Ladies (or as I like to think of you, baby vessels), Representative Todd Akin wants you to know that he’s got your back. Or your vagina, he didn’t get into specifics. By being against the right to abortion even in cases of rape, he isn’t saying that you should have to give birth to the rapist’s child. In secret discussions with doctors, Akin has learned that in “legitimate” cases of rape, women rarely become pregnant. There’s a lot to break down in this bit of news, so let me take it point by point.
First, I wonder if these doctors that Akin talked to aren’t doctors of theology. That would make sense. Let’s face it, most people are anti-choice because they are Christians. That’s really where all this stuff comes from. And note that nowhere in the Bible does it say anything about abortion. As a medical guide, the Bible sucks. I think it might have something to do with the scientific ignorance of the people who wrote it. The book has some doozies; the flat earth is my favorite. But the main thing is that the Bible is silent on the question of abortion and it was only through the efforts of lots of theologians over the years that they decided that abortion was wrong. It was the same reasoning they used to determine if Adam and Eve had belly buttons and how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. (What kind of dance do you suppose they were doing? I’m thinking the Bachata!)
Second, I’m real interested in what a legitimate rape is. Is it one that occurs when a woman’s skirt reaches to her knees? When she isn’t wearing make-up? Or perhaps when she’s not menstruating and putting out those mysterious ha cha cha chemicals that drive men mad? I’m sure that Akin isn’t suggesting that some women are just asking for it. And he couldn’t be saying that women pretend to be raped after a nice man helps them to lower their ha cha cha levels. One thing is clear, if we make abortion only available to women who have been raped, I’m sure we will see a lot of women pretending that they’ve been raped—ha cha cha or no.
Third, Akin is correct in saying that women rarely become pregnant as a result of a rape. Between 3% and 6% of rape victims become pregnant as a result. This is indeed rare. But still, researchers at the University of South Carolina calculated that over 30,000 rape induced pregnancies occur each year. This is what we call math: small percentages of large numbers are large numbers. It’s like the death penalty for innocent people: even if the percentage is small, it still sucks if you are in it.
I know that Akin and his ilk believe that women have mysterious anti-ha cha cha chemicals that determine that the lady parts are having No Fun and go out and surround the egg with bayonet wielding defenders. “Stand back you unwanted sperm!” But there are, in fact, no such chemicals. Many studies have found that rape victims are just as likely to get pregnant as are ha cha cha women. In addition, one study by two researchers at St. Lawrence University found that rape victims were roughly twice as likely to get pregnant. They concluded this was because women often choose not to have consensual (ha cha cha) sex when they were fertile. Rape victims have no such control. What’s more, the rapists may be more driven to their acts of violence when women are fertile.
Finally: remember ladies, Todd Akin doesn’t hate you. He’s looking out for you. He is thinking about you all the time. All the time. That’s right. He can just imagine the horror of a legitimate rape. He can see it! That man holding you down. Pushing your skirt up revealing your soft skin. Yeah. He can just see it. Ha cha cha!