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Todd Akin, Legitimate Rape, and the Infertile Woman

I know Missouri Congressman Todd Akin toes the party line and believes that the children are our future (cue Whitney Houston) and he supports personhood bills which make it illegal to create embryos for the purpose of IVF since life begins at conception (in fact, he’d love a Constitutional amendment on that), so it makes complete sense that he is working hard to heap more trauma on women who have experienced rape and become pregnant by supporting legislation that would make it illegal to have an abortion in the event of rape.

You know, since not all rape is rape.

As MotherJones summed up his television interview this morning:

He claimed that women who are the victims of “legitimate rape” are unlikely to become pregnant. Akin said that the female body has “biological defenses” that prevent rape victims from getting pregnant. (That’s not true.) The implication of his position is that if you were raped and became pregnant, you must have actually wanted it—it wasn’t really rape.

And since I read his highly “scientific” remarks, the whole problem of infertility came clear to me, and in one fell swoop, I realized the cure has been in front of our eyes this entire time:

You are not getting pregnant due to legitimate rape.

See, the only explanation is that your body feels forced into sex, therefore blocks the ability to get pregnant, just as it does whenever a woman is legitimately raped.  Hence how rape victims cannot get pregnant, and neither can “infertile” women.  The solution?  Submit, submit, submit.  Lie back and think of England.  Enjoy the sex (because you know that being infertile rocks since you get to have lots and lots of sex!)  And under no circumstances get yourself stressed out or think, “for the love, not tonight.”  Because if you do, you have no one to blame but yourself if you don’t “just relax.”  And don’t even think about using IVF to solve your “problems” which aren’t real problems because I just solved your “infertility” for you.


Oh, there’s no truth to Akin’s statements?

They’re a load of crap?

Just irresponsible, cruel commentary made by an unintelligent man?

Well there went my Nobel Prize for curing infertility.

I am not sure how people can claim there is no war against women in this country when you wake up to shit like this.

* Apologies for any triggers with the sarcasm in this post.  Akin’s comments made me so angry that I’m shaking. *


1 Devon { 08.20.12 at 9:25 am }

Ugh, I heard his ridiculous statement this morning. How infuriating. I can’t believe he actually says that he has heard from doctors that a womans body has defenses to shut that system down? WTF does that mean? How stupid is he? Or better yet, how stupid does he think the public is?

2 gwinne { 08.20.12 at 9:38 am }

Well you definitely explained my problem! I simply didn’t enjoy those 21 IUIs enough! Ahem.

That is some scary stuff…

3 Arwen Rose { 08.20.12 at 10:09 am }

Good God. I can’t believe some of the things people can think and actually voice outloud.

4 Mud Hut Mama { 08.20.12 at 10:19 am }

I have also been so angry since I heard those remarks about “legitimate rape” – angry that anyone would think to use the word legitimate next to rape and angry about the multitude of wrongs within his statements. I have been stewing over this but I hadn’t taken it the step further to relate to infertility. This post is brilliant – thank you for your sarcasm.

5 Kimberly { 08.20.12 at 11:03 am }

I was shaking when i read this, I was so upset. I may be a born and bred Canadian, but I sincerely fear for all women in the United States with government officials like this trying to run your country. I’m truly scared of the outcome if Obama is not reelected. Plus my father always told me, you should always be aware of what your neighboring countries are doing politically, their policies could affect our own someday whether we want them to or not.

6 Ana { 08.20.12 at 11:04 am }

And this made me cry too. With rage. I can’t believe how far backwards we’re moving as a country. Seriously saddened for the future our children may inherit. And the use of bogus “science” or “medical” facts to support misguided beliefs….gross. What about the 10 year old girl who carried HER FATHER’S baby to term after incest. Would Akin look her in the eye and tell her she must have “really wanted it?”

7 Wee Hermione { 08.20.12 at 11:07 am }

My very conservative mother and I were arguing about abortion one day (I was raised conservative, but am now very liberal) and she pulled Akin’s same theory on me. I was flabbergasted and replied asking her for any proof of this theory, which she did not provide. This is a woman who worked in a hospital — she’s not a bumpkin.

Ugh. It’s awful.

8 luna { 08.20.12 at 11:10 am }

what’s so shocking is not even that this ass crack has such abominable views, but that he’s been elected so many times.

9 MrsTypeA { 08.20.12 at 11:39 am }

I just want to say that I am conservative and I do NOT agree with this ridiculous “theory” and I am appalled that he said these things. It really is shocking and I know that most of the Republican party does not agree with his words. They may not agree with abortion on a whole, but rape (THERE ARE NO CATEGORIES!!!) is considered to be a different situation. I know a lot of people disagree on abortion, and that is totally fine (yay free country!!)- but this is completely different and just plain upsetting.

10 Emily @ablanket2keep { 08.20.12 at 11:59 am }

OMG that just made me so angry!!!

11 Kristin { 08.20.12 at 12:01 pm }

Akin’s has infuriated me to the point where I can’t even find the words. You did well.

12 Stupid Stork { 08.20.12 at 12:04 pm }


I’ve been watching this on CNN the way you make yourself look at the gorry scenes in horror movies.

I am most definitely an evil CA bleeding heart liberal and I am a wee bit frightened by some of the people coming out of the woodwork on the other side. Frightened.

However with something like this I’m choosing to believe that this man makes the uterus of every woman cringe in fear and maybe we can all just look at him as an Unbelievable Idiot (in fact – is it possible to start a party with that title, and lump all crazies from either side into it?)

13 mrs spock { 08.20.12 at 12:15 pm }


14 mrsgreengrass { 08.20.12 at 12:18 pm }

This logic is like witch hunts. If she drowns, she must be a witch! What sickens me is that he is an elected representative.

15 Sarah { 08.20.12 at 12:20 pm }

my husband who fancies himself a republican actually posted about this stating Congressman Akin might possibly be the dumbest person on the planet….Seriously? How do people with this little understanding of biology get elected to represent us in Congress? I just don’t understand….I’m with mrs spock….WTF!!!

16 EmHart { 08.20.12 at 12:29 pm }

I heard about that this morning and I was just speechless, shocked and then incandescent with rage and fear. I hope the out cry about this is as massive and furious as it deserves to be. That this man is in a position of influence and power is outrageous. Can we march? I will buy a frickin plane ticket and jet over there to march against ignorance and hateful idiocy like this.

17 KeAnne { 08.20.12 at 12:30 pm }

There should be an intelligence test required for running for office. I didn’t realize that my uterus was a sentient being able to prevent itself from becoming pregnant. How can he and Ryan even consider for a second – let alone say it publicly – that there are categories for rape and that some rape is legitimate. JHC

18 Justine { 08.20.12 at 1:24 pm }

I heard about this last night and my jaw dropped open. I thought, good god, NO woman in her right mind would vote for this man, right?

Except some of them will. Which, to me, is even more frightening.

19 Rachel { 08.20.12 at 2:30 pm }

Along these lines, does this mean I’ve gotten fat due to legitimate eating? For all of these years, I’ve felt so guilty when I eat. My body obviously has natural defenses which STOP ME FROM LOSING WEIGHT. If I just enjoyed the healthy food I ate, I’d drop weight like that.

I feel so enlightened.

And so, so, so scared. I saw a comment from a Right Winger on twitter that said, “Can we just all agree what Akin said was dumb and move on to the important issues?”

What are issues more important than the fact that there are lunatics running around touting themselves as competent enough to run the country when they shouldn’t be allowed to function as a member of society?

20 a { 08.20.12 at 2:32 pm }

Well, I’d say Clare McCaskill got the entire women’s vote from Missouri. And if she doesn’t, then I just don’t know what to do about society. So glad I chose not to watch The Jaco Report that night, or I would have thrown something at my TV .

21 Another Dreamer { 08.20.12 at 3:00 pm }

My husband told me about that last night… we both had a major “WTF is WRONG with him?!” moment. I just can’t even… there are no words.

22 loribeth { 08.20.12 at 3:06 pm }

I very rarely post political stuff on Facebook, because I have a lot of Republican relatives in the States & I like to keep peace in the family. But I hd to share this news item (with an added “WTF??!?!?!” from me) because it was just so completely idiotic and infuriating and WRONG in so many ways (where to begin??!). I could feel my blood pressure rising 10 points.

And, @Kimberly above, very true. You just know there are politicians here in Canada who agree with this idiot & would love to pull the same crap if they thought they could get away with it. Shudder.

23 Rebecca { 08.20.12 at 3:46 pm }

Makes me ashamed to admit I’m a Missourian. 🙁

I almost threw up when I read his words.

24 battynurse { 08.20.12 at 4:03 pm }

Stupidity really is scary sometimes. What’s worse is how many people will believe this shit.

25 Queenie { 08.20.12 at 4:19 pm }

I read WaPo in the middle of the night while feeding the baby. This was one of my fav’s last night. Also, it was positioned next to a story about a (male) GOP Congressman who went skinny dipping in Israel. Add Romney/Ryan, and the only legit question is, what the hell is wrong with the GOP today? I’ve got some issues with Obama, but he’s better than THAT.

26 Cristy { 08.20.12 at 4:31 pm }

I saw this interview yesterday. What a load of BS. To imply that women who are raped and become pregnant because of that violent act are actually asking for it is cruel. But your take is equally interesting. It suggests that the reason we can’t get pregnant is because we’re fearful of our husbands/partners, not because we have a medical issue.

So, I have a question for Mr. Atkins: since Mitt Romney has grandchildren who were conceived through IVF and surrogacy, does this mean his sons are actively (and repeatedly) raping their wives? That one of presidential candidates is the father to known sex offenders?

27 Illanare { 08.20.12 at 7:05 pm }

There are just no words sometimes…

28 Mrs Thompson { 08.20.12 at 7:37 pm }

John Wayne said it best…”life is tough, but it’s tougher when your stupid.”

And this guy is oh-so very stupid!

29 Erica { 08.20.12 at 8:06 pm }

Yes, to everything you say here.

A prominent medieval medical theory held that women had to experience orgasm (and therefore pleasure) in order to conceive and that, therefore, rape wasn’t really rape if it resulted in a child. I can’t even get into how much it would have sucked to be a woman living during a time when this was accepted medical opinion, and the fact that it’s rearing it’s ugly and benighted head in 2012 makes me want to hit my head against my desk until I’m unconscious.

This is a great illustration of why we need citizenry that is scientifically literate. So scientifically literate that politicians quit throwing out ridiculous crap like this in the hope that someone will buy it.

30 Her Royal Fabulousness { 08.20.12 at 8:09 pm }

I’m still waiting on the explanation of an “illegitimate rape” vs. a “legitimate rape.” What a f*cking moron. This made me scream with anger this morning, and rant on FB about it.

31 Bea { 08.20.12 at 8:20 pm }


I have nothing else to add.

32 Mali { 08.20.12 at 9:23 pm }

I saw this on a US friend’s FB page, and was gob-smacked. Today I see speculation he’s pulling out of the race. (No pun intended). I read this sort of thing, and feel for all my US friends. It even made our local newspaper on the other side of the world. Incomprehensible.

33 Chickenpig { 08.20.12 at 11:05 pm }

Oh, so THAT’S the problem. All the REs need to do is attach vibrators to the end of their dildo cams….DUH…why haven’t they thought of that?

34 jjiraffe { 08.20.12 at 11:07 pm }

This was reprehensible and disgusting and maybe the most offensive piece of garbage uttered this year. I have never in my lifetime seen such a continuous, relentless attack on the rights of women as I have in this year, 2012.

35 jjiraffe { 08.20.12 at 11:16 pm }
36 Alexicographer { 08.21.12 at 1:06 am }

Count me among the riled. Not surprised, but riled.

@Her Royal Fabulousness, per NPR on my drive home tonight (I am oversimplifying a bit, but dig out this evening’s broadcast of All Things Considered and look for this section if you’re interested), one of the types of rape that is not “legitimate” is statutory. So as to make sure that pregnant teens legally too young to consent are nonetheless not candidates for legal abortion. Got that?

@MrsTypeA, I just wanted to say thanks. I’m pretty liberal (well, I consider myself moderate, but by US standards…), but it’s good to know that there are plenty on the right who are also scandalized by this sort of idiocy, thank goodness.

37 JustHeather { 08.21.12 at 5:19 am }

Ugh! Sitting her with my jaw dropped and speechless. If only your “cure” were true. *snort*

38 JustHeather { 08.21.12 at 5:24 am }

Oh, Chickenpig, I literally LOL’d.

39 Tiara { 08.21.12 at 8:19 am }


40 Kristin { 08.21.12 at 1:26 pm }

And to think I was infertile because of PCOS. Now, if I could just get my partner on board…

41 Deborah { 08.21.12 at 1:52 pm }

What he meant when he said “legitimate” rape was as opposed to those that cry rape when it really wasn’t. You can be outraged about what Akin said, but no one can deny that this never happens. Unfortunate for all those that are truly raped, women have done this to other women. And when you consider the statistics regarding getting pregnant, as most infertile woman should be quite familiar with, one has to agree that it is probably pretty rare for pregnancy to occur from rape, even with no defense mechanicisms. We would all like to make Akin out to be a total dirtbag, and perhaps he is, but his statements are totally being taken out of context by many, you included.

42 Jennifer { 08.21.12 at 2:09 pm }
43 Coyote { 08.21.12 at 5:08 pm }

I get it! So, I miscarried at 11 weeks because I suddenly realized that, contrary to what I thought for the first 10 weeks, the IVF cycle was not “legitimate!” I had an illegitmate IVF cycle, so not only did my body refuse to continue the pregnancy, but I should try to get a refund. Right?? Right, Congressman Aikin???? THAT’S SCIENTIFIC, RIGHT???

44 Coyote { 08.21.12 at 5:12 pm }

In all seriousness, it’s pretty clear to me that the Republicans keep “testing” the waters with statements like this, every few years (Aldridge, Freind…) It’s almost like there really is an underground movement in the far right to slowly try to convince women that rape is ONLY done by strangers, and you have to show broken bones and bruises in order for it to be “legitimate.” It’s clear that some Republicans truly do believe this. They probably also don’t realize that men can be raped.

Mind you, I’m not suggesting anyone teach them that they CAN be.

45 Coyote { 08.21.12 at 5:17 pm }

Deborah, something is either rape, or it’s not. I’m not disputing the fact that sometimes people claim rape happened when it didn’t. What I am outraged by is the term “legitimate” rape. It implies there is some other kind. Rape is rape. There is no such thing as a “mild” rape or a “consensual” rape, or a “sexy” rape. Using the term “legitimate” implies there’s a hierarchy in rape… you know, that some rapes are “more rapey” than others. Rape is rape.

46 Denver Laura { 08.22.12 at 11:46 am }

That’s precisely my thoughts when I heard this. I’ve been “legitimately raped” for the last 5 years. Just another idiot who doesn’t how know the human reproductive system works, ya know, like you can get “legitimately raped” for the first part of your cycle because you haven’t ovulated yet? I want to force people like that to read and interpret fertility friend charts so they finally get a clue.

I actually actively worked on the campaign against Aldridge when he was running for re-election after his famous comments. And I wasn’t even thinking in the IF mindset at the time. That wasn’t the only stupid thing he said in his tenure… I was totally blindsided when he won re-election.

47 Stephanie { 08.24.12 at 8:32 am }

HE’s an uneducated ( in the women aspect anyway) idiot

48 APassageToBaby { 09.05.12 at 8:51 pm }

Thank you for posting this. Most of my friends don’t even know about our infertility issues and my parents are pro-life, so often I have to enrage to myself over this. You succinctly stated exactly what I was thinking.

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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