Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) has struggled with a well-established woman problem in his Senate campaign, ever since he claimed women could not get pregnant from “legitimate rape.” After he said his opponent, incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), was not “ladylike,” her campaignreleased a video of Akin suggesting that businesses should be allowed to pay women less than men.
When a man asked him why he voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Akin said he didn’t support the idea that “government should be telling people what you pay and what you don’t pay.”
AUDIENCE MEMBER: You voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Why do you think it is okay for a woman to be paid less for doing the same work as a man?
AKIN: Well, first of all, the premise of your question is that I’m making that particular distinction. I believe in free enterprise. I don’t think the government should be telling people what you pay and what you don’t pay. I think it’s about freedom. If someone what’s to hire somebody and they agree on a salary, that’s fine, however it wants to work. So, the government sticking its nose into all kinds of things has gotten us into huge trouble.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first bill President Obama signed into law and eases the burden on women to prove paycheck discrimination. Akin, along with all but three House Republicans, voted against the bill. Republicans blocked another pay equity bill, the Paycheck Fairness Act, earlier this summer; it would create larger penalties for employers who pay women less than men and strengthen protections for women who sue for equal pay.