Video: “Legitimate” rape? Update: Steelman blasts Akin

posted at 8:41 am on August 20, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Until yesterday, Todd Akin had a comfortable polling lead in Missouri over incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill in what had been the most vulnerable seat for Democrats this cycle.  Suddenly, one has to ask whether Akin has a, er, legitimate chance of beating McCaskill, or even a legitimate chance of avoiding a Torricelli maneuver:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdisTOKom5I&feature=player_embedded

In the clip, Charles Jaco, of St. Louis Fox affiliate KTVI’s “Jaco Report,” asks Akin whether he thinks abortions ought to permissible in a situation where a woman is raped. While explaining his position, Akin claimed that pregnancy only rarely results from “legitimate rape.”

“Well you know, people always want to make it as one of those things where how do you slice this particularly tough, sort of ethical question,” he replied. “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 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.”

Good grief.  First, pregnancy from rape isn’t all that uncommon, as Twitchy discovered with just a little research; it’s around 5%.  At least one researcher has found that conception rates for rape actually exceeds that of single instances of consensual sex. Second, what in Akin’s mind constitutes legitimate rape?  Was he trying to distinguish between forcible rape and statutory rape?  If so, that’s a pretty fine distinction, and one that’s really nonsensical even in the argument Akin was trying to make.  And if he wanted to suggest that some women would lie about being raped in order to secure an abortion, then he’s really setting up an argument that any woman who is pregnant couldn’t really have been raped … which as noted above is simply not the case.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan distanced themselves from Akin’s argument at light speed:

A spokeswoman for Mitt Romney wrote late Sunday that the presumptive GOP presidential nominee and his running mate, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, did not share Rep. Todd Akin’s sentiments on rape.

“Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg wrote.

Even Akin himself repudiated his earlier remarks:

“As a member of Congress, I believe that working to protect the most vulnerable in our society is one of my most important responsibilities, and that includes protecting both the unborn and victims of sexual assault.  In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year.  Those who perpetrate these crimes are the lowest of the low in our society and their victims will have no stronger advocate in the Senate to help ensure they have the justice they deserve.

“I recognize that abortion, and particularly in the case of rape, is a very emotionally charged issue.  But I believe deeply in the protection of all life and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action. I also recognize that there are those who, like my opponent, support abortion and I understand I may not have their support in this election.

“But I also believe that this election is about a wide-range of very important issues, starting with the economy and the type of country we will be leaving our children and grandchildren.  We’ve had 42 straight months of unacceptably high unemployment, trillion dollar deficits, and Democratic leaders in Washington who are focused on growing government, instead of jobs.  That is my primary focus in this campaign and while there are those who want to distract from that, knowing they cannot defend the Democrats’ failed economic record of the last four years, that will continue to be my focus in the months ahead.”

“Those who want to distract from that” got a big boost from Akin himself.

Can Republicans replace Akin, if they so choose?  Apparently they can — but the deadline is tomorrow.  Of course, deadlines didn’t matter when Robert Torricelli became a political pariah in New Jersey, but there are a couple of differences.  First, it involved actual corruption, not a case of foot-in-mouth disease, and second, Torricelli was a Democrat.  If Republicans want Akin off the ticket, they’d have to act quickly, which means it won’t happen at all.

That means that Missouri will probably see a lot of debate over “legitimate,” and Republicans had better hope that Akin can legitimately change the subject soon.

Update: Chuck Todd hints that there may be more time than we think if Akin withdraws:

Well, the whole thing’s getting pretty complicated now, isn’t it?

Update II: Sarah Steelman, one of two challengers against Akin in the primary and Sarah Palin’s endorsed choice, blasted Akin this morning on Twitter:

On the other hand, poll analyst Sean Trende reminds us that politicians who say stupid things often don’t pay as much of a price as we’d think:

I’m not sure that this is a comforting thought.

Update III: Even less comforting — Clayton Williams actually lost that election in 1990 to Ann Richards.


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A better argument than the first two respondents, but you’re willing to support killing babies so that we can keep the seat, eh? You say “Like it or not, most people support having abortion available to victims of rape or incest.” I didn’t realize that moral correctness was a popularity contest.

RationalIcthus on August 20, 2012 at 11:17 AM

The vomit inducing hypocrisy of sunshine “pro-lifers” is on full display.

SirGawain on August 20, 2012 at 11:20 AM

He’s this election’s Christine O’Donnell.

JetBoy on August 20, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Look, if he does an ad stating he is not an OBGYN witchdoctor I will personally drive to his home and b!tch slap him out of the race.

NotCoach on August 20, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Look at the conversation here. It is an ABSOLUTE freak show:

Well, who would want to adopt a rape baby?

It’s still a baby.

What about the genetics of it? The father is a rapist.

Genetics don’t matter.

Yes they do.

No they don’t.

Women should want to carry their rape babies to term. It’s the right thing to do.

IS THIS THE CONVERSATION WE’RE GOING TO HAVE FOR THE NEXT TWO MONTHS??!! IS THIS THE TOPIC WE WANT THE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES TO BE ON??!! RAPE BABIES??!! ARE YOU PEOPLE KIDDING ME??!!

The national Republican party needs to pull all funding from this guy NOW, and disassociate itself from him TODAY. If he won’t step down, he is on HIS OWN. Then, run a new candidate as an independent and give him/her all the support of the national party.

Rational Thought on August 20, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Uhhhh….I wouldn’t repeat that around too many women if I were you.

lynncgb on August 20, 2012 at 11:18 AM

So you’d take the advice of any woman on the street over a female OBGYN who went to medical school and likely had published research on the topic?

I guess you should hope to never have kids because apparently to you being pregnant is equivalent to having a slow killing virus inside you.

Bluray on August 20, 2012 at 11:21 AM

OT: Condi to become a member at Augusta. First female.

Gingotts on August 20, 2012 at 11:14 AM

Boo on Augusta for caving to the hordes.

annoyinglittletwerp on August 20, 2012 at 11:21 AM

Democrats are a lot better at getting rid of dead weight than Democrats. Republicans tend to stick in there until being handily defeated.

The SoCon wing once again screws us. These clowns just can’t help themselves. I’m just glad Santorum wasn’t nominated and we handed a second term to Obama because we were talking about birth control.

BradTank on August 20, 2012 at 11:21 AM

Personally, I’m proud of the vast majority of people responding on this thread about Akin. Nice to see people being consistent in their beliefs, and not, “hey! He’s a Republican! Give him a pass!”

I can appreciate if people in MO still want to vote for him. But Akin’s remark was beyond stupid.

asc85 on August 20, 2012 at 10:51 AM

That is NOT what I am saying, no some of the others with my position here.
I’ve already argued my point here & since it is being ignored, I rest my case.
I have concluded that there are just going to be people who are not interested in analyzing the context of some information & trying to be rational about it, even if it’s a sensitive issue. Maybe especially bcs it’s a sensitive issue.

Badger40 on August 20, 2012 at 11:22 AM

Gingotts on August 20, 2012 at 9:26 AM

Whether MO will support Brunner, who has NO elective office experience remains to be seen if he replaces Akin. I said before, that running for a U.S. Senate seat was a step too high. He should have started a little lower. Just my opinion, whether MO or OH. We had a car dealer that wanted his first jump into politices a U.S. Senate seat also; didn’t work out.

bluefox on August 20, 2012 at 11:23 AM

The only way to resolve this is for Akin to step down, and have Sarah Steelman step in. Only a woman candidate could undo the damage this idiot has done.

portlandon on August 20, 2012 at 11:23 AM

The SoCon wing once again screws us. These clowns just can’t help themselves. I’m just glad Santorum wasn’t nominated and we handed a second term to Obama because we were talking about birth control.

BradTank on August 20, 2012 at 11:21 AM

You are going to hand a 2nd term to Obama if you tell the Socons to take a hike.

Bluray on August 20, 2012 at 11:23 AM

Even less comforting — Clayton Williams actually lost that election in 1990 to Ann Richards.

Well, yes. Trende used twitterspeak: “Williams ~won 90 TX Gov. race.” The tilde (~) means “almost.”

It’s still a bad example. Williams didn’t just lose. He was up by at least 11 points, possibly 20, as late as August of that year. That kind of reversal is indeed a “game changer,” so I don’t know what Trende was smoking here. And that was deeply conservative Texas. In swing-state Missouri you can bet that Akin is toast. The only question is whether he realizes it and is willing to step down for the good of the party and the pro-life movement.

Caiwyn on August 20, 2012 at 11:24 AM

It is tragic, it is unfortunate, it is highly unfair. And it can leave emotional scars that last a lifetime. But none of that changes the fact that the baby in the womb is completely, 100% blameless and innocent.

Shump on August 20, 2012 at 11:14 AM

We agree on all of that. We just don’t agree on who gets to make the decision about what is best for the victim. The victim herself…or the government.

lynncgb on August 20, 2012 at 11:24 AM

There are more posteriors being shown around here than at a Gastroenterologist’s office.

Sheesh.

Trollapalooza!

kingsjester on August 20, 2012 at 11:25 AM

IS THIS THE CONVERSATION WE’RE GOING TO HAVE FOR THE NEXT TWO MONTHS??!! IS THIS THE TOPIC WE WANT THE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES TO BE ON??!! RAPE BABIES??!! ARE YOU PEOPLE KIDDING ME??!!

The national Republican party needs to pull all funding from this guy NOW, and disassociate itself from him TODAY. If he won’t step down, he is on HIS OWN. Then, run a new candidate as an independent and give him/her all the support of the national party.

Rational Thought on August 20, 2012 at 11:20 AM

I don’t think nationally it’s a topic worth discussing.
I do think locally it is.
But no one will touch these topics at all & anyone even trying to is branded a SoCon or stupid yadda yadda yadda.

Badger40 on August 20, 2012 at 11:26 AM

We agree on all of that. We just don’t agree on who gets to make the decision about what is best for the victim. The victim herself…or the government.

lynncgb on August 20, 2012 at 11:24 AM

Or some moral busybody.

lorien1973 on August 20, 2012 at 11:26 AM

You obviously couldn’t rebut the factual point, hence your personal attack. So you’re one of those “pro-life” hypocrites that only care about the unborn in certain cases.

SirGawain on August 20, 2012 at 11:10 AM

Pro-choice.
And seems you’re fine with twerp’s personal attack on rape victims who choose to end a resulting pregnancy.

verbaluce on August 20, 2012 at 11:26 AM

annoyinglittletwerp on August 20, 2012 at 11:00 AM

.
In some situations, PTSD perhaps, it may be better for the victim to not have to be reminded daily of the rape through an ongoing pregnancy. An ongoing emotional health issue for the victim can be just as threatening to their future well-being just as much as any physical health issue.

lynncgb on August 20, 2012 at 11:11 AM

.
That’s false-excuse making. Period.

listens2glenn on August 20, 2012 at 11:26 AM

That is NOT what I am saying, no some of the others with my position here.
I’ve already argued my point here & since it is being ignored, I rest my case.
I have concluded that there are just going to be people who are not interested in analyzing the context of some information & trying to be rational about it, even if it’s a sensitive issue. Maybe especially bcs it’s a sensitive issue.

Badger40 on August 20, 2012 at 11:22 AM

Badger, there appears to be a reflexive response on the part of many on the conservative side to defend abortion so that “we don’t lose.” Personally, I’m not on the side of killing babies to win elections.

Apparently there’s no one here who’s willing to take up the opposing side of that argument. They’d rather call us names & accuse us of throwing the election.

RationalIcthus on August 20, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Kudos to most everyone here for calling Akin out.

verbaluce on August 20, 2012 at 11:09 AM

I feel much better now not jumping on the lynch Akin bandwagon.

NotCoach on August 20, 2012 at 11:12 AM

Well, like I said…
Kudos to most.

verbaluce on August 20, 2012 at 11:27 AM

What really needs to be done here is to define a human life at the Constitutional level with an amendment.

Badger40 on August 20, 2012 at 11:28 AM

Rational Thought on August 20, 2012 at 11:20 AM

i come to the opposite conclusion. this is rediculous leftwing crap. dismiss it as such, and dont respond to it anymore. the guy was talking about a distrtinction between rape and someone perhaps claiming rape when it really wasnt. whats the big effing deal here. for gods sake. this is lefwingnut insanity that we are even talking about it as you said. and even screwier that we are even TALKING about pulling the dude for one word in a sentence. oh so rape is so damn sensitive if someone even makes an inferecne that people claim it when its not present then the dude is hitler? wtf?? F that. pretending it doesnt happen is what the left does. they live in a fanbtasy world. we live in reality. yeah, rape is a sensitive subject. the real “crime” here is very very infrequently some people claim that it happened when it didnt. this is crazy.

t8stlikchkn on August 20, 2012 at 11:28 AM

Forget this.. The media is somewhat moving on to the next Rep. scandal… Naked swimming Congressman in Israel last year… Gee, wouldn’t it be nice if we got to read about the numerous “scandals” perpetrated by the Dems?Too bad it ain’t gonna happen. Fasten your seat belts it’s gonna be a bumpy two and a half months…

sandee on August 20, 2012 at 11:28 AM

hawkdriver on August 20, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Just for the record, HD… are you claiming that there were never any operational miscarriages, based on faulty intel, or faulty leadership in the field? Are you claiming that the wrong doors never got kicked in? Are you claiming that soldiers never went over line in detaining/questioning Iraqi nationals?

Sorry, but nobody ever bats 1.000. And if a foreign army came to California, started kicking in doors, and kicked in my door by mistake… bet your arse I’d be pissed. And bet your arse I’d be looking to take some revenge. Especially if it was the door of the twenty year old me that got kicked in.

And for the record again, HD, are you claiming US soldiers never committed rape and murder in Iraq? Have we already forgotten Mahmudiyah?

It happened. The Pentagon has prosecuted people for crimes committed over there. That is a fact. That the Iraqis know about it, is a fact. I’m willing to climb out on a limb and say if it were happening here, we wouldn’t act a damned bit differently.

But you know what is not a fact? That women, raped in a war zone or not, are somehow unlikely to get pregnant… that is not in any way shape or form, a fact.

JohnGalt23 on August 20, 2012 at 11:28 AM

Well, like I said…
Kudos to most.

verbaluce on August 20, 2012 at 11:27 AM

Do you get off on making all of those other poster’s skin crawl?

NotCoach on August 20, 2012 at 11:28 AM

Too many of us have become Pavlov’s dogs when it comes to the medias dinner bell ringing. I find it rather pathetic how terrified so many on this board have become over the possibility of any Republican making a political mistake.

NotCoach on August 20, 2012 at 10:41 AM

As Hawkdriver mentioned, it’s probably moot at this point with Akin because the damage may already be done. I just wish there were more people aware so that next time the Pied Piper flutes we don’t start dancing.

eforhan on August 20, 2012 at 11:29 AM

A better argument than the first two respondents, but you’re willing to support killing babies so that we can keep the seat, eh? You say “Like it or not, most people support having abortion available to victims of rape or incest.” I didn’t realize that moral correctness was a popularity contest.

Your argument about voters keying in on the intricacies of the argument is better, and the only justification (if sufficient) to remove him from the race, but that’s an extremely sad commentary on American society, when we mean “Don’t kill babies” and “Don’t accuse men of rape if they didn’t rape you” when we say “intricacies.”

RationalIcthus on August 20, 2012 at 11:17 AM

Elections are by and large popularity contests though, which is why the fact that most support having abortion available in cases of rape and incest is relevant. If you’re going to take that position, fine, but be smart about how you defend it. Akin was not.

And regardless of whether or not he has legitimate points, he also said some incredibly stupid things that took away from them and he did so in an incredibly moronic fashion.

changer1701 on August 20, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Your argument about voters keying in on the intricacies of the argument is better, and the only justification (if sufficient) to remove him from the race, but that’s an extremely sad commentary on American society, when we mean “Don’t kill babies” and “Don’t accuse men of rape if they didn’t rape you” when we say “intricacies.”

RationalIcthus on August 20, 2012 at 11:17 AM

Romney has done the right thing both politically and in the interest of reducing abortions. Pro Life arguments are persuasive when they deal with the question of viability. Rape is not the context where pro lifers want to have the debate.

dedalus on August 20, 2012 at 11:29 AM

What really needs to be done here is to define a human life at the Constitutional level with an amendment.

Badger40 on August 20, 2012 at 11:28 AM

Seconded.

NotCoach on August 20, 2012 at 11:30 AM

lorien1973 on August 20, 2012 at 11:19 AM

Do you think the media will allow that? How do you overlook that Quayle, Bush, and Palin are the stupidest people walking but Obama and Biden just misspoke and are folksy? Trende’s point about Allen is probably more appropriate. Almost but no cigar.

Cindy Munford on August 20, 2012 at 11:30 AM

And seems you’re fine with twerp’s personal attack on rape victims who choose to end a resulting pregnancy.

verbaluce on August 20, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Her belief is not an attack.
She never attacked rape victims for that. She merely stated her belief.
That is not an attack.
I believe that, too. But am realistic enough to understand that abortion will be around in the rarest of cases, like rape & incest & health of the mother.

Badger40 on August 20, 2012 at 11:30 AM

What really needs to be done here is to define a human life at the Constitutional level with an amendment.

Badger40 on August 20, 2012 at 11:28 AM

So rights, apparently, do come from government.

Painful.

lorien1973 on August 20, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Haven’t read all the comments, so apologies if this is repetative…

The only reason this dolt won here in Missouri is beacuse Missouri has open-voting primaries, allowing democrats to vote en masse for this idot maroon – to prevent Steelman from winning. SHE would have ended McCaskills’ reign.

GGMac on August 20, 2012 at 11:31 AM

One-Stop shopping for the non-academic, non-criminal justice types:

http://www.angryharry.com/notefeminismforstudents.htm#rap

50% of all reported rapes are false. Give the man some credit for at least tossing something out there – food for thought, but now chum for bottom-feeders.

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on August 20, 2012 at 11:32 AM

Cindy Munford on August 20, 2012 at 11:30 AM

It’s not a national race. It’s a state race, in a pretty red state. You’re in FL. You know how much kinder our media is to R’s than, say, New York would be.

lorien1973 on August 20, 2012 at 11:32 AM

Pour Todd.

He went full Biden. As a Republican, you can never go full Biden or you’ll be destroyed.

LouisianaLightning on August 20, 2012 at 11:33 AM

Seconded.

NotCoach on August 20, 2012 at 11:30 AM

That’s the Ryan position that Romney just walked away from.

dedalus on August 20, 2012 at 11:34 AM

You are going to hand a 2nd term to Obama if you tell the Socons to take a hike.

I just want them to keep their mouth shut whenever the topic of
“rape abortion” comes up. I don’t know what it is about that trap, but they stupidly walk into it every time.

If you want to pontificate on moral matter like this, become a minister, but a US Senator is not the place people should look to for “answers” like this, especially when it comes to quackery.

Whenever I see candidates that makes abortion the central focus of their candidacy, I now run in the other direction because it’s just a matter of time before these weirdos do something stupid.

BradTank on August 20, 2012 at 11:34 AM

Elections are by and large popularity contests though, which is why the fact that most support having abortion available in cases of rape and incest is relevant. If you’re going to take that position, fine, but be smart about how you defend it. Akin was not.

And regardless of whether or not he has legitimate points, he also said some incredibly stupid things that took away from them and he did so in an incredibly moronic fashion.

changer1701 on August 20, 2012 at 11:29 AM

I don’t know what Akin has said prior to this comment, but this feels like he conjoined two ideas inartfully. If there is a practice of stumbling, then Akin should go.

The election results are relevant, and agree that we have to be smart in how we defend the pro-life position. What I’m NOT OK with is tearing Akin apart because he took a stand on a life-and-death issue. I’m sick of so-called “conservatives” allowing babies to be murdered, and that’s what I’m seeing a lot of here this morning.

RationalIcthus on August 20, 2012 at 11:35 AM

I tried to use his contact form on his web site and got this in reply:

Hi. This is the qmail-send program at http://www.akin.org.
I’m afraid I wasn’t able to deliver your message to the following addresses.
This is a permanent error; I’ve given up. Sorry it didn’t work out.

:
This address no longer accepts mail.

Going out of business, we can hope?

beatcanvas on August 20, 2012 at 11:35 AM

yeah what akin said was pretty bad and- wait what’s this??

rape is like bad weather: if it’s inevitable, just relax and enjoy it

i’ve never even heard of that quote. (well, 1990 was the year before i was born!!) that quote makes akin look like a genius in comparison >_____< wow, who says that? who is really that dumb? even biden isn't that dumb. what the heck is going through someone's mind when they're saying something like that? that happened 22 years ago but it still makes me lose faith in humanity, haha…

Sachiko on August 20, 2012 at 11:35 AM

So rights, apparently, do come from government.

Painful.

lorien1973 on August 20, 2012 at 11:31 AM

You have it backwards. For too long now too many lives have been infringed upon by the government and this government sanctioned destruction of liberty must stop. Proper amendment language would state “The right to life of the unborn shall not be infringed”, which would mean that the right always existed, we just didn’t properly respect it.

NotCoach on August 20, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Do you think the media will allow that? How do you overlook that Quayle, Bush, and Palin are the stupidest people walking but Obama and Biden just misspoke and are folksy? Trende’s point about Allen is probably more appropriate. Almost but no cigar.

Cindy Munford on August 20, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Trende also claimed that Macaca was just as bad as the N* Word which is absolute horse****.

Buy Danish on August 20, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Look, if he does an ad stating he is not an OBGYN witchdoctor I will personally drive to his home and b!tch slap him out of the race.

NotCoach on August 20, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Hahahahahahahaha…

Now that’s funny.

ButterflyDragon on August 20, 2012 at 11:37 AM

That’s the Ryan position that Romney just walked away from.

dedalus on August 20, 2012 at 11:34 AM

President’s are barred from the amendment process.

NotCoach on August 20, 2012 at 11:37 AM

“Legitimate” rape?

…if I could…I’d puke in azzhole Akin’s face! How can such a stupid term come from your brain and make it out of your mouth…even if you smoked three pounds of weed without stopping!
He’s a “Legitimate” idiot!

KOOLAID2 on August 20, 2012 at 11:37 AM

BradTank on August 20, 2012 at 11:34 AM

Ain’t happenin’.

kingsjester on August 20, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Significant members of the GOP coalition have been making the same ‘argument’ Akin expressed for years:

Pennsylvania state Rep. Stephen Freind (R) was an ardent abortion opponent. He authored legislation that included one of the the nation’s first abortion waiting periods, and the case went all the way to the Supreme Court.

He also looks to be the first legislator to make the argument that rape prevents pregnancy, arguing in the late 1980s that the odds of a pregnancy resulting from rape were “one in millions and millions and millions.”

His explanation? The trauma of rape causes women to “secrete a certain secretion which has the tendency to kill sperm.” Reproductive health experts immediately denounced those remarks. One told the Philadelphia Inquirer, ”Boy, if I could find out what that [secretion] was, I’d use it as a contraceptive.”

The argument was dormant for about a decade, until the late 1990s. That’s when a North Carolina legislator, whom Garance Franke-Ruta points to, extended the argument to question whether there should actually be a rape exception from abortion restrictions, given that ”The facts show that people who are raped – truly raped – the juices don’t flow.”

Arkansas politician Fay Boozman followed up during during his 1998 Senate campaign by arguing that “fear-induced hormonal changes could block a rape victim’s ability to conceive.” Those remarks lead to a backlash when then-Gov. Mike Huckabee tapped Boozman to run the state’s health department.

The argument was most recently – and perhaps most fully – articulated by National Right to Life president John Wilke in a 1999 essay titled “Rape Pregnancies Are Rare.” Wilke made a pretty similar case to Akin: That the “physical trauma” of rape has a way of preventing pregnancy.

“To get and stay pregnant a woman’s body must produce a very sophisticated mix of hormones,” Wilke wrote. “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.”

The scientific evidence for this proposition is, unsurprisingly, shaky. Freind later backed off his theory about secretions, switching to an argument that rape would instead “delay, disrupt or prohibit ovulation by preventing the release of hormone-triggering factors.”

Wilke, the former Right to Life president, does not cite any evidence in his essay; “no one knows,” he says of the impact. That does not stop him from estimating that the physical trauma of rape “certainly cuts this last figure by at least 50 percent and probably more.”

Why do these arguments come up again and again, even if the scientific evidence – and public opinion – is clearly not in their favor? Usually, they come from legislators looking to push abortion regulations that tighten the constitutionally-required exceptions for cases of rape and incest.

That’s what Friend was looking for back in 1988. And that’s what Akin has pushed for in the House of Representatives. He was among the 227 co-sponsors of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, introduced earlier this year by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.)

That legislation, as initially written, who have prohibited federal funding for abortion except in cases of incest or “forcible rape.” That last term quickly-turned heads: It had the potential to significantly curtail Medicaid’s ability to pay for an abortion for certain rape victims. Those who faced a statutory rape, where one party was too young to consent, could be left out.

And you wonder where the ‘War on women” meme comes from…..

lostmotherland on August 20, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Do you get off on making all of those other poster’s skin crawl?

NotCoach on August 20, 2012 at 11:28 AM

No.
I agree with them, and not with you.
Sometimes that happens.

verbaluce on August 20, 2012 at 11:38 AM

lorien1973 on August 20, 2012 at 11:32 AM

As someone who can misspeak on a daily basis I have a lot of compassion for this gentleman and obviously it is up to the people of the state but did you see this?

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0812/79865.html

How does this merit an FBI investigation and national press? In my opinion it’s time to go after the media.

Cindy Munford on August 20, 2012 at 11:39 AM

Pour Todd.

He went full Biden. As a Republican, you can never go full Biden or you’ll be destroyed.

LouisianaLightning on August 20, 2012 at 11:33 AM

Ask Sean Penn, 2001. Remember? Went full Biden, went home empty handed.

Ask Clayton Williams 1990…

Gingotts on August 20, 2012 at 11:40 AM

verbaluce on August 20, 2012 at 11:38 AM

I’d like to buy you for what you’re worth, and sell you for what you think you’re worth.

kingsjester on August 20, 2012 at 11:40 AM

I guess you should hope to never have kids because apparently to you being pregnant is equivalent to having a slow killing virus inside you.

Bluray on August 20, 2012 at 11:21 AM

Sigh….I think you digress.

Let’s just agree to disagree…shall we?
I do have work to get done today.

lynncgb on August 20, 2012 at 11:40 AM

How does this merit an FBI investigation and national press? In my opinion it’s time to go after the media.

Cindy Munford on August 20, 2012 at 11:39 AM

The story is about a Republican, that’s how…

sandee on August 20, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Buy Danish on August 20, 2012 at 11:36 AM

You and I might agree that it’s b.s. but that’s not how it turned out is it? I know it sounds like whining but the double standard is probably the best reason to stand by this poor man.

Cindy Munford on August 20, 2012 at 11:41 AM

sandee on August 20, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Exactly!

Cindy Munford on August 20, 2012 at 11:41 AM

We agree on all of that. We just don’t agree on who gets to make the decision about what is best for the victim. The victim herself…or the government.

lynncgb on August 20, 2012 at 11:24 AM

False framing of the issue. The government is protecting the rights of the unborn. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Constitution protecting life, liberty, and property. I think it’s called the 5th Amendment.

SirGawain on August 20, 2012 at 11:41 AM

If Republicans want Akin off the ticket, they’d have to act quickly, which means it won’t happen at all.

You got that right.

rrpjr on August 20, 2012 at 11:41 AM

OT: Condi to become a member at Augusta. First female.

Gingotts on August 20, 2012 at 11:14 AM

Boo on Augusta for caving to the hordes.

annoyinglittletwerp on August 20, 2012 at 11:21 AM

Yeah, that was my first reaction as well…

Gingotts on August 20, 2012 at 11:42 AM

lostmotherland on August 20, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Wow.
It’s certainly doesn’t help matters to see that he didn’t just pull this one out of his a$$.
Wish I was surprised.

verbaluce on August 20, 2012 at 11:42 AM

How does this merit an FBI investigation and national press? In my opinion it’s time to go after the media.

Cindy Munford on August 20, 2012 at 11:39 AM

Remember in 2009 when Obama threatened to audit his political opponents in a “joke” somewhere? No? Cuz he wasn’t joking. That’s how this merits an FBI investigation.

lorien1973 on August 20, 2012 at 11:42 AM

Romney has done the right thing both politically and in the interest of reducing abortions. Pro Life arguments are persuasive when they deal with the question of viability. Rape is not the context where pro lifers want to have the debate.

dedalus on August 20, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Wanna bet? I’m happy to speak on behalf of the unborn under any circumstance where the mother is trying to kill it.

Arguing that somehow the victimhood of the mother qualifies sentencing a baby to death is depraved and indifferent. I dare ANYONE to argue otherwise.

I see the point you’re trying to make; that an incremental reduction in abortions is good, and I agree that any incremental lowering of the number of abortions is good. I just don’t think it’s the right approach to pass a Constitutional amendment prohibiting abortion except in the case of rape & incest. The minute we do that, we give moral credence to the idea that abortion due to rape is different than any other kind of abortion, and it plainly is not.

RationalIcthus on August 20, 2012 at 11:42 AM

Perhaps it’s time for us to throw open our windows and shout”I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

sandee on August 20, 2012 at 11:43 AM

RationalIcthus on August 20, 2012 at 11:42 AM

Bravo.

annoyinglittletwerp on August 20, 2012 at 11:43 AM

sandee on August 20, 2012 at 11:43 AM

Why do you think I write? :)

kingsjester on August 20, 2012 at 11:44 AM

And you wonder where the ‘War on women” meme comes from…..

lostmotherland on August 20, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Facepalm.

Two politicians does not mean the others don’t get it.

I don’t know why I try to argue with people of your perspective put here it goes…

If the GOP drops Abortion of Gay Marriage from the platform, WE ARE STUCK WITH OBAMACARE. WE ARE STUCK WITH FISCAL OBLIVION.

I will always be a Republican as long as they are the lesser of two imperfects, but I can’t say that about many socons if they are faced with a reality of both parties saying they have no room at the table.

They will not vote for Democrats but they are more than willing to stay home, and no amount of my pleading will get them to go if they feel they are being used by the GOP or are being kicked in the teeth.

Bluray on August 20, 2012 at 11:45 AM

And they should. No one can possibly understand the type of trauma a rape victim experiences. For anyone to pile on additional grief/guilt if a woman wants an abortion in that situation is despicable. I just love all those that are going to decide what is best for everyone else. You sound like Democrats.

lynncgb on August 20, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Nope, you’re the one that sounds like a Democrat. The unborn child did not commit any crime. He or she is the definition of an innocent. But you have no problem killing the innocent child because of the horrid act suffered by the mother. We either respect life or we don’t.

njrob on August 20, 2012 at 11:45 AM

And you wonder where the ‘War on women” meme comes from…..

lostmotherland on August 20, 2012 at 11:38 AM

I tried presenting reason, too.
Too many people are more interested in being emotive rather than being deductive.
But I find this a problem on both sides of the political spectrum, & indeed, one in human s in general.

Badger40 on August 20, 2012 at 11:45 AM

I’d like to buy you for what you’re worth, and sell you for what you think you’re worth.

kingsjester on August 20, 2012 at 11:40 AM

Wow. Will now be telling people that … until the end of Axe. :)

Axe on August 20, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Michelle Malkin: Todd Akin needs to drop out of the race.

Esoteric on August 20, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Axe on August 20, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Thankyaverymuch.

There are times…when you’ve just had enough.

kingsjester on August 20, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Michelle Malkin: Todd Akin needs to drop out of the race.

Esoteric on August 20, 2012 at 11:46 AM

With all due respect, I would rather get an opinion from someone who actually lives in Missouri…

sandee on August 20, 2012 at 11:48 AM

Kudos to most everyone here for calling Akin out.

verbaluce on August 20, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Whew! Finally the all-important verbaluce approval has rolled in.

Bishop on August 20, 2012 at 11:48 AM

Good grief. First, pregnancy from rape isn’t all that uncommon, as Twitchy discovered with just a little research; it’s around 5%. At least one researcher has found that conception rates for rape actually exceeds that of single instances of consensual sex.

This is what I so value about Ed. He’s an honest guy. Far too often pro-lifers just make up the facts to suit their fantasy of the world. It’s why I rarely have any respect for the pro-life movement. Respect in political debate starts with honesty. If you are pro-life, follow Ed’s example.

To be clear, I don’t think you have to believe that rape increases the chance of pregnancy over consensual sex. I doubt that myself. I’m only saying don’t claim like Akin did that rape rarely causes pregnancy because you don’t want to have address a tough question.

thuja on August 20, 2012 at 11:48 AM

Bishop on August 20, 2012 at 11:48 AM

LOL!

kingsjester on August 20, 2012 at 11:48 AM

First, pregnancy from rape isn’t all that uncommon, as Twitchy discovered with just a little research; it’s around 5%.

I don’t know what you were thinking defines “uncommon”, but 5% seems pretty uncommon to me.

The Rogue Tomato on August 20, 2012 at 11:49 AM

.

That’s false-excuse making. Period.

listens2glenn on August 20, 2012 at 11:26 AM

I wish it were. Emotional and mental disorders can become completely debilitating…and shouldn’t be casually dismissed. I have seen the suffering that can result from them.

lynncgb on August 20, 2012 at 11:50 AM

I don’t know what Akin has said prior to this comment, but this feels like he conjoined two ideas inartfully. If there is a practice of stumbling, then Akin should go.

The election results are relevant, and agree that we have to be smart in how we defend the pro-life position. What I’m NOT OK with is tearing Akin apart because he took a stand on a life-and-death issue. I’m sick of so-called “conservatives” allowing babies to be murdered, and that’s what I’m seeing a lot of here this morning.

RationalIcthus on August 20, 2012 at 11:35 AM

That’s not why he’s being torn apart. Sure, some people disagree on the abortion in cases of rape or incest thing, but his offense was defending his position with such a moronic statement. It makes any legitimate point he was making into a punchline about how Republicans don’t even understand the bodies they want to “control” or whatever. It’s awfully hard to defend anything else he said when he said it in the manner he did. That’s the real issue here, and why he needs to go. Having Claire McCaskill win that seat just because we’re tired of the Left making examples out of certain Republicans doesn’t advance the pro-life cause, either.

changer1701 on August 20, 2012 at 11:51 AM

So when you force a woman to have a child from rape, and then the child’s father wants to meet with said child, say at the prison or after he gets out, who gets the fun job of explaining to the child how they were conceived and why their dad is in prison?

Zekecorlain on August 20, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Just for the record, HD… are you claiming that there were never any operational miscarriages, based on faulty intel, or faulty leadership in the field? Are you claiming that the wrong doors never got kicked in? Are you claiming that soldiers never went over line in detaining/questioning Iraqi nationals?

Nope, I answered that many times to you. Of course it happened. It does in all wars. It was rare and it certianly doesn’t define the war like you’d like it to in order to condemn it wholecloth. Paul’s assertion in his Imagine rant was that was the norm. For you and Paul, those rare instances, amid the clear danger we placed our forces in to avoid them, seems to define the war for you. Does Ron Paul’s newsletters define him to you, or do you deny there weren’t racist remarks contained in them? Not the point though.

Sorry, but nobody ever bats 1.000. And if a foreign army came to California, started kicking in doors, and kicked in my door by mistake… bet your arse I’d be pissed. And bet your arse I’d be looking to take some revenge. Especially if it was the door of the twenty year old me that got kicked in.

We had a fraticide with the Kurds early in the Iraq War and they’re still our best ally in the region. Again, it was a war and your metric of zero mistakes is a hard one to live up to. You should try it sometime. But still not the point.

And for the record again, HD, are you claiming US soldiers never committed rape and murder in Iraq? Have we already forgotten Mahmudiyah?

Have you forgotten a Medevac lost in combat trying to get an Iraqi girl to the hospital? Soldiers lost during the last three years due to the ROE being so restrictive they can’t even return fire. All designed to protect civilians at the cost of our own solders. But still, not the point.

It happened. The Pentagon has prosecuted people for crimes committed over there. That is a fact. That the Iraqis know about it, is a fact. I’m willing to climb out on a limb and say if it were happening here, we wouldn’t act a damned bit differently.

But you know what is not a fact? That women, raped in a war zone or not, are somehow unlikely to get pregnant… that is not in any way shape or form, a fact.

JohnGalt23 on August 20, 2012 at 11:28 AM

Here is the fact. You ignore a multitude of very gallant behavior on the part of our US Forces overseas and concentrate on a very few instances that occur in every conflict. You frame that as a genuine narrative worthy of throwing the towel in over because of the Paul worldview on foriegn intervention; at the cost of the reputation of your own military to achieve pushing your perceptio and agenda.

As to the topic, many people thought Ron Paul’s own words on many occasions were enough to compel him to step down. I thought so. But you still give a spirited defense of every word uttered.

What am I missing? Is it so unforgivable because you’re pro-choice to begin with?

hawkdriver on August 20, 2012 at 11:51 AM

This is what I so value about Ed. He’s an honest guy. Far too often pro-lifers just make up the facts to suit their fantasy of the world. It’s why I rarely have any respect for the pro-life movement. Respect in political debate starts with honesty. If you are pro-life, follow Ed’s example.

To be clear, I don’t think you have to believe that rape increases the chance of pregnancy over consensual sex. I doubt that myself. I’m only saying don’t claim like Akin did that rape rarely causes pregnancy because you don’t want to have address a tough question.

thuja on August 20, 2012 at 11:48 AM

Because Pro-Choicers never make up facts…

like claiming a fetus only magically becomes a baby when it successfully implants.

Bluray on August 20, 2012 at 11:52 AM

kingsjester on August 20, 2012 at 11:48 AM

He was nice enough to climb off that high horse and give us serfs a little pat on our unkempt heads.

Meanwhile verby couldn’t find it in himself to condemn Jumpin’ Joe for his “chains” remark.

Bishop on August 20, 2012 at 11:52 AM

You and I might agree that it’s b.s. but that’s not how it turned out is it? I know it sounds like whining but the double standard is probably the best reason to stand by this poor man.

Cindy Munford on August 20, 2012 at 11:41 AM

What Allen said is in no way comparable to Akin. The left wing lapdog media blew up Allen’s statement – I don’t recall the GOP being outraged. That is not the case with Alin who is being met with bipartisan disgust.

Buy Danish on August 20, 2012 at 11:52 AM

Stupid bastard really needs to engage his brain before he puts his mouth in gear.

rplat on August 20, 2012 at 11:52 AM

All the Trolls who have been quiet since Ryan was announced, are now showing up.

Remarkable.

Mom must have served Wheaties for breakfast.

kingsjester on August 20, 2012 at 11:52 AM

It would be nice if SoCons would shut their fing traps About this BS that does nothing but provide ammo for the left.

Follow Romneys model and STOP addressing this menaingless nonsense that cant be addressed unless electikns are won.

rickyricardo on August 20, 2012 at 11:53 AM

Bishop on August 20, 2012 at 11:52 AM

Funny how that happens, isn’t it?

kingsjester on August 20, 2012 at 11:54 AM

rickyricardo on August 20, 2012 at 11:53 AM

Ain’t happenin’.

kingsjester on August 20, 2012 at 11:55 AM

I wish it were. Emotional and mental disorders can become completely debilitating…and shouldn’t be casually dismissed. I have seen the suffering that can result from them.

lynncgb on August 20, 2012 at 11:50 AM

It doesn’t excuse the act of ending the life.

That was his point.

Bluray on August 20, 2012 at 11:55 AM

Zekecorlain on August 20, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Since when do rapists have any sort of parental rights?

NotCoach on August 20, 2012 at 11:55 AM

We either respect life or we don’t.

njrob on August 20, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Yes…abortion should always be the last resort. I would hope any victim of rape that became pregnant would seek counseling before making that ultimate decision.

lynncgb on August 20, 2012 at 11:55 AM

Going out of business, we can hope?

beatcanvas on August 20, 2012 at 11:35 AM

Several others and I got that, too. We have to call the Missouri Republican State committee.
(573) 636-3146
info@mogop.org

scrubjay on August 20, 2012 at 11:56 AM

It would be nice if SoCons would shut their fing traps

Agreed, this whole thing about freedom of expression and opinion is overblown.

Bishop on August 20, 2012 at 11:56 AM

rickyricardo on August 20, 2012 at 11:53 AM

Very Conservative view of free speech here.

hawkdriver on August 20, 2012 at 11:56 AM

No one can possibly understand the type of trauma a rape victim experiences. For anyone to pile on additional grief/guilt if a woman wants an abortion in that situation is despicable. I just love all those that are going to decide what is best for everyone else. You sound like Democrats.

lynncgb on August 20, 2012 at 10:05 AM

First, let me point that we can understand what a rape victim has gone thru. We can listen to other rape victims, and hear what they tell us. We can read the psychological literature on the subject. I get what you’re saying — that we haven’t experienced it personally — but that’s not equivalent to saying that I can’t understand it at all, or derive conclusions about what might be right for that person.

Second, I refuse to cede the ground that I am supposed to support a woman going through grief & trauma by allowing her to kill an innocent child. That’s a horrific solution, no matter which party I “sound like.”

RationalIcthus on August 20, 2012 at 11:56 AM

So when you force a woman to have a child from rape, and then the child’s father wants to meet with said child, say at the prison or after he gets out, who gets the fun job of explaining to the child how they were conceived and why their dad is in prison?

Zekecorlain on August 20, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Maybe the same person who asks the child if he/she would have preferred it if he/she were killed in the womb.

The Rogue Tomato on August 20, 2012 at 11:56 AM

That may be, but about 95% of the American people do not agree. That’s a tough hill to climb politically.

We are agreed that Akin should promptly step aside.

Both Sarah Palin and Dick Morris were correct about another dimension to this race: it is easier to defeat a woman with a woman.

matthew8787 on August 20, 2012 at 10:26 AM

Care to site facts or do you enjoy pulling numbers out of your rear? The absolute right to life group is much larger portion of the population, probably about the same amount as the abortion on demand group. For you to minimize their beliefs is pathetic.

njrob on August 20, 2012 at 11:57 AM

You don’t say stupid stuff like this about women and get away with it.

It’s just that simple.
Women are vindictive and they NEVER forget..

They DO NOT think like guys…

His comment was about as dumb as it gets.. He’s done.

RockyJ. on August 20, 2012 at 11:58 AM

All the Trolls who have been quiet since Ryan was announced, are now showing up.

Remarkable.

Mom must have served Wheaties for breakfast.

kingsjester on August 20, 2012 at 11:52 AM

People are in a panic mode over this. I can’t really blame them with this media any little “misstep” gets blown out of proportion. Unfortunately this was quite a big “misstep.”Not sure what the answer is to this situation. But of course once this is decided another “scandal” will pop up. And another, and another. When does it end and when should we stand up and say enough is enough…

sandee on August 20, 2012 at 11:58 AM

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