Just How Wicked Are Pro-Abort Propagandists?

This wicked:

The headline of the piece dials back on the click-bait propaganda of the document title:

The story itself is important, with profound ethical implications, albeit implications that have been discussed and analyzed for years. When valuable research is produced as the result of grave evil, how are subsequent generations to make use of that research? In this case, the subject is anatomical research derived from the torture, murder, and dissection of Holocaust victims.

The article is interesting and generally well-written. Midway through, however, the writer veers into grotesque territory by trying to hang this albatross around the necks of modern conservatives and pro-life advocates:

[Dr. Hermann] Stieve drew two conclusions that continue to be cited (for the most part, uncritically). He figured out that the rhythm method doesn’t effectively prevent pregnancy. (He got the physiological details wrong but the conclusion right.) And he discovered that chronic stress—awaiting execution—affects the female reproductive system.

In August 2012, then–Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri said that women can prevent themselves from getting pregnant after a “legitimate rape.”

That’s right: the year-and-a-half-old story of idiot Todd Akin saying something stupid (whereupon he was promptly tossed under the bus by the GOP) becomes the “worst anti-abortion arguments” of “conservatives.”

Odd: before Akin, I’d never once heard this “argument,” despite being pro-life and covering pro-life issues for national newspapers for 6 years.

The gossamer thread connecting the statements of one former Republican pol to Nazi crimes against humanity becomes–magically!–the conservative position on abortion.

[As a minor aside, the writer also gets the so-called "rhythm method" and its efficacy wrong because, well ... everybody knows it doesn't work!]

When people support something so obviously, gravely evil as snuffing out an innocent human life, it warps their ability to reason clearly. The writer researched and wrote an important story, and then compromised it by wrapping the entire thing around a lie. The dead, treated as less then human, abused, experimented upon, killed by the Nazis, are resurrected only to be used again, this time to score cheap political points. Disgusting.

About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.

  • Dale

    I agree that that Akin, and Dr. Willke, seem to be only tangentially related to the main scope of the Slate article. So why the sensational sub-headline and the clickbait Facebook link?

    As for Todd Akin, he apparently got his views from Dr. Jack C. Willke. I am not sure how much influence Willke has in the pro-life movement, but remember online discussions, in the wake of the Akin controversy, in which some people defended Willke’s views. And at least a couple politicians, in the past, were influenced by Willke, although they were much criticized for it.


    But back to the main contention. I think Slate was searching to find any way in which to make an old controversy about Nazi medical science relevant to modern readers. The Akin connection to such research is a very thin thread.

  • Andrew G.

    Another article discussing the influence of the idea in the pro-life movement is here:


  • Heloise1

    Wendy Davis, the Anti-life senator from Texas is running for Governor. So today she told and entire crowd of people in the Rio Grande Valley that she is pro-life. Because, don’t ya know, abortion is scared ground.
    That is how evil they are.

  • Alypius

    I agree with the main contention here that Slate is shamefully using this as a club with which to beat the prolife movement.

    That said, I think this idea is/was more common on the prolife side of things than most of us wanted to admit immediately after the Akin kerfluffle. Dr. Willke may not be a household name among committed prolifers (in the same way that Norma McCorvey might be) but yes, he has been influential. Not only that, he’s not the only doctor to say such things – shortly after Akin’s comments, Dr Hilgers of the Pope Paul VI institute stepped forward to back up the idea as well.

    I honestly don’t know whether rape is less likely to result in pregnancy or not. I initially wanted to throw Akin under the bus like everyone else, but the fact that in the midst of the controversy Drs Willke & Hilgers both in essence “doubled down” on the idea – at great risk to their professional reputations – gave me pause. It seems like all the mainstream media did was find an approved source who could scoff at the idea and throw around their Harvard medical school credentials. And thus having established the Correct Opinion ™ they had their ready-made interrogation device with which they could scare prolifers into submission.

    The actual medical evidence one way or the other seems to me less certain. That article in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology definitely supports the idea that the pregnancy rate is the same. On the other hand, Hilgers has offered other, recent, evidence against that. Short of rounding up a bunch of women and raping them in a controlled laboratory setting (um… like the Slate article implies the Nazis did) we’re stuck with relying on indirect evidence and so its not terribly surprising that some evidence contradicts other evidence.

    In the end, though, the whole thing is a distraction. It ultimately doesn’t matter one bit whether conception in rape is common or infrequent. A child deserves life no matter who their father was or the circumstances surrounding the beginning of their existence.

  • Rebecca Fuentes

    I think it has been established that stress can cause the body to delay ovulation, and chronic stress and/or poor nutrition will cause irregular cycles. Like you said, it’s a moot point. The baby doesn’t deserve the death penalty because of it’s father.