Akin: Rape Victims Don’t Get Pregnant

Akin: Rape Victims Don’t Get Pregnant August 20, 2012

Rep. Todd Akin, the up-and-coming member of The Family now running for the Senate from Missouri, told a local TV station that we don’t need to worry about abortion for rape victims because “legitimate” rape doesn’t result in pregnancy. Because unnamed doctors told him so.

Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri who is running against Sen. Claire McCaskill, justified his opposition to abortion rights even in case of rape with a claim that victims of “legitimate rape” have unnamed biological defenses that prevent pregnancy.

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

As Talking Points Memo points out, rape actually accounts for thousands of pregnancies every year. And here’s his absurd excuse: He “misspoke.”

Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) said late Sunday that he “misspoke” when he claimed that women who are victims of “legitimate rape” have biological defenses that fend off a pregnancy and therefore do not need legal abortion rights.

“In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year,” Akin said in a statement. He promised rape victims “will have no stronger advocate in the Senate to help ensure they have the justice they deserve” if he is elected.

Right. He “misspoke.” That’s why he referred to all those conversations he’s had with doctors about the issue, because he was “misspeaking.” But remember, he still thinks that the victims of rape should be forced, under penalty of law, to give birth to and raise the child of their rapist. Because they’ll have no stronger advocate than him.

"Well no, I'd expect they'd refrain from close combat if it's an option."

Jackson: Liberals Have No Morals, Will ..."
"Yeah something similar happened to a friend of mine back in the home village* years ..."

Nazi Posters Posted on Synagogue in ..."
"Yeah, it's the same with the right wing terrorists on the streets as with Trump.Are ..."

Nazi Posters Posted on Synagogue in ..."
"I totally agree with what you said, for the reasons that you said it.Addressed to ..."

Beto’s Unconstitutional Answer on Gay Marriage ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Reginald Selkirk

    The Romney campaign has already attempted to distance itself from Akin’s remarks, and stated that a Romney-Ryan ticket would not seek to ban abortion in cases of rape, but this brings Paul Ryan’s extreme anti-choice record into the spotlight. He co-sponsored a “personhood” bill.

  • tfkreference

    He promised rape victims “will have no stronger advocate in the Senate to help ensure they have the justice they deserve” if he is elected.

    Given his views, he must mean the victims will be punished for tempting the rapists.

  • d cwilson

    I’ll repost here what I wrote in Zingularity:

    I think we’re starting to see the serious damage the Fox echo chamber is having on the conservative brain. They’re so used to having whatever batshit crazy idea that pops into head being greeted with nods of approval that they’re genuinely surprised when sane people react with horror other their casual remarks.

    The damage is serious and widespread. Sununu was unable to handle Soledad O’Brien’s use of facts because he honestly thought you win debates by shouting and talking over the person, and when those fail, attack them with “argumentum ad labelum” as Ed calls it. That’s the way they do it on Fox, after all.

  • d cwilson

    A PA state lawmaker floated this idea back in the late eighties. He even claimed that the trauma caused women to secrete a “sperm killing hormone”.

    I shit you not.

  • flex

    “the justice they deserve”

    That is a phrase that always gives me the shivers.

    I’d much prefer “the justice they are due”.

    Of course, it could simply be an unfortunate choice, but to me the phrase, “the justice they deserve” suggests that he is already blaming the victim.

  • tubi

    A PA state lawmaker floated this idea back in the late eighties.

    Wasn’t Rick Santorum, by any chance?

  • “ensure they have the justice they deserve” which according to the good book, is either a wedding to the rapist, or a good stoning.

  • My steady exposure to rape culture and its tropes has been one of the big de-sheltering experiences of my life. People like Akin make me wonder how many rapists tell themselves their victims won’t get pregnant to help salve their conscience.

  • raven

    “First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

    1. This is a common fundie myth and lie. “Rape victims don’t get pregnant.”

    2. Those “doctors told him that” is likely a lie. But there are fundie xian doctors who will lie like that, so maybe he heard it from one of them. It’s still a lie.

    3. They say the same thing about incest. Girls forced to have sex with their fathers, brothers, and so on, don’t get pregnant.

    (This is also a lie).

    FWIW, child sexual abuse, much of it young girls being molested by their fathers, is very high in fundie xian cults. According to an FBI report, the second highest predictor for child sexual abuse is membership in “conservative religious groups”. (The first is drug and alcohol problems.)

  • tomh

    This is a guy who has input into the country’s science and technology strategies, since Akin currently serves on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. No doubt his degree, Master of Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, serves him well in that capacity.

  • d cwilson

    Wasn’t Rick Santorum, by any chance?

    No, Santorum was never a member of the state legislature. Though I’m sure he’d find the argument compelling.

  • raven

    ipt-forensics.com:

    The suppression of sexuality by Christians continues even though it is known that it causes sexual dysfunction among adults and actually contributes to the commission of child sexual abuse.

    Significant correlations have long been found to exist with regards to Christian fundamentalism and child sexual abuse (Gebhard et al, 1965; Justice and Justice, 1979; Frude, 1982). More recently,

    Holderread Heggen (1993) reports that, after alcohol/drug addiction, the second best predictor for child sexual abuse appears to be that the parents belong to a conservative Christian religious group with traditional role beliefs and rigid sexual attitudes.

    (A variable that seems often ignored by other studies).

    Documentation for the statement at the end of msg #9.

  • Just World Hypothesis. Since God is Good and rape is bad, women who get knocked up from rape weren’t actually raped.

    It’s really quite monstrous. Slactivist calls it The horrific immorality of moralism. My imaginary grandpappy would call it “A sure sign of someone who needs a good swift kick in the ass”.

  • raven

    A PA state lawmaker floated this idea back in the late eighties.

    It’s a common fundie myth that millions of them believe.

    Right up there with:

    1. Millions of US children are abducted every year by satanists and killed in their bloody rituals.

    2. Obama is a Kenyan born, Moslem terrorist.

    3. Space Reptiles.

    In the fundie xian thought free, data free environment, anything can be and sometimes is true.

    The candle flame gutters. Its little pool of light trembles. Darkness gathers. The demons begin to stir. [Carl Sagan).

    Fundies like Akin have long ago given up understanding or caring about the real world, content to exist in demon haunted darkness and make up lies.

  • ArtK

    @raven

    Fundies like Akin have long ago given up understanding or caring about the real world, content to exist in demon haunted darkness and make up lies.

    It sounds like Aiken and his fellow travelers are the demons in the darkness.

  • dean

    I’ve mentioned this at a couple other blogs. My 10th grade biology teacher told us this in 1972. It is apparently quite an old idea. From a news story this morning:

    The legal position that pregnancy disproved a claim of rape appears to have been instituted in the UK sometime in the 13th century. One of the earliest British legal texts, Fleta, has a clause in the first book of the second volume stating that:

    If, however, the woman should have conceived at the time alleged in the appeal, it abates, for without a woman’s consent she could not conceive.

    The story also mentioned a similar comment in Elements of Medical Jurisprudence, written by Samuel Farr, in 1814.

  • raven

    It sounds like Aiken and his fellow travelers are the demons in the darkness.

    Quite likely. I’ve never been able to tell fundie xianity from satanism. There isn’t any difference.

    1. Worship a Monster god check.

    2. Fundie xianity based on hate check

    3. Fundie xianity based on lies check

    4. Fundies practice human child sacrfice by torture murder and medical neglect check

    There is actually one key difference. Satanists more or less don’t exist while fundies definitely do exist.

  • Stevarious

    Oh, look, here’s ANOTHER thing Romney was for before he was against.

    Romney supports personhood bill:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/election-2012/post/dnc-highlights-romneys-support-of-personhood-bill/2011/11/03/gIQAjYyWkM_blog.html

    Ryan supports personhood bill:

    http://global.christianpost.com/news/personhood-usa-praises-paul-ryans-pro-life-record-following-doubts-over-romney-80118/

    Romney and Ryan would never ban abortions for rape victims! (Despite the fact that a personhood bill would do exactly that.)

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/19/romney-and-ryan-disagree-with-akin-rape-remark-says-campaign/

  • dean

    Also, notice that in his discussion of how he “misspoke” he didn’t walk back the assertion that rapes do not typically lead to pregnancy, he is saying he’s sorry if he didn’t sound sympathetic enough to the victims of rape.

  • zippythepinhead

    It’s amazing how being so pro-life makes someone so ignorant of biology.

  • baal

    Akin and his ilk point up why we need accurate and scientifically based sex-ed in every school (or at least the public ones).

  • “Legitimate rape”

    Unpacking that would require an essay, at the least.

  • ArtK

    Interesting that someone who wants to take what little control a woman has over her body away from her, will justify it by granting her a kind of control that is impossible.

    I wonder if this comes from the same place that the idea that women control the gender of babies comes from.

  • Michael Heath

    raven asserts:

    Holderread Heggen (1993) reports that, after alcohol/drug addiction, the second best predictor for child sexual abuse appears to be that the parents belong to a conservative Christian religious group with traditional role beliefs and rigid sexual attitudes.

    I was troubled enough by raven’s use of the term, “appears to be”, that I googled for the actual article he or she cited. It’s a book by Carolyn Holderread Heggen that I link to here [PDF]. Page 73 appears to be raven’s cite, the relevant section states:

    The first best predictor of abuse is alcohol or drug addiction in the father. But the second best predictor is conservative religiosity, accompanied by parental belief in traditional female-male roles. This means that if you want to know which children are most likely to be sexually abused by their father, the second most significant clue is whether or not the parents belong to a conservative religious group with traditional role beliefs and rigid sexual attitudes (Brown and Bohn, 1989; Finkelhor, 1986; Fortune, 1983; Goldstein, Kant, and Hartman, 1973; Van Leeuwen, 1990).

    So it doesn’t appear to be a finding of Dr. Heggen’s but instead we must look to her five cites. Also, she doesn’t use any weasel-words but reports this finding as fact, which has her making a far bolder assertion than raven reported. Heggen’s Facebook page has her noting she has a Ph.D and is a psychotherapist but doesn’t provide anymore background than that.

  • tami

    Idiots like this don’t deserve to be allowed to speak in polite society, let alone run for office. WTF is “legitimate” rape? Is it “legitimate” because it “really” happened as opposed to all those “false” rapes?

    Or does it mean that, in a “legitimate” rape women are so terrified they’re bodies don’t react at all, therefore can’t become pregnant? Let’s check with a legitimate medical professional before we go spouting off in all manner of stupidity.

    This man has absolutely no clue as to what goes on during a rape…at least not from the point of view of the victim.

    He’s also one of the stupid rethuglicans who wants to repeal the 17th amendment. The people, according to them, aren’t capable of electing senators directly.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/13/pete-hoekstra-17th-amendment_n_1772656.html

    What a stupid, ignorant, arrogant, ass…

  • raven

    raven asserts:

    Holderread Heggen (1993) reports that, after alcohol/drug addiction, the second best predictor for child sexual abuse appears to be that the parents belong to a conservative Christian religious group with traditional role beliefs and rigid sexual attitudes.

    I didn’t say that.

    This is a quote from a journal article that I referenced at the top of the quote.

    They reference 3 studies. Once again quoting:

    Significant correlations have long been found to exist with regards to Christian fundamentalism and child sexual abuse (Gebhard et al, 1965; Justice and Justice, 1979; Frude, 1982).

    Then they reference Heggen. Who summarizes 5 other studies.

    Did you have an actual point or did you just have some spare electrons and photons to use up?

  • paulburnett

    This toad is “husband to one, father to six, and grandfather to seven” – and knows as much about reproductive biology as any other member of the Rethuglican War On Women. This controversy can sink his election if it’s played right – let’s not let it be forgotten.

  • scienceavenger

    …we don’t need to worry about abortion for rape victims because “legitimate” rape doesn’t result in pregnancy

    Fine, then give us our little feel-good (from your POV) law and move on. It makes absolutely no sense to claim a law is superfluous while simultaneously fighting against it with your every breath…unless you know that first part is a lie.

  • Reginald Selkirk
  • jonmc6
  • slc1

    Laugh it up, the last poll in Missouri showed this fucken piece of filth to be 7 points up on the incumbent, Senator McCaskill.

  • tomh

    Laugh it up, the last poll in Missouri showed this fucken piece of filth to be 7 points up on the incumbent, Senator McCaskill.

    That was before his dumbass comments. I think he’ll be gone by tomorrow, which is bad news for Dems. My guess is the GOP will run Steelman, the woman who finished third (barely) in the primary, and she will beat McCaskill. This race could well decide control of the Senate.

  • beezlebubby

    aaaaand, as I’m sure you’ve all heard by now, studies show that women are more likely to ovulate during dire stress, and as a result get pregnant more often (I know I’m not phrasing that as precisely as I should, but time is short).

  • If the trend holds, by 2020 this will be considered the moderate “right” position.

  • bobaho

    Two things – This meme has been around a while: LA Times

    Guess which committee that Rep Akin serves on. If you chose Science, Space, and Technology, you won! Unfortunately all of us lost too.

  • Ichthyic

    Did you have an actual point or did you just have some spare electrons and photons to use up?

    I think he wanted to challenge your assertion, just to be an ass, then realized you weren’t stating the position strongly enough!

    ..but manages to hedge that by saying he personally knows nothing about the person who wrote the book.

    IOW, you’re right, it was nothing more than premature photonic ejaculation.

    of course, this post is post-photonic ejaculation.

  • inquisitiveraven

    d cwilson: I lived in that turd’s district when he made that comment. I was never so glad to see a legislator lose an election in my life.

  • Michael Heath

    raven,

    I did a search for that which you cited because it was an incredibly provocative assertion I hadn’t previously encountered coupled to a weasly “appears”. No reader should make a conclusion for a casual relationship which qualifies itself with the word ‘appears’. I still wanted to see how much validity there was in the assertion; it ‘appears’ to be ample. Ironically, my use of a weasel word is intended since I’m not well-versed in this discipline and my cite doesn’t come from a peer-reviewed publication. I have no idea if yours does or not either since you didn’t link to your cite.

    Reading comprehension failure on my end partly due to my not being able to distinguish what you wrote from what supposedly comes from the link @12 which starts your post, that being ipt-forensics.com. My confusion comes from the fact your link doesn’t not go to a page that contains what you quote below it. So I assumed, incorrectly, you were summarizing what information you found somewhere within the site ipt-forensics.com since the page you link to contains no such text. That doesn’t help readers on the ‘appears’ problem either since I was interested in understanding whether the article was peer-reviewed (is it?) and also googling it in Google Scholar to see how many times its been cited.

    But again, I found the assertion about who abuses children interesting enough to do my some googling of my own; so I appreciate your bringing this topic to light. I don’t think I’m much in error not being able to follow your post @ 12 since it doesn’t go to the content which you quote. I hope you appreciate the fact I found a far stronger assertion; though an assertion where the validity, like yours, still can’t be verified since this is a book and not peer-review. I don’t know the quality of character of the author and therefore can’t vouch for her interpreting her five supportive cites. So perhaps “appears” is more accurate.

  • dan4

    @14″…content to exist in demon haunted darkness…”

    Huh?

  • dan4

    I at first thought that raven was saying that Akin is “in the dark” and he “sees demons everywhere,”…but that doesn’t fit with the “content” part of the quote (yes, this should have been part of my @38 post. My apologies).

  • dingojack

    “In the fundie xian thought free, data free environment, anything can be and sometimes is true.

    The candle flame gutters. Its little pool of light trembles. Darkness gathers. The demons begin to stir‘. Carl Sagan.

    Fundies like Akin have long ago given up understanding or caring about the real world, content to exist in demon haunted darkness and make up lies”

    [slight edits mine]

    .

    Seems pretty self evident to me.

    I can’t know what Raven was thinking, but her post seems to me to mean that the small pool of light (knowledge, thought, science etc.) is not where fundie like to live. They prefer a world outside the light where anything may and can exist so as to avoid the cognitive dissonance when their ‘magical thinking’ is proven to be totally false by the light of day (science, thought, knowledge etc).

    They aren’t demons per se; they are merely fools who prefer to curse the darkness because it’s mentally safer for them to do so rather than face the real world.

    Or something like that.

    Dingo

  • dingojack “They aren’t demons per se; they are merely fools who prefer to curse the darkness because it’s mentally safer for them to do so rather than face the real world.”

    It’s banishing doubt by blowing out the candle.

  • dingojack

    MO – absolutely.

    It seems strange that rather than celebrating knowledge that helps us define (and control) the world around us, they fear it and wish to suppress it (even for others). I guess their authoritarian need for control is trumped by their visceral fear that their worldview might be proved to be in error.

    Dingo

  • http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/08/21/721791/akin-clarifies-legitimate-rape-comments-women-make-false-claims-about-being-raped/

    Basically, people interpreted what he said how he meant it, but he doesn’t think they should have been offended by the implication that most people who get pregnant from rape weren’t really raped.