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jca's avatar

What do you think about this Republican Senate nominee's statement: "Legitimately raped women don't get pregnant?"?

Asked by jca (27954 points ) August 19th, 2012

Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo) said this recently. What do you think about the statement? Are you amazed that a politician could say something so surprisingly ignorant? If you are Republican, how could you defend such a statement?

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57 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I was hoping no one would see that. What an insult
Can I turn in my balls to show how bad this hurt?

bkcunningham's avatar

@jca, can you post a link to the quote. His words are different in the interview I watched and in the articles I’ve read.

EDIT: I’m not posing a defense. Just asking for the quote.

Aethelflaed's avatar

At first, I could see nothing but red.

But now, I’m beginning to see the light: from now on, the world will be divided into two types of people – those who voted for, would vote for, or would spend any time defending Akin; and those who wouldn’t. It shall be a quick and easy way to avoid so many who would drive me insane within seconds.

elbanditoroso's avatar

He’s an idiot. (see earlier question about the right wing being less apt to be intelligent)

Aethelflaed's avatar

@bkcunningham “It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, uh, 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 of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”

You can watch it here.

chyna's avatar

“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 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.”
Ok, this is what is being touted as his quote. If this is true, I’m beyond words to describe his stupidity and embarrassed for his state that they voted that idiot into office.

filmfann's avatar

Article and link here

By the way, my niece (a former jelly) has proof that this is not absolutely true. A fine son, the result of her being raped.

Jeruba's avatar

“Are you amazed that a politician could say something so surprisingly ignorant?”

Uh…no. I don’t think there is any bottom to how ignorantly a politician can speak.

Aethelflaed's avatar

I wonder what the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology says about rape-related pregnancy.. Oh, hey, look: “The national rape-related pregnancy rate is 5.0% per rape among victims of reproductive age…Rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency. It is a cause of many unwanted pregnancies and is closely linked with family and domestic violence.” Republicans: always with the science on their side.

ragingloli's avatar

I am honestly surprised…
...that he did not advocate forcing the rape victim to marry her rapist.

bkcunningham's avatar

I don’t think it is a republican or democrat comment. It was provocative, not very well thought out and provides more fodder that feeds a mindset that seems set on name calling as opposed to discussing issues and problem solving. No, I’m not surprised. I didn’t vote for the man.

_Whitetigress's avatar

Again, Republicans for the most part believe in a belief system reality

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I’m sickened by this man. His thoughts are indefensible.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

I feel bad for those women who identify as conservative and/or Republican whenever they have to confront what conservative and republican men really think about them.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think he’s a complete fucking moron.

Mariah's avatar

Haha, I logged on this evening specifically hoping to see this question.

Everything about that sentence is fucked up, from the use of the phrase “legitimate rape” (implying that many rapes are, what, not rapey enough?) to his use of factually wrong information to promote a misogynistic agenda.

wilma's avatar

I used to hear this theory when I was young. I think that it was often commonly believed back then.
It scared me to think that a woman or girl who had been through the trauma of rape, and then a pregnancy resulting from that rape, might then not be believed that she was raped at all just because she was pregnant from the rape.
It sounds like a hold-over from that way of thinking. Sad that in 2012 that someone in his position could still be thinking like that and vocalizing it. I’d say he is done-for, and good riddance.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Aethelflaed, your link said 32,101 pregnancies result from rape every year and 5 percent of rape victims become pregnant. That would mean that there are more 642,000 rapes in the US annually of women between 12 and 45. That doesn’t jive with The US Department of Justice’s Crime Stats.

What am I missing?

ragingloli's avatar

@bkcunningham
32k among adult rape victims.
There may be a much lower pregnancy rate among minors, which would decrease the overall rate.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@ragingloli Actually, the pregnancy rate is higher in younger victims (presumably because they aren’t on long-term birth control like The Pill or IUDs at the same rate as adults). “Among 34 cases of rape-related pregnancy, the majority occurred among adolescents and resulted from assault by a known, often related perpetrator.”

bkcunningham's avatar

It doesn’t make sense. I must be misreading or misinterpreting something. What do you think, @Aethelflaed? I can’t figure it out. There aren’t 642,000 rapes a year in the US. Not even close.

wundayatta's avatar

Why would I be amazed at the ignorance of a politician? Particularly a Republican. They live in another world. I’m not at all surprised. I hope he doesn’t get elected.

thesparrow's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought Ya, I know. I don’t even know how women can be conservative. It’s the mentality of ‘they have it easy.. they don’t work.. let them stay home with children’ that was present during.. oh, say the Middle Ages.

JLeslie's avatar

Here are stats for pregnancies as a result of rape. They obviously would not include women who were treated with morning after pills which is a common treatment at ER’s after a rape. Unless your doctor or hospital doesn’t morally agree with morning after pills, which is a debate for another Q. Those who were tated with the drug we would not know if they would have gone on to become pregnant.

I can’t believe any doctor would say such thing. That a woman would not get pregnant. Women get pregnant while under tremendous stress, that is ridiculous. Fear and stress are not birth control.

Sickening.

Jeruba's avatar

@thesparrow, women were not typically child-rearing stay-at-homes in the Middle Ages. If I’m recalling my history correctly, that phenomenon came about only in the last couple of centuries, when the Industrial-Age idea of men as the breadwinners replaced the agrarian society’s expectation that peasant women would toil alongside the men. (It’s always been different for the privileged classes.) Children, too, became workers just as soon as they were physically strong enough to take on chores.

I’m not taking issue with your remark about a conservative attitude toward women, just with your characterization of the Middle Ages.

I hope that if my recollection of history is wrong, someone will set me straight.

jerv's avatar

In certain parts of the country, Sex Ed comes not from medical science, but from The Bible. Therefore, it’s possible that Rep. Akin honestly believes that, just as children believe in the Tooth Fairy.

And people wonder why I think many current Republicans have the brains of a six-year-old….

Aethelflaed's avatar

@Jeruba Nope, you remember history correctly. Though, the Middle Ages is notable in this discussion for believing that it was impossible for a woman to get pregnant from rape.

rooeytoo's avatar

Totally unbelievable that an adult could be so ignorant of the female reproductive system. Is he a college graduate?

But you know it reminds me of those who say abortion is only acceptable in cases of rape or incest, other than that, the innocent child must be protected against its mother if she does not want to carry the child. I guess it is not innocent or somehow invited the rape or incest?

Some people are just plain stupid.

tedd's avatar

Mostly I’m thinking he’s an idiot.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Amazed? No. It often takes the drilling down of anyone’s, not just a politician’s, beliefs in order to find misconceptions.

My hope is that someone will kindly educate him on the error of his understanding of this topic. In this case, it shouldn’t be that hard. The medical facts exist. I also hope that he publicly admits to his mistake on this statement.

In his defense, here is and article and video clip from the discussion. Source In the video, he implies that in a case of a woman with a tubal pregnancy, the choice should be made on what to do in order to save the woman’s life. In a case of rape, if the woman should become pregnant, then the fetus should not be aborted.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer did you mean to put a tilde somewhere in that last paragraph? I didn’t even notice in the article anything about tubal pregnancy, maybe I read it too fast. To actually name tubal pregnancy? Good God, seriously, I am so totally appalled. I always try to be understanding of people’s views on abortion, I respect that others believe life begins at conception, or just can’t fathom abortion. But, ectopic? Is he saying that some people are agaist terminating an ectopic pregnancy? Plus, there are many other conditions where the fetus cannot survive or the mother might be in grave danger. I am sure you know that, I am just ranting, venting, because I just can’t believe it.

@rooeytoo yeah, the rape or incest exception is odd to me too. But, I will take it to get something, anything, out of those opposed to abortion.

bkcunningham's avatar

@JLeslie, that is the same site the @Aethelflaed posted and the same numbers. It doesn’t add up. Would you please read through my questions regarding the numbers and help me understand how this is possible? I’d appreciate it.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@JLeslie No tilde was needed. The information was in the video clip, not the article. While I disagree with his stance on anti-abortion, it is his opinion to own, just like mine is (which yes, differs from his). As for the belief that women can often prevent pregnancy during a rape, well, that is ludicrous.

Obviously Todd Akin, and many other pro-lifers, need more medical education on the subject of reproduction and the risks before deciding to take a side on the abortion topic. All I’m trying to say is that unless we pro-choice people sincerely listen to what they have to say and rationally bust their myths, nothing is going to change in this battle.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer, I agree with you about listening and discussing. It is important that we listen to someone, even if you disagree, and that we try to understand where the person is coming from. In exchange it is important that they listen and try to understand where you are coming from, and you both present facts in calm and intelligent manners.

Otherwise, you are just talking to yourself and it turns into a stalemate and nothing ever gets done.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham I can’t explain it except that maybe your link describes rapes of an unknown assailant? Maybe it is not counting statutory, incest, date rape, etc? Total guess, I have no idea for sure. My link says 32,000 women get pregnant from rape also, and that is 5% of rapes. So that would be 640,000 rapes as you also calculated. Sorry I am not more help. Maybe @Aethelflaed can clear it up better.

As far as being willing to listen and discuss people’s points of view, I agree too. But, when someone mentions ectopic…to me that is such a given that the pregnancy should be terminated that it is the same as being completely 100% against abortion in all circumstances. Anyone who doesn’t give exception to ectopic pregnancy should not be allowed to hold any type of political office, I don’t care if I agree with everything he otherwise says. It is so outrageous there is no discussion for me. I realize he is saying he does give that exception (that is like saying the sun will come up in the morning). Any man who thinks he would sit by and wait for a pregnancy growing in his wife’s tube to hopefully not blow it open and kill her is disgusting. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to leave that “up to God” so to speak. That is not like rape or downs syndrome or even monitoring a woman who is high risk for some other reasons.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@bkcunningham The study you linked to was done directly by the DOJ in 2008. The study used by the 1996 study I linked to above was this 1992 study, done jointly by both government and independent agencies and with a name that doesn’t immediately sound like the government, which says that 683,000 adult women were forcibly raped that year. The 16 year difference between the studies might be at least part of the difference; direct government statistics on rape tend to be low because rape survivors are less willing to talk to the government. But either way, it doesn’t really have anything to do with the frequency with which rape results in pregnancy.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@bkcunningham Thank you for understanding my point. It is difficult for me to find a glimmer of truth in those that scream, “You are wrong!”. I am not afraid of putting pride aside and asking for clarification on another person’s viewpoint. I hope that they would react the same way and discuss it rationally. It is almost impossible to do so on the internet. Conducting these conversations in person is another matter.

@JLeslie Please accept my apology if I led you astray on the subject of ectopic pregnancies. It is not pertinent to this question. The intent was to show that Todd Adkin has a little knowledge on the subject of pregnancies. Now, it is just a matter of educating him, and others, on the repercussions of allowing a fetus to live only because it is deemed just by a government or religious agency.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer So, he did not mention ectopic? I am confused. You don’t need to apologize :). This is just part of communicating on the internet, sometimes things get miscommunicated and misunderstood.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@JLeslie Yes, he did mention ectopic pregnancies in the video clip.

JLeslie's avatar

I wasn’t able to watch it, it didn’t play for me. I tried a couple of times. I’ll try it again later.. That’s why I have been unaware of what was said. It wouldn’t load for me, my computer just keeps thinking and thinking and nothing happens, so I eventually stopped waiting.

Blackberry's avatar

“Hey guys, this seems legit. We should check out the studies on it.”
Said no rational human, ever.

sinscriven's avatar

There are two kinds of people on this planet:
Those who think he’s a bloody idiot, and those who shouldn’t be allowed to breed.

That or he’s not a human being and is secretly a duck, which can selectively reject unwanted impregnation.

FutureMemory's avatar

Makes you wonder what else some of these people believe (politicians, especially republicans), but simply haven’t shared with the general public. <shudder>

Aethelflaed's avatar

@FutureMemory There are often ways of finding out…

Aethelflaed's avatar

Akin has now released a statement saying “I made a mistake. I used the wrong words in the wrong way. What I said was ill-conceived and it was wrong and for that I apologize.” There’s a certain irony in using the phrase “ill-conceived” to describe words and not pregnancy from rape.

JLeslie's avatar

@Aethelflaed I hadn’t thought about the word choice. Kind of funny, on a not funny subject.

His statement means nothing, because his words are so similar to what people in his “group” say regarding the topic. He is basically on message for the super religious right Christian will believe any bullshit because they know nothing about their own body or medical science crowd. I think it was another Q KNOWITALL pointed out what he said is what people in her circles also say, and what I have seen on Christian websites. I think it is a minority of Christians who actually believe this BS, he is in a small crowd.

All politiicans make mistakes in word choice of course, they are in front of the camera constantly, and the media spins and twists their words. But this guy I have no empathy for. I have defended Romney in his statements when the liberals have gone after him, and defended Obama. I don’t pick sides when it comes to something I think is a flat out unfair media twist, but this Akin is a scary mess.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@JLeslie See, the thing is, I’m not so sure it’s that small a group of Christians that believe this. People are often rather shockingly uninformed about the reproductive system, and we haven’t helped that by giving them abstinence-only sex ed, where they often learn that condoms increase your chances of getting HIV. And while the idea that female humans actually can just totally shut any pregnancy down if raped is out there, it’s got a good amount of historical precedent to overcome, and it’s not outlandish to think that stress could make getting pregnant harder, even if the science proves the exact opposite.

jerv's avatar

@JLeslie Yes, sometimes people say something so unambiguously stupid that it cannot be defended.

@Aethelflaed Are Republicans wanting to regress back to the 14th century? Their support of serfdom implied that, and now their scientific “knowledge” adds more evidence.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@jerv You would think so, but abortion was actually much, much more accepted in the 14th century. There was the occasional Official Doctrine against it, but for the most part, it was an issue between a woman and her midwife.

JLeslie's avatar

@jerv It’s not so much that it is stupid, it is that it is something that a group of people actually believe as a scientific fact.

@Aethelflaed my dad and I argued about this yesterday. He thinks there are a whole bunch of Christians believing it. Basically all the Evangelicals. But, as I said somewhere, not sure if it is on this Q, my facebook is not lighting up with links and comments to support Akins. I have facebook “friends” who were right in line with Chickfila, who went on about getting rid of don’t ask don’t tell being a mistake, who are completely against gay marriage, and friends who are disgusted by comparing gay rights to black rights or call gay rights a civil rights issue in any way shape or form. But, not one peep defending Akins.

jerv's avatar

@Aethelflaed True, but people tend to cherry-pick things to suit their own agenda, so maybe they are conveniently overlooking that.

rooeytoo's avatar

All muslims are not terrorists who want to take out world trade centers.

All christians are not extremists who have rabid ideas.

Let’s not get into the lump them all together generalizations, they are unfair in all applications, you can’t pick and choose.

jerv's avatar

@rooeytoo Exactly! Thing is, if doing so suits your agenda….

thesparrow's avatar

@Jeruba You’re absolutely correct. I should have been more careful with my words. Even in the priveleged classes, woman didn’t exactly ‘care’ for their children; they would have nurses and maids to do that.

thesparrow's avatar

It scares me to think in our current world there are people—let alone those in the political realm—who say things like this.

jerv's avatar

@thesparrow And by cutting education, rulers keep people ignorant enough to believe them and allow them to remain in power.

Jeruba's avatar

Here’s a musical comment that I can relate to.

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