in earlier this morning on the TODAY show, acknowledging that Rep. Paul Ryan has asked him to step down from the Missouri Senate Race, something Akin currently won't do.

"I told him that I was going to be looking at this very seriously, trying to weigh all the different points on this," Akin told Matt Lauer.

And the Huffington Post notes that Paul Ryan sought to clarify his position on the issue today, just as the GOP approved platform language for next week's RNC that as the New York Times' Jennifer Steinhauer notes "...calls for a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion with no explicit exceptions for cases of rape or incest" and Ryan's past connections to Akin are becoming more well known.

"The statements were outrageous...I don't know anybody who would agree with that," Ryan told Jon Delano, political editor for Pittsburgh CBS affiliate station KDKA. Yet when asked if abortions should be available to women who are raped, Ryan was somewhat less clear.

"I'm proud of my pro-life record, and I stand by my pro-life record in Congress. It's something I'm proud of, but Mitt Romney is at the top of the ticket and Mitt Romney will be president and he will set the policy of the Romney administration."

What are women saying on the issue, more importantly?

The Washington Post's Kathleen Parker weighed in today, saying "...Akin’s comments furthered the perception that Republicans are waging a war on women." And Maureen Dowd said Akin "ratcheted up the old chauvinist argument that gals who wear miniskirts and high-heels are 'asking' for rape; now women who don’t have the presence of mind to conjure up a tubal spasm, a drone hormone, a magic spermicidal secretion or mere willpower to block conception during rape are 'asking' for a baby."

But perhaps one of the most poignant things I've read on the Akin controversy came from Eve Ensler, a playwright and activist perhaps best known for "The Vagina Monologues." Ensler is a rape survivor, and she said Akin's discussion of "legitimate rape" is a form of "re-rape" to rape victims.

"You didn't make some glib throw away remark. You made a very specific ignorant statement clearly indicating you have no awareness of what it means to be raped. And not a casual statement, but one made with the intention of legislating the experience of women who have been raped. Perhaps more terrifying: it was a window into the psyche of the GOP."

Will this be an issue that follows the GOP into the elections? Will Paul Ryan and Romney be able to distance themselves from the controversy? You tell us.