Congressman Todd Akin (R-St. Louis), who serves on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, became infamous overnight on Sunday with these odd remarks on St. Louis’ Fox News channel:
Here’s the transcript by South Dakota Politics:
Charles Jaco: “If abortion can be considered in the case of a duct-tubal pregnancy or something like that, what about the case of rape, should it be legal or not?”
Todd Akin: “Well you know, people always wanta try and make that one of those things, well, how do ya, how do ya, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. It seems to me 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 may that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment but the punishment ought to be in the rapist and not attacking the child.”
And the world exploded. Republicans and Democrats nearly trampled each other for the doors, with even God-for-Life Elect Romney condemning the statement. Many Democrats snickered behind their hands or even openly with the prospect that they may be able to hold onto this important Senate seat.
Of course the non-apologies began immediately, with Akin claiming he used the wrong words, but his heart was pure.
But what did he really mean? What really was behind those words? What’s in Todd Akin’s heart? Beside the obvious problem of sorting out levels of rape, “legitimate” or “forcible” rape being “rape rape” (thanks Whoopie Goldberg) and other levels of rape, such as emotional abues, date rape, and marital rape being apparently of a lesser variety, what else could he have been thinking?
Let’s move on to the next bit. As he stumbles on with, “It seems to me first of all from what I understand from doctors that’s really rare…” Really, what doctors have said that? What studies have shown that. Well, it just so happens there was one article about that from 1999 by Dr. John C. Willke, MD. for his newsletter “Life Issues Connector.” This has been reprinted on another religious “life issues” site known as Christian Life Resources. This article takes great leaps of logic and massive assumptions. There is no science there. And it makes factual statements about biology that are simply wishful thinking for the religious right.
Here’s an example:
Finally, factor in what is certainly one of the most important reasons why a rape victim rarely gets pregnant, and that’s physical trauma. Every woman is aware that stress and emotional factors can alter her menstrual cycle. To get and stay pregnant a woman’s body must produce a very sophisticated mix of hormones. Hormone production is controlled by a part of the brain that is easily influenced by emotions. There’s no greater emotional trauma that can be experienced by a woman than an assault rape. This can radically upset her possibility of ovulation, fertilization, implantation and even nurturing of a pregnancy. So what further percentage reduction in pregnancy will this cause? No one knows, but this factor certainly cuts this last figure by at least 50 percent and probably more.
Does this make sense to anyone who can reason? No. It’s stupid, illiterate, and crazy. And it’s all based on their religious bias. Tomorrow I’ll deal with the next link in the chain.