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Rep. Todd Akin, Abortion and Rape

Rep. Todd Akin, Abortion and RapeOne thing is clear — Rep. Todd Akin probably should be talking to a few more real medical doctors before speaking about issues he clearly understands very little about. Because no matter what your views are on abortion in America, your views on rape should be pretty clear cut if you’re not living in the 1950s.

Women do not asked to be raped. It doesn’t matter what kind of clothing a woman is wearing, or what she said or did beforehand. There are no cases of “legitimate” rape.

And there is nothing the human body does that says, “Oh, I’m being raped, I’d better ensure I don’t get pregnant from this.”

Only an ignorant, sad and sadly misinformed politician could somehow think these things — much less say them in a television interview during the time he’s trying to get elected to the U.S. Senate.

Read on for the full quote and video…

Here’s what he said on Sunday during a wide-ranging interview (where abortion was just one of many topics covered), in case you missed it:

Interviewer: What about in the case of rape? Should it be legal or not?

Rep. Todd Akin: Well you know, people always want to try and make it as one of those things, how do you– how do you slice this particularly tough ethical question.

It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, uhh, the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. You know, I think there should be some punishment, but I think the punishment ought to be of the rapist and not attacking the child.

You have to wonder, first of all — what kind of doctors is Akin talking to that have told him this (if that’s even true)? Not doctors that have been to medical school in the past 4 or 5 decades, that’s for certain. And what exactly is a “legitimate rape?”

In a statement released earlier this morning, Rep. Akin — who has basically lost the Senate race in Missouri because of his unwise comments — said, “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.”

You’re a seasoned politician (of over 24 years) in an interview that was scheduled long ahead of time. You have policy statements on more than a half dozen issues. You’ve spoken on the issue of abortion previously, without “misspeaking.”

And now you’re lying to everyone suggesting your remarks were “off-the-cuff.” They were not. They were, in my opinion, a keen insight into your actual beliefs about abortion and rape. You’re only back-pedaling now because they have gotten you into hot water.

This is everything Americans hate about politicians — no matter what party they belong to. They can’t admit it when they’re wrong, nowhere have do they actually apologize for their ignorant, backwater views on rape, and they then use the opportunity not to step down from the race with dignity and some degree of honor, but instead to blast their opponent in the Senate race.

Worse are the vermin that carpetbag off of Akin’s statement, such as Bryan Fisher of the extremist group, the American Family Association. Earlier today, he wrote on Twitter: “Todd Akin is right: physical trauma of forcible rape can interfere w/ hormonal production, conception.”

In that tweet, Fisher linked to an article on entitled ‘Rape Pregnancies Are Rare’ by Dr. John C. Wilkie, who wrote in 1999 that: ” Assault rape pregnancies are extremely rare. […] The numbers claimed have ranged the entire spectrum of possibilities. Some feminists have claimed as high as 5 to 10 percent, which is absurd. […] 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.”1

This, of course, flies in the face of actual, you know, scientific data (which was published 3 years prior to Dr. Wilkie writing that article):

The national rape-related pregnancy rate is 5.0% per rape among victims of reproductive age (aged 12 to 45); among adult women an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year. [emphasis added]

If 32,000 pregnancies per year is a “rare” event, then some people are living in a very strange, disconnected world.

Todd Akin, I’m certain, does not represent the views of most Missourians when it comes to rape. And it would be a shame to see the great state of Missouri elect such a sorry excuse for a man to the U.S. Senate.

Here’s the video:

Read the full article: 'Legitimate rape' comment by GOP's Todd Akin shakes up Missouri Senate race

Rep. Todd Akin, Abortion and Rape


  1. Wilkie also provides a keen example of why physicians are not statisticians or mathematicians — nor should they try and be. []

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder of Psych Central. He is a psychologist, author, researcher, and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 1995. Dr. Grohol has a Master's degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member of the Society for Participatory Medicine. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.

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APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2018). Rep. Todd Akin, Abortion and Rape. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 28, 2020, from
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Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 20 Aug 2012)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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