Unless you are living under a rock or have been without contact with the real world, you have heard about Representative Todd Akin’s (R-MO) comments regarding rape that he made during a recent KTVI-TV television interview on August 19th. Specifically, when asked about his opinion regarding abortion after rape, he gave us the jaw-dropping comment:
Well you know, people always want to try to make that as one of those things, well how do you, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.
It doesn’t take a Republican or a Democrat to figure out what went “wrong” in that statement.
Attempting to qualify some rapes as legitimate and insinuating that some unknown biological process exists to prevent an unwanted pregnancy is nothing short of astounding. Any woman who has tried to get pregnant or has tried to prevent pregnancy knows that the female body takes little input from our brains and instead runs on its own hormone driven clock, over which we have zero mind control. Anyone who has ever learned the definition of rape realizes that there is no such thing as legitimate (or illegitmate) rape, but using that phrase is a fantastic way to insinuate some women are busy making up accusations against perfectly nice young men.
I could write for pages about why these comments are dangerous and uneducated, I could tackle the topic of how people could be so stupid as to believe the junk “science” behind those claims (I blame a lack of sex-education in today’s schools) or I could discuss the numerous political dramas that have popped up as a result. Instead I’ll share a statement from the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the nation’s leading group of physicians that provide OBGYN care around the country:
Recent remarks by a member of the US House of Representatives suggesting that “women who are victims of ‘legitimate rape’ rarely get pregnant” are medically inaccurate, offensive, and dangerous.
Each year in the US, 10,000–15,000 abortions occur among women whose pregnancies are a result of reported rape or incest. An unknown number of pregnancies resulting from rape are carried to term. There is absolutely no veracity to the claim that “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down.” A woman who is raped has no control over ovulation, fertilization, or implantation of a fertilized egg (ie, pregnancy). To suggest otherwise contradicts basic biological truths.
Any person forced to submit to sexual intercourse against his or her will is the victim of rape, a heinous crime. There are no varying degrees of rape. To suggest otherwise is inaccurate and insulting and minimizes the serious physical and psychological repercussions for all victims of rape.
Now there is a message worth repeating.
Daisy is a lawyer married to a lawyer (insert lawyer jokes here) living in a small condo in a big city with a new baby and beagle. She breaks up the legal-speak by blogging about life in Chicago, which is filled with escapades of urban living. In the summer she enjoys patio dining and in the winter wonders what she was thinking when she moved here. You can read more from Daisy on her blog, Just Daisy.