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GOP congressman and Senate nominee Todd Akin: Rape is an effective form of birth control

Not a doctor, but plays one on TV.

Our completely incorrect biology lesson today comes not from Chateau Heartiste or The Spearhead or EvoPsychBullshitBeliever997 on Reddit but from an actual elected official with influence in the real world:  Republican Congressman Todd Akin of Missouri, currently his party’s nominee for Senate.

In a recent interview with KTVI-TV, the Fox affiliate in St. Louis, he explained that the ladies just don’t get pregnant from rape — well, “legitimate rape” anyway. As he put it:

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.

As The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake notes, this whole “rape as birth control” thing is not actually, you know, true:

Akin’s claim is one that pops up occasionally in social conservative circles. A federal judge nominated by President Bush in the early 2000s had said similar things, as have state lawmakers in North Carolina and Pennsylvania. …

According to a 1996 study, approximately 32,000 pregnancies result from rape annually in the United States, and about 5 percent of rape victims are impregnated.

Talking Points Memo notes that this isn’t the first time Akin has suggested that

some types of rape are more worthy of protections than others. As a state legislator, Akin voted in 1991 for an anti-marital-rape law, but only after questioning whether it might be misused “in a real messy divorce as a tool and a legal weapon to beat up on the husband,” according to … the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Akin: making up shit to deny rape victims their rights since 1991!

Currently, Akin has a big lead in the polls over his Democratic rival, sitting Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Here’s the relevant portion of Akin’s interview; you can find the whole thing at the Talking Points Memo link above.

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Ami Angelwings
9 years ago

This reminds me of an MRA comment I read, where the guy said that women are evolutionarily conditioned to be okay with rape, because in the past we’ve been raped so often when men sack villages, that for women, our brains just “restart” and we wake up in a new place with new men and our brains say “okay this is your new home and the new men in your life”.

He never explained how this applies to modern society tho. xD I guess he’s implying that when women get raped we fall in love with our rapist, which seems an odd thing to imply without evidence. >_>

All of these things also suggest that the people who say this KNOW at some level how common rape is, and how it happens a lot, that women (in their minds) MUST have some biological adaptation to it. It also helps that it justifies them not caring about rape. >_>

PosterformerlyknownasElizabeth

Bubye that big lead.

Bedelia Bloodyknuckle
9 years ago

I don’t want to live on this planet anymore…….. 🙁

MorkaisChosen
MorkaisChosen
9 years ago

Stockholm Syndrome is a thing therefore it’s a good thing?

[/horribleshittywrong’logic’]

Freitag
Freitag
9 years ago

Not the first time an elected official has given this erroneous information. Back up to 1988:

http://articles.philly.com/1988-03-23/news/26277205_1_freind-woman-secretes-luigi-mastroianni

timetravellingfool
9 years ago

Oh, but he did specify that ‘there ought to be some sort of punishment, and that punishment should be at the rapist.’ Wow, specifying you shouldn’t punish the rape victim for her rape- what a guy

Freitag
Freitag
9 years ago

Oh, my aching head. Why don’t politicians just say what they mean? (Purely rhetorical, I know exactly why they don’t/can’t.) “…the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child” is double-speak for “nonetheless I do not support abortion in cases of rape where no matter how traumatized the victim is, my only concern is for the foetus.” He’s anti-abortion. Just say what you mean, Congressperson.

GT_GiantTurtle
GT_GiantTurtle
9 years ago

not attacking the child

… and all the millions of children died a lonely death on the Kleenex. Now excuse me, but I have to go make the burial for this month’s bundle of tampons.

cloudiah
9 years ago

According to a 1996 study, approximately 32,000 pregnancies result from rape annually in the United States, and about 5 percent of rape victims are impregnated.

Countdown to someone on r/mr saying that this proves that at least 5% of rape accusation must be false, because science.

feministwiep
9 years ago

I am no longer shocked by anything Republicans say. Disgusted, yes. What always surprises me is that real ordinary people actually vote for them.

Moose
Moose
9 years ago

I just read this post right after reading this:

http://tinyurl.com/cg285q4

DOUBLE RAGE

hellkell
hellkell
9 years ago

Jesus H. Motherhumping Christ, I am SO TIRED of these old white conservative dudes telling me what matters in regards to my body.

They can’t get pregnant, they don’t get a vote. Easy. Unfuck them.

timetravellingfool
9 years ago

Freitag- Ah yeah, it was my mistake thinking he was considering the victim there. I really should have known better.

TreeUrchin
9 years ago

Aaaah, I see someone has confused humans and ducks. Easy mistake, that.

Effie
Effie
9 years ago

If you tout young earth creationism as truth, you have no business whatsoever trying to discuss complex things like reproductive organs and how they do and do not actually work. Do not pass go, do not collect $200,000 in bribes from the Koch brothers.

cloudiah
9 years ago

That Helen Mirren story is definitely DOUBLE RAGE inducing. She sounds like Owly.

Moose
Moose
9 years ago

cloudiah: It’s potentially even worse because she’s been a victim of date rape, meaning that there are some people that will read it and use the fact that one date rape victim doesn’t think it’s a big deal to justify all date rape. It also shows quite the lack of empathy on her part to assume that no one could possibly be more badly affected by date rape than she was/is.

bekabot
bekabot
9 years ago

There’s the weakness of these people’s argument: they believe, or pretend they believe, that the birth of any child, no matter to whom or under what circumstances, is a positive event. If rape never/almost never led to conception, they wouldn’t defend it, and yet they do defend it, since that’s what this line of blabber boils down to. So there you are: the only reason for these people to be okay with rape is that they’re convinced that it leads to childbirth often enough to be worth their while — otherwise they wouldn’t waste their energy excusing it. Since they do use up energy excusing it, one has to suppose that they expect, rightly or wrongly, that rape = babies, in at least a large enough proportion that enough babies are produced to be worth saving. If the babies aren’t there to save there’s no point in squandering airtime coming to their defense. (Little as I like Mr. Akin, I’m not inclined to accuse of being that stupid.) So: there’s the reason Mr. Akin can’t mean what he says: the fact that he says it means he can’t mean it.

Anybody who’s got a better explanation, please let me know, but please provide the basis of why you think I’m wrong.

(It’s worth noting at any rate that it’s darned rare that you’ll find the likes of Mr. Akin wrapped up in such a kindly mood when contemplating any of the generally acknowledged methods of cutting down on births.)

timetravellingfool
9 years ago

@ bekabot- Yeah, dude, a simpler explanation as to why they excuse rape is they are or know rapists. Longer answer- they think women are at their sexual service, they don’t always get consent, they are interested in controlling the sexuality of women, etc. One human being is never in the service of another, whether it is as a sexual object or as the incubator of a child. If you aren’t operating on that basic premise, you don’t view women as entirely human.

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
9 years ago

This kind of crap is why I’ve gone canvassing for Claire McCaskill here in Joplin and surrounding communities. You would not want to know the things the tea partiers say when they find out who I’m going door to door for. I want to do some phone banking, too, and I can only imagine the things I’ll hear on the phone.

Oh, and with the white supremacists burning down the Joplin mosque, and now Akin winning the Republican nomination for Senate, I am not feeling much Joplin pride right now.

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
9 years ago

Oh yeah, and if Akin really cared about babies and children, then why is he in favor of abolishing the minimum wage, getting rid of free/reduced school lunches, not extending Medicaid for more people under the ACA, and getting rid of the Dept. of Education?
He can’t even claim to be in favor of fetuses, because he is against prenatal care being covered by Medicaid.

bekabot
bekabot
9 years ago

Well, okay, but then there are easier ways to make the same point than to come to the rescue of infants you don’t think are going to exist. (Which is bound to be a complicated project no matter how you decide to handle it.) Then too, what I was saying was more along the lines of “this is why this has to be bullshit” than “here are Mr. Akin’s deep motivations”. But for the rest I’ll accept your observation while inserting only one aside: of course men of Mr. Akin’s type don’t view women as entirely human; they don’t view most other men as entirely human either, as their actions prove; they often don’t view themselves as entirely human, if it comes to that, except that in their own case they reframe that as a bonus (“I am transcendent and above all rules”, etc.).

Flora
Flora
9 years ago

He says “only” 5% of rapes result in pregnancy, but that strikes me as a remarkably high number. Assuming the statistics are for single rape events only, that means that 1 in 20 intercourse events ends in a pregnancy. Given the huge variability in fertility, cycle, health, etc, not to mention the rate of spontaneous miscarriage, I’d say that’s actually more evidence to the contrary – that rape IS likely to result in pregnancy.
After all, healthy couples attempting to become pregnant over the course of a year are around 80% success, and I’m pretty sure they have sex more than 16 times in 12 months when trying to conceive.

drst
drst
9 years ago

@bekabot conservatives like Akin do not defend “rape” which they say is a terrible thing, but what you have to look at is what they define as “real rape” which is another part of this same guy’s legacy, saying marital rape doesn’t count, etc. For a Republican, only a virgin Christian girl who is walking home from Bible study and is attacked by a stranger in the bushes, who fights back until she is incapacitated, is “really” raped.

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