Sunday, August 19, 2012

Todd Akin and the Magical Pregnancy Shield


Sometimes the more subtle type of violence against women is the verbal kind coming from the Right-Wing Republican Tea Party Nutters. Take Todd Akin . . . please. He thinks that women can't get pregnant from "forcible" or what he calls "legitimate" rape because of "God's Protective Shield," which is something a couple of wingnut doctors made up. Insane. (More on that further down the page)

My Previous Post: Missouri's Todd Akins and "Legitimate" Rape
Updated Tweets and Comments on Snark Amendment

His Original Statement from Huff Post
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 maybe that didn't work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist.
And of course the Obligatory Non-Apology

Now Republicans are panicking and calling for Akin to pull out (no pun intended).
Todd Has Until Tuesday Aug. 21 to Drop Out of the Race

Meanwhile, Claire McCaskill has had a surprise money bomb dropped on her Senate campaign tonight. Congratulations! 

ACT Blue Donations for Claire McCaskill
Direct Donations for Claire McCaskill

Did you know that Congressman Akin is on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. Go figure that out!

What we know is that Akin worked with Paul Ryan in Congress to redefine rape as either "forcible" or not, so that girls wouldn't be lining up for abortions and claiming "statutory rape." I guess he believes that statutory rape can lead to pregnancy, but not "legitimate" or "forcible" rape.

From Huffington Post 
Ryan ... cosponsored the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" with Akin in 2011. The GOP tried to narrow the definition of rape as it related to abortions with the measure. Only in instances of "forcible rape," the bill specified, would a woman be eligible to have her abortion covered under insurance.

The Romney/Ryan Ticket came out with a statement tonight that is slightly to the left of Paul's previous views on abortion:
Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape," Andrea Saul, a Romney spokesperson, told The Huffington Post.
While Saul's statement is consistent with Romney's position on abortion, it's a clear departure from Ryan's position, which is that abortion should only be legal in cases where the life of the mother is at risk. Ryan sponsored a fetal personhood bill, which would effectively criminalize abortion and some forms of birth control without exceptions for rape victims.
“I’m as pro-life as a person gets,” he told the Weekly Standard in 2010. “You’re not going to have a truce.”

Mother Jones has an article detailing just where Todd Akins (and probably Paul Ryan) got this misinformation about rape and pregnancy. Turns out there are some whacked-out doctors on the right who are spreading misinformation and these anti-women wingnuts then use it to make policy.

My question: Why would grown-up supposedly educated men believe this nonsense? 

Todd Akin Wrong, but Not Alone
. . .  John C. Willke, an anti-abortion doctor, writes on the website Christian Life Resources about how pregnancies resulting from rape are "extremely rare" because of hormones and stuff:
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.
. . . In 1998, Fay Boozman, a Republican candidate for Senate in Arkansas, got in trouble for embracing this idea. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that Boozman said the inability to get pregnant from rape stemmed from "God's little protective shield"—a report Boozman denied before saying that it was in fact an "adrenaline rush" that prevented conception from rape.
The you-can't-get-pregnant-from-rape falsehood is apparently something that enough people believe that Planned Parenthood includes it on its pregnancy FAQ page.

I don't think even God's Protective Shield can help Todd Akin now. He's going down!


  1. Saul's statement is not consistant with Romney's position who supports a personhood constitutional amendment.:

    1. (Sorry - I deleted my original reply due to a typing error.)

      And Ryan tried to redefine rape along with Akins. Today Romney came out with a stronger statement, but it's too little too late. I wish a journalist would ask Paul Ryan about his past agreement with Akins, and whether he also believes that rape never leads to pregnancy. I can't really believe we are having this discussion in the 21st century.