Social Question

DigitalBlue's avatar

Who made the comment about the body shutting down during a rape before Akin?

Asked by DigitalBlue (7102points) August 20th, 2012

This story has blown up in the last few days, it is everywhere. However, I distinctly remember reading an almost identical statement (about pregnancy not happening during a rape because a woman’s body will shut down to protect itself), sometime in the last year from a different politician. That story did not blow up like this one, but I know this is not deja vu.

Does anyone remember this? Do you know who said it before?

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22 Answers

filmfann's avatar

Here is a good summary.
It includes Federal Judge James Leon Holmes (back in 1980), Clayton Williams, Rep Stephen Friend, State Rep. Henry Aldridge and others.
All Republicans.

Nullo's avatar

Todd, Todd, Todd, you lovable dunce. You’ve just served up Missouri on a silver platter.

It sounds like a factoid that someone would throw out at a party.
The quote itself isn’t terribly outrageous, when you get some distance on it; it would sound true enough to someone who hasn’t bothered much with biology or reproductive anatomy (like, say, a poli-sci major!). Politicians are mouthpieces by nature. I’m honestly surprised that you don’t hear more bone-headed stuff from them more often.

This one from Carolyn McCarthy is a crackup.

zenvelo's avatar

It was told to me when I was in ninth grade (1969) at a church Teen group discussion on abortion and about the need for us to be anti-choice. This was before Roe v.Wade when the California legislation was considering legalization.

Then they told us if the body didn’t reject a fetus it wasn’t really rape and the girl wanted it.

We were so backward.

Coloma's avatar

@zenvelo Really? Wow..I have never, ever, heard of this insanity!

fundevogel's avatar

I wonder if this idea was a poor etrapolatioin from the upsuck theory. I don’t think scientists believe it anymore but there was a time that some of them though the female orgasm helped draw the ejaculate up and get things rolling. I could see some one extrapolating from that discredited theory that raped women didn’t orgasm and thus they couldn’t get pregnant. It’s still ridiculous but its slightly better than pulling it straight out of their asses.

ETpro's avatar

It was very common “knowledge” among the ruling white males of the 1950s and before. Most rapes weren’t “legitimate” rapes. Most were the woman’s fault. It would have never happened if she hadn’t been “flaunting it” or out cavorting and drinking or dressed provocatively. Most rapes were, according to the good-old-boy club, all the woman’s fault. And in that kind of “rape” where she really wanted it, she could get pregnant. But “legitimate” rape couldn’t cause pregnancy. Thus pregnancy was proof conclusive she was a slut to begin with. It’s amazing how alive and well that knuckle-dragger thinking is among today’s Tea Party controlled GOP.

@Nullo Way off topic, but that’s a perfect example of the knuckle-draggers not being confined to a single party. Lord protect us from those barrel shrouds. Who knows how many people are killed by them each year? :-)

@johnpowell No f-ing wonder the Republican War on Science is succeeding so admirably. With brains like Akin’s in charge, I am sure we can soon have the US science curriculum challenging for #1 at the bottom of the third world.

gailcalled's avatar

Here is a short, clear and comprehensive piece in the NYT yesterday that mentions the other perpetrators (some of them MD’s) of this unspeakable theory.

Dr. John C. Wllkes (Gp and a former president of the National Right to Life Committee) wrote a book in 1985 that espoused this theory. He supported his beliefs in an interview on Monday of this week.

Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis (his words, not mine) for the American Family Group (conservative Christians) defended Akin.

Here’s Wilkes’ disgusting article;

MilkyWay's avatar

My Religious Studies teacher told us this “scientific fact” during one of our lessons last year.
Of course, I knew that it was bullshit, but I kept my thoughts to myself.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro‘s response is almost comical. He wants to paint the entire Republican party with this comment from an obscure Missouri senate candidate, even though it has been repudiated by every prominent Republican. Even more they have asked him to step down.

To get how ridiculous @ETpros comment really is we need to review a little history and see how Democrats respond to even worse, much worse treatment to women from their own ranks. When Anthony Wiener sent pictures of himself naked with a hard-on to women he didn’t know, the Democrats said, let the voters decide. When Ted Kennedy ran his car off a bridge killing Mary Jo Kopechne, then left her at the bottom of the river and went home to bed, Democrats elected him to the Senate for the rest of his life. When Clinton was accused of rape, Democrats trivialised the victim. Exactly what @ETpro is accusing the Republicans of want. Only the Democrats actually do it.

Akin made a stupid comment he has been chastised for it and even apologized. Democrats have done much worse and applauded the perpetrator. There is no moral equivalency.

fundevogel's avatar

@Jaxk This isn’t just a matter of a politician saying something stupid, it’s about the fact that it appeared he would be letting that sort of tommyrot inform his policy decisions. And lets face it, these days Mr Akins is just the most recent example of Republicans shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to women voters.

Here Shawna Prewitt, a lawyer, rape victim and mother of a child by rape, explains the legal implications of the claim that pregnancy cannot result in rape. Note the particularly hideous cases of rapists fighting for custody and visitation rights of their victims’ children. According to Akins none of those men could be rapists and thus would have just as much right to their children as any other father.

fundevogel's avatar

Make that “result from rape”. Duh. Although in this weird would I guess pregnancy might sometimes be a precursor to rape on occasion.

Jaxk's avatar


Let’s keep this in the relm of reality. He didn’t say rape couldn’t result in pregnancy, he said it was rare. Frankly according to the numbers I’ve seen, it is rare. Rare being a subjective term. Albeit not because there is any magical biological mechanism.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Jaxk Rare may be subjective, but it’s also relative. Research suggests that pregnancies from rape occur at either an equal or higher rate than pregnancies from consensual sex. If this is so, then there is no plausible interpretation of Akin’s comment in which he comes out as having anything even resembling a reasonable point. At best, he was fooled by propaganda literature that professes the lie he repeated.

And let us be clear about the hollowness of Akin’s “apology”: he did not admit to being factually mistaken, he did not apologize for his hideous view on the rights of women, nor for any other relevant offense. He “apologized” for saying “legitimate” instead of “forcible.” This is a meaningless apology, however, as his comments are neither less false nor less disgusting when this substitution is made.

DigitalBlue's avatar

….should we move this to social?

fundevogel's avatar

@Jaxk “He didn’t say rape couldn’t result in pregnancy, he said it was rare.”

I hear you, but you’re still talking about a scenario where rape becomes even easier to dismiss and rapists, because pregnancy casts doubt on their crimes, gain more power over the women they abuse. You don’t really have to be the guy defending the dude that thinks pregnant rape victims are probably exaggerating just how rapey their rape was.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk As usual, not even a nice try. The Republican Presidential Platform calls for a Personhood Amendment to the US Constitution. This would criminalize abortions in almost all circumstances including Rape. GOP VP candidate Paul Ryan co-sponsored a bill, HR 3, the first thing the GOP turned to after running on “Jobs. jobs, jobs” in 2010. If it had made it into law it would have criminalized virtually all abortions. It included a redefinition of rape, adding a new category called “Forcible Rape”—as opposed to all those good rapes—exactly what Rep Akin who co-sponsored HR-3 with Ryan “misspoke” about. Ryan’s plan would have essentially taken us back to the 1950s and back-alley coat-hanger abortions. In his time in Congress, Ryan has sponsored or co-sponsored or voted for 31 major Anti-choice bills that came down the pike.

The GOP’s person-hood Constitutional Amendment, now in the Party Platform AGAIN, is just as extreme as the one that far-right Louisiana rejected by 58% of the vote. Such an amendment would criminalize all abortions, even when the mother’s life was threatened by the pregnancy or she was raped. It would further outlaw the most popular forms of birth control, and virtually eliminate in-vitro fertilization to help infertile couples conceive. It’s so far right, it’s coming around to meet itself on the left. “Conservatives” now want a government so small it fits in every bedroom, every vagina, and even every egg cell in America. Now that’s small government for you—NOT!

And lest you try to weasel out by claiming that’s Ryan and not Romney, there is this.

The GOP needs to get this through their heads. What you do speaks louder than what you say.

Jaxk's avatar


Don’t misundestand, I’m not defending Akin. I just don’t see the connection between what he said and your interpretation that it diminishes the rape victim.

fundevogel's avatar

@Jaxk Him saying it is offensive (and more importantly super ignorant), but other than that it doesn’t do jack shit to victims. But using such ideas as a basis for legislation would be very bad for rape victims and that’s what I’m responding to. The idea of these sort of ideas shaping policy.

Jaxk's avatar


As usual you move so far to the extreme that little discussion is possible. According to Gallup’s latest poll 50% consider themselves Pro-Life while only 41% consider themselves Pro-Choice. Frankly, I think those numbers don’t really represent the population but rather indicate which way they lean. The pro-choice people are so afraid that even a tiny restriction on abortion will deal a deathblow to the abortion movement. Pro-Life groups are afraid that any abortion will lead to abortion on demand. Consequently there is no middle ground here.

My own opinion is that there is middle ground. I think most people acknowledge that the fetus is life. At the same time there are legitimate reasons for an abortion. And if given the choice, I think most people would come close to what the Supreme court originally ruled (unrestricted in the first trimester, some restrictions in the second and very stringent restrictions in the third). The extremes on both sides won’t let that into the discussion. It’s either complete and unfettered abortion or no abortion for any reason. We’ll never come to any resolution as long as the discussion gravitates to those extremes.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk I have to admire the far right’s ability to use language creatively to deliberately distort. There may be a few “Pro Abortion” people out there, but I am cure they are a tiny minority. Being pro abortion is about as normal as being pro open heart surgery or pro chemotherapy. Heart surgery and chemo are tragedies when they happen. There is a world of difference between believing they should be legal and “cheering” for them.

I’d like to see some honesty from your side. The GOP ran on a platform of “Jobs, jobs, jobs.” in 2010 but their focus once in office was on criminalizing virtually all abortions. That provides ample reason for those who care about women’s health issues to object to the GOP stance.

My personal position is that partial birth abortion should be illegal. I’d move the bar back to when the fetus becomes a baby, able to survive outside the womb, so long as an exception was included for preserving the life of the mother. When it comes down to preserving the life of someone with decades of life experience versus another life that hasn’t even started yet, I think the experienced life wins. I can see how others could take the opposite position. I’m certainly not an extremist regarding abortion. I think those on your side of the aisle that want to take us back to a pre-1950’s world of back-alley abortions with coat hangers, and young women dying so the men who impregnated them and made the laws to govern them could feel great about themselves—I think they are the extremists. And the fact that the very right-wing voters of Louisiana rejected the Personhood Amendment that’s part of the GOP platform suggests to me that lots of Americans agree.

filmfann's avatar

My link above has expired. Here is another with similar information.

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