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‘Legitimate rape’ does not cause pregnancy, apparently


Meg Kissack
WVoN co-editor

That is what one Republican (obviously) thinks anyway. Todd Akin, a nominee senator for the state of Missouri, told KTVI-TV in an interview discussing his pro-life stance:

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that it [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it is a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down.”

Continuing to defend his pro-life stance, he added if the body doesn’t “shut down” – and the woman does get pregnant from rape – then the punishment should be “on the rapist and not …. the child”.

The female body “‘shuts that whole thing down”?

Try telling that to the 32,000 American women who become pregnant in the US as a result of rape. Akin’s colloquial language simply dismisses victims of rape and the trauma they face.

Surely, the ‘My GP told me’ approach to medicine should have ended a long time ago? For such a staunch anti-abortion advocate, he could at least pretend to know what he’s talking about and bother to learn the facts instead of spouting blatant lies to explain his stance.

Since the interview was aired, the hashtag LegitimateRape has begun trending worldwide and the video has gone viral. Akin later claimed he “misspoke” and that his off-the-cuff remarks did not “reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year”.

Of course. But his sympathies only extend to those women who were ‘legitimately raped’ right? Whatever that means.

Claire McCaskill, who is up against Akin in November’s general election, wrote on Twitter: “As a woman and former prosecutor who handled hundreds of rape cases, I’m stunned by Rep Akin’s comments about victims this am.” She condemned her rival as “ignorant about the emotional and physical trauma brought on by rape”.

Either way, it seems that this offhand comment could cause him to lose his seat to the Democrats in the next election. Hopefully so, as goodness knows the US does not need any more pro-life Republican senators backtracking abortion laws.

If you can bare it, you can watch the interview here.

  1. m elliott says:

    I watched the video and agree that in that section he does not seem to portray the deep empathy and sympathy for victims of rape!
    I’m sure that given the chance he would express that and regrets not doing it.

    However I can’t agree with the view that you don’t want pro-life people in power or that abortuon is okay if the result of rape.

    The argument still stands that If you were a child born of rape you shouldnt be terminated because of the rapists terrible actions. Does that mean at any point in a life of a child born of rapes the parents could change their mind and terminate their child? I use the word terminate here because actually it would murder wouldnt it. However we seem to think killing a child is okay if we cant see it (because its inside the mother)
    I despise men who rape and think their punishment should be very severe, but I 100% think that aborting a baby is actually wrong whatever the circumstances however horrible and upsetting and painful it is for the poor mother who has had to endure such a terrible ordeal.
    My children are beautiful and wonderful human beings who deserve so much happiness from life. I wonder about all those children born from rape who are living wonderful and happy lives and what they would think about this article.
    Written in love….

    • Where to begin…

      First of all, you are literally advocating that women who have been impregnated against their will be FORCED to undergo nine months of pregnancy (which is not exactly an easy ordeal for many), followed by the birth itself, which is not only extremely painful (I have heard it described as at least as painful as passing kidney stones) but potentially dangerous for the mother. After that, you are suggesting that mother be FORCED to care for a child that she never wanted to begin with (quite possibly on her own). So, a person who has just been physically and emotionally traumatized, is now told that she HAS to be responsible, both financially and emotionally for another human being. THAT is what you are advocating.
      As to the whole “murder” issue, you seem to be very confused. This is not a cuddly little baby that we just can’t see until it pops out. before week 12 of the pregnancy, the potential child is not even classified as a fetus, but rather as an embryo (at which stage it is almost INDISTINGUISHABLE from the embryos of other mammals, like as monkeys or even bats). Even as a fetus, there is no movement or brain activity until quite late in the pregnancy. over 98% of abortions occur before this point. Of the rare few that are aborted after this stage, the vast majority are due to potentially dangerous or fatal abnormalities and complications that only present very late in the pregnancy. I am sorry, but the rights of a non-sentient, unfeeling organism cannot and should not override the rights of any woman, ESPECIALLY in cases where they did not even choose to take this organism into their body.
      As to your comment about the children born from rape leading wonderful and happy lives…grow up. Face the facts. So called “pro-life” politicians are also predominantly (not exclusively, but usually the two viewpoints go hand in hand, at least in politics) in favour of slashing budgets to rape crisis centers, social support and healthcare for single mothers, and even oppose programs designed to help low-income children through school. So, people like you who are all in favour of FORCING women to give birth to children they don’t want (and do you really think that is the foundation for a loving and well-adjusted family relationship?) also ignore the fact that at the same time, the support systems that would help ensure the wonderful happy lives of those children are being systematically dismantled. How many children born into a family (or single parent) that doesn’t want them and can’t support them (emotionally OR financially) are going to have happy lives? From a statistical standpoint, they are more likely to end up dead or in jail. But that actually doesn’t matter. Because even if every child were ensured an amazing life, we have no right to force women to give birth if they do not wish to. That is simply the bottom line.

      • vicki wharton says:

        Can we clone you Graeme?!! I was raped twice before the age of 16 and I also had an abortion when I was in my twenties as the father was violent towards me and I suspected that our child would grow up in misery. I find it fascinating that pro lifers seem to be anti women having a life and say nothing about the number of fathers that abort their own babies by attacking the mothers whilst pregnant (1 in 3 acts of sexist violence start by men in pregnancy). I think m elliott needs medication for that level of denial, it is bordering on the totally dislocated from reality, a bit like Mr Akin and his pack of outrageous lies above. I misspoke my arse!

  2. These men are so obsessed with preventing abortion and blaming the victim but are so oppossed to birth control and Plan B. Dont get me wrong, I hate birth control; I cant even take it. Women have to carry the burden of pregnancies and prevention no matter what the potential causes. Birth control is no walk in the park for many women anyway, but we have ALL the responisbility and again men just slide right through. I know this sounds counterintuitive but we need to STOP focusing on women, and redirect our focus on men. Men need to be the focus of rape because its their fault. Instead of talking about what women should do with their bodies after being violated in one of the worst possible ways, we should be discussing how to better prevent rape in the first place by focusing on MEN.

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