In a TV interview posted Sunday, Todd Akin, the republican nominee for senate in Missouri justified his argument against providing abortions for raped women by claiming that the body has a natural defense to getting pregnant in cases of “legitimate” rape.
Here’s the video:
Mr. Aken apparently knows things about the female body that most biologists and doctors do not, as the lack of documented evidence anywhere for this magical superpower women supposedly have.
For those of us who grew up in the bible belt, pregnancy occurs when a male haploid cell, or spermatazoa, passes through the cervix and into the fallopian tubes where it meets a female haploid cell — an ovum, and fertilizes it. The resulting cell, called a zygote, then continues to divide throughout pregnancy (please note this is an oversimplification). To the sperm and ova, there is no concept of “oh, well, it was legitimate rape so let’s not develop any further!” There is no concept of anything. These are haploid cells. They contain genetic material, not fully formed brains capable of reason.
Akin does admit that rarely, those defenses can fail. His argument at that point is that we should not punish the “child,” but go after the rapist instead — abortion should still not be allowed. The question to ask here is what about the woman? Is it okay to punish her?
According to a study done in 1996 by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical University of South Carolina, approximately 32,000 rapes result in pregnancy each year. That is a stunning 5% of rapes of women of reproductive age. According to this study, the majority of these rape-related pregnancies occurring during the study happened during adolescence. If the argument is against the punishment of children, why are we punishing these? Only 11.7% of these young victims actually received immediate medical treatment for the rape, with a stunning 47.1% not receiving any medical treatment for the rape whatsoever. More than 30% of these children did not even realize they were pregnant until the second trimester — making the choice to abort not only more costly with increased risk of complications, but also illegal in many states. Interestingly, only 11.8% of those pregnancies resulted in spontaneous abortion, or miscarriage — a rate that would be significantly higher if women had the superpower Akin claims.
Furthermore, why the qualifier “legitimate?” Is there any such thing as an “illegitimate” rape? Who decides what makes a rape legitimate? Isn’t rape, rape, and consensual sex, consensual sex? Seems pretty clear to me, though not so much to Todd Akin who, according to Talking Points, voted in 1991 for an anti-marital rape bill, claiming it would be used by women to attack their husbands during messy divorces
All this only serves to make Todd Akin’s view of anyone with a vagina crystal clear: we’re all lying, manipulative, selfish and untrustworthy sub-humans clearly incapable of making our own decisions.
Ayla Ryan can be found on facebook. She is currently working with two other people to start For Esmee a foundation designed to give young victims of sexual abuse hope for the future while they fight through the legal system.