On Sunday, Representative Todd Akin, the Republican Senate nominee from Missouri made the outrageous claims that somehow a woman’s body blocks an unwanted pregnancy during a “legitimate rape,” as his justification for being anti-abortion, even in cases of rape. His exact comments were: “It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” 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.”
By Monday, everyone from President Obama to candidate Mitt Romney, Akin’s competitor Senator Claire McCaskill, and more, weighed in on the quickly politicized issue. Medical analysts, including Dr. Nancy Snyderman, weighed in to explain that in all instances of unprotected sex there is a 5% chance of pregnancy, regardless of whether it’s consensual. Yet, what’s missing from the conversation is the harmful effects Akin’s words have on the victims of rape. After all they’ve been through, should they be left to feel as if the horrendous crime committed on them was somehow not “legitimate?”
I reached out to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, and they had this to say about Rep. Akin’s completely false comments: “Simply put, Rep. Akin’s claim is ridiculous,” said RAINN Spokesperson Katherine Hull. “While there was such a time when it was commonly believed that pregnancy couldn’t result from rape, that time was hundreds of years ago. Now we know better. Each year, thousands of women become pregnant as the result of rape, and many more victims are faced with PTSD, depression and other longterm results of the crime. Supporting survivors — and recognizing the impact of the crime on them — is the very least we should expect from our political leaders.”
Jon Leiberman and I discussed our view of Akin’s “legitimate rape” claim on The CrimeLine Monday, click HERE to watch. I also received several comments on Twitter from people weighing in on the issue, including Dawn Neufeld, who said: “Reminds me of the AIDS rumors in Africa – grown men would try to rid themselves of the disease by raping children. #dangerous” and Steve Stocker, who said: “Offensive and insulting to the intelligence of almost everyone. #ToddAkin.” Where do you stand on his outrageous claims? Let me know in the comments section below.