Life is Life: Akin & Obama on Rape Pregnancy

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By now, most of you have heard about the monumental blunder made by Todd Akin, a GOP representative and Senate nominee from Missouri, with regards to rape and pregnancy. Here are his comments, in all of their cringe-worthy glory:

“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Mr. Akin said of pregnancies from rape. “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 of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”

Frankly I have never heard of any doctors who claim that the female body has ways of “shutting that whole thing down”, by which I assume he means implantation or conception, and no doctors appear to have come forward to substantiate this notion. Who knows where Akin got it from. Much is being made of his use of the word “legitimate” as well, which was a clumsy attempt to distinguish forcible from non-forcible rape, a “legitimate” distinction used by law-enforcement in the classification of crimes. What Akin says next is something most pro-life advocates agree with: rapists, not the children of rape, deserve to be punished for the crime .

His comments were certainly poorly worded and bizarre. He may well deserve to lose the political race he is engaged in and perhaps even his office for a gaffe of this magnitude. So this is not a “Save Rep. Akin’s Career” type of post.

But this is one of those moments at which we must firmly reassert our opposition to abortion, regardless of the circumstances. Our opponents are seizing upon this incident to remind everyone of how utterly heartless and anti-woman the GOP supposedly is. Obama is leading the charge on this as well. He had this to say:

“Rape is rape,” Mr. Obama told reporters at the daily White House briefing Monday. “And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we’re talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people and certainly doesn’t make sense to me.”

Mr. Obama added that Akin’s remarks underscore “why we shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women.”

Leaving aside the ridiculous idea that the author of Obamacare, which forces everyone to purchase health insurance, doesn’t want to “make health care decisions” on behalf of women or anyone else, let us look at the statement “rape is rape.” Yes, indeed, rape is rape: it is always wrong, and can never be condoned. Mr. Akin had it in his head, apparently, that certain types of rape make it less likely for conception to occur. If that were actually true, it would make sense to distinguish between types of rape, though it wouldn’t necessarily be a statement on the morality of rape as such, and any honest person knows this. Since it isn’t true, of course it comes of rather badly. Akin’s profuse apologizing will not change this.

So “rape is rape.” But life is also life. That’s something Obama and the pro-abortion industry cannot and will not admit. The core principle of the pro-life position is this: it is never morally acceptable to kill an innocent human being. There are no circumstances, no matter how horrific or traumatizing, that justify the murder of an innocent human being. And frankly we don’t need the sort of half-baked theories that Akin was peddling to reinforce this point. It is a self-evident truth that we can and ought to proudly defend on its own merits.

We have nothing to run from, nothing to apologize for, and nothing to hide. I hope the Romney campaign is able to deal with this issue in a way that does not compromise in the least degree on the inviolable sanctity of human life, or which does not display fear or doubt regarding the absolute immorality of the left’s position on it.

Update: Given some of the information my co-bloggers and readers have left, I’m inclined to take back my remarks about Akin’s theories being bizarre or untrue. I will say, however, that if one is not prepared to articulate in a clear and sensitive way these finer points of medical fact, one should not speak at all. And in this case, I maintain that it is not necessary to bring up any of this, since it has no bearing at all on the morality of abortion, which is all that really matters.

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  1. Statistics aren’t conclusive, but about 1%-.6% of victims of violent rape become pregnant, according to the only place I found that didn’t assume same-as-unprotected sex conception rates. Here’s a second source that also cites Guttmacher, since I don’t feel like digging around their site right now.

    (All the sources I could find that claimed rape has the same conception rate as nonviolent sex sourced this page, which states that it is ASSUMING a 5% conception rate. A few other sites that mentioned “studies” that were over 1% also mention they were counting domestic rapes child abuse where the girls were old enough to become pregnant, so I would guess they also included date-rape while removing rape that cannot cause conception.)

    Yes, the guy said something really dumb, clumsy, etc. I think you’re right that it was differentiating between violent rape and “I don’t remember if I said yes/I said yes but I regret it/we were drunk/I can’t remember” rape, and one should have all of one’s ducks in a row when touching that topic.

    That said, claims like: Since it isn’t true, of course it comes of rather badly really don’t help the situation. As for where he got it from, I can remember it being taught in flippin’ SEX ED when I was in high school. No, I don’t have the citation, because that was over a decade ago– but it was mentioned a couple of times, in the official course materials.
    Maybe someone can find it with that information, but it doesn’t matter– the facts don’t matter, sadly, just folks’ emotional reaction to a safe target.
    (argh, forgot to close HTML)

  2. Well, perhaps what I ought to have said is that since it doesn’t appear to be true.

    I mean, I can’t say for certain that he is wrong, but I couldn’t find any information to substantiate his claims. And if you’re going to go around saying things like that, you’d better have a legitimate source lined-up for support.

  3. There is violent rape and then there is statutory rape. The violent rapist is a murderer. The statutory rapist is a grossed out ignoramus of unmitigated proportions. Here is the difference Akin was struggling to define. The criminal rapist ought to go to jail for the rest of his unnatural life. The statutory rapist is over eighteen years of age and ought to know better and an underage girl who has not reached the age of informed consent have sexual relations, with or without the child becoming pregnant, the parents of both the male and the girl, or the girl alone, may choose to support and encourage the relationship and ‘adopt” any child as their own, even though it be a grandchild. Statutory rape carried a two year federal prison sentence, no questions asked, in my day, and I felt very protected. With abortion, pornography, indecency at every turn, with the removal of all protection of the young uninformed, innocent virgins, informed sexual consent is counted legally at fourteen years of age in some states and without the voters voting on it. The protections were removed to enhance the abortion rate and increase Planned Parenthood’s profit. Our daughters are being mutilated.
    The woman’s body may shut down during the violence, but conception takes place hours later.
    Life is Life. Government does not give LIFE and government cannot take innocent life, not Liberty, nor the pursuit of Happiness. Government does not give sovereign personhood and government cannot deny sovereign personhood, not even to the one-celled human being, coming into existence at the will of “their Creator”, with his newly begotten immortal soul.
    My definition of just punishment to the rapist is to give the victim’s parents twenty minutes alone with him on the open seas, or a public pillory with several bats and let the public have at him, or jail for the rest of his unnatural life. Once a rapist, always a rapist, the public is not safe anymore, and for all the money taken for taxes. Abort the innocent life, harbor the evil doers and compliment the cowards. Where is Judge Roy Bean when you need him.
    My dad’s family is the result of Tartar rape and the girl’s father adopted the little boy born of the rape. Adoption consisted in taking the child upon his knee. And I would not be here if not for the generosity and common sense of my father’s ancestor. It was my mother’s family who was raped in 1595.
    And as far as Obama not knowing anything, what else is new?

  4. In the Old Testament, the Bible, if a woman was being raped in the city and she did not call out, she was to be stoned along with the rapist to keep evil out of their midst. If the woman was raped in the field where her cries would not be heard she was not to be put to death. In not calling out, the victim in the city, became an accomplice to her own rape.

  5. It has been known and acknowledged for some time that stress-whether physical or psychological-can cause delayed ovulation, and therefore a delayed period. This was a fairly common complaint in my college days actually–the girls (the ones who weren’t on the Pill) would complain about their period not coming on the day expectetd and guess what? They had had a bad month working on a paper or some history project or something. Or they got sick, or went on some new ridiculous diet and exercise program. No they weren’t pregnant, and yes, the period came a few days late.

    I don’t see why a rape, if it occurred in an early part of the cycle, say Day 5 or 6, wouldn’t cause a delayed ovulation. Now if a woman were on Day 14, which is mid-cycle for the average women (not on the pill) and about the time they ovulate (I think Day 16 is the text book date), that I don’t know. And if she had ovulated within 24 hours before the rape occured, I don’t know of any reason why the egg might not get fertilized (and then implant some days later.) If the rape occurred several days after the woman has ovulated, fertilization is most unlikely. An unfertilized egg only lives roughly 24 hours.

    This is my understanding from what I’ve picked up along the way. I would verify with an Creighon Modle NFP practioner.

  6. Another article on stress and infertility:

    It’s not that it’s all in your mind,’’ Dr. Domar said. “If you’re really stressed out and depressed, the body seems to sense that’s not a good time to get pregnant. There’s something about practicing relaxation techniques or being with other women who understand what you’re going through, probably a combination of everything, that makes a difference. It isn’t just about relaxing.”

  7. “But as unwelcome as the advice may be, it may be right. New evidence suggests that stress does affect fertility. A recent study found that women with high levels of alpha-amylase, an enzyme that correlates with stress, have a harder time getting pregnant. Saliva samples taken from 274 women over six menstrual cycles (or until they got pregnant) revealed that those with the highest enzyme concentrations during the first cycle were 12 percent less likely to conceive than were women with the lowest levels.

    What’s more, women involved in the study, published earlier this month in the journal Fertility and Sterility, had no prior record of infertility. Participants were either planning to get pregnant or had been trying for less than three months.

    Researchers do not yet understand the role stress plays, since women can and often do get pregnant even under the intense stress, for example, that follows the death of a spouse. “I suspect that some women are more reproductively sensitive to stress than other women,” says Alice Domar, who directs the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health in Boston. And the effect can feed on itself. “If you are stressed and you don’t get pregnant quickly, then you get more stressed,” says Domar, citing evidence from a study in Taiwan in which 40 percent of participants seeking infertility treatment were diagnosed with depression or anxiety. The treatment itself can be stressful, she adds, adding even more uncertainty.”

  8. This all seems legit to me.

    But if one isn’t prepared to clearly articulate with the necessary sensitivity these medical points, one should simply not speak at all. And it isn’t really necessary to make these points either.

  9. True. When it comes to rape and pregnancy the proper response was given in the movie Rob Roy:

    Mary MacGregor: Robert, there is more. I am carrying a child and I do not know who is the father.”
    Robert Roy MacGregor: Ach, Mary…
    Mary MacGregor: I could not kill it, husband.
    Robert Roy MacGregor: It’s not the child that needs killing.

  10. Akin getting out:

    He is an object lesson for Christians in politics: innocent as doves is necessary, but so is wily as serpents. The man has been in Congress for 10 years. He should have been able to field the question effortlessly (example of how to do it) “Rape is a terrible crime and I wish we had the death penalty for convicted rapists. However, when a woman becomes pregnant as a result of rape another innocent victim is then present. We should treat both the mother and child with infinite compassion and care. The rapist deserves death and not the innocent child brought into the world by his crime.” You show through this answer both abhorrence of the crime and compassion for the two innocent victims.

  11. I get what the candidate said, but wish too, that he had taken a deep breath before answering. McCaskill wants him to stay in the race, she thinks he is a wounded bird now and that is the only way she could win. Typical O/alinsky tactic to eliminate your opponent. Too bad. Hope there is someone to fill his shoes who is a little more willey.

    LOVE Rob Roy. It’s the Scottish in me.

  12. Yes women get pregnant from rapes. No your body doesn’t shut that down. If a man ejaculates semen into a woman, she can get pregnant whether it’s consensual or it’s rape. I knew a woman who did indeed get pregnant after being gang raped. It happens. Apparently you folks think rape is a joke. Hardy har.

  13. Apparently you think accurately representing what other people say is a joke.

    No one claimed that a woman cannot get pregnant from rapes. Some people are arguing that serious stress and emotional trauma can decrease the chances of conception. That doesn’t sound unreasonable to me.

    But it is really irrelevant. I don’t care if it happens 1 in a million rapes, or 1 in 100. The principle remains: it is never morally acceptable to take an innocent human life.

    Neither rape nor child murder is a joke. But your ridiculous post is. Har har.

  14. As bad as the remarks are, it doesn’t seem completely irrational to think some physiological factors can affect the likelihood of pregnancy – stress, fear, etc. release different hormones and compounds into the body, so it could be possible it would affect conception.

    Still, pretty cringeworthy. But not as bad as that Texas Gubernatorial candidate (Clayton Williams?) that made a huge rape gaffe that cost him the election to Anne Richards.

  15. The law may have been changed, but last I remember, if a child was brought into a family, through rape, adultery, or whatever, the child was legally the father’s/husband’s child and a legal member of the family. The law did not exact death to the unbon child.

  16. “I’ll leave comments such as “what”s as an example of the sort of insanity we are dealing with from the left.”
    “what” does not know that she is a “WHO”

  17. So what you are basically saying is that you are fine if a woman is raped since you really know there isn’t a chance of pregnancy. Consequently, any woman that claims rape and is pregnant wasn’t raped at all.

    Somehow, I think women from the Virgin Mary to Sister Theresa would have a problem with your theory. I suggest heading to the confessional and I pray God takes pity on your soul.

  18. “So what you are basically saying is that you are fine if a woman is raped since you really know there isn’t a chance of pregnancy.”

    Reading comprehension really isn’t your strong point is it Mr. Lambert?

  19. Mr. McClarey,

    I read and comprehend quite well. I do well at reading between lines. If you favor HB 3 which I assume you do…..then this would be your exact view. Would it not?

  20. Once again, reading comprehension is clearly not your strong point. I trust you are receiving a fair amount of money from the Obama campaign to troll a Catholic website since you are doing a very poor job of it. We expect inventiveness and wit from our trolls and you are merely boring, so into moderation you go.

  21. I do well at reading between lines.

    Ah. You mean you assume we’re saying something monumentally stupid, and when you can’t find any evidence of it, you lie and claim we did.

    You are disgusting.

    When faced with mention of scientifically supported evidence that women who are violently raped take such physical damage that their fertility is about 1/5 of that in the case of normal intercourse, you try to claim that it means NO chance, and then extrapolate to something so evil and moronic that it boggles the mind….

    Some of us have friends that were born of rape.
    Some of us respect the truth enough mention it, even when facts aren’t up your alley.
    Some of us can deal with those we dislike without lying about them– and frankly, I must disagree with Mr. McClarey. There is simply no way a rational being could read what has been written here and, by innocent lack of reading comprehension, conclude what you have claimed.

    Slanderous lies are even more disgusting that plain old supports-a-view lies.

  22. Another problem with irresponsible government overspending is no accountability for grievous, intentional, and wasteful error. The piece of cake mentality going in, and the garbage produced coming out.

  23. I just looked up ten indictments for rape in this year’s Books of Sederunt, more or less at random. Six of them contained averments to the following, or similar effect, “while she was under the influence of alcohol and drugs or of one or other of them and bereft of the power of resistance” or “while she was asleep under the influence of alcohol and incapable of giving or withholding consent” Another averred the woman was a defective, within the meaning of the Mental Health Acts and incapable &c

    In no sense is this a scientific survey, but it suggests that rape may well be as often clandestine as forcible. After all, the essence of the offence, the factum probandum, is absence of consent; force or violence are merely evidence that the panel knew the woman was not consenting, or was reckless as to whether she was consenting or not.

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