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GOP congressman and Senate nominee Todd Akin: Rape is an effective form of birth control

Not a doctor, but plays one on TV.

Our completely incorrect biology lesson today comes not from Chateau Heartiste or The Spearhead or EvoPsychBullshitBeliever997 on Reddit but from an actual elected official with influence in the real world:  Republican Congressman Todd Akin of Missouri, currently his party’s nominee for Senate.

In a recent interview with KTVI-TV, the Fox affiliate in St. Louis, he explained that the ladies just don’t get pregnant from rape — well, “legitimate rape” anyway. As he put it:

From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. 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 on the rapist and not attacking the child.

As The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake notes, this whole “rape as birth control” thing is not actually, you know, true:

Akin’s claim is one that pops up occasionally in social conservative circles. A federal judge nominated by President Bush in the early 2000s had said similar things, as have state lawmakers in North Carolina and Pennsylvania. …

According to a 1996 study, approximately 32,000 pregnancies result from rape annually in the United States, and about 5 percent of rape victims are impregnated.

Talking Points Memo notes that this isn’t the first time Akin has suggested that

some types of rape are more worthy of protections than others. As a state legislator, Akin voted in 1991 for an anti-marital-rape law, but only after questioning whether it might be misused “in a real messy divorce as a tool and a legal weapon to beat up on the husband,” according to … the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Akin: making up shit to deny rape victims their rights since 1991!

Currently, Akin has a big lead in the polls over his Democratic rival, sitting Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Here’s the relevant portion of Akin’s interview; you can find the whole thing at the Talking Points Memo link above.

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RubyHypatia
RubyHypatia
8 years ago

If it’s legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try and shut that down. Huh?!

cloudiah
8 years ago

Pam, could you try reposting because I feel like I know what you’re saying but my eyes are bleeding? 😉

Pam
Pam
8 years ago

Snowy, the Community of the Wrongly Accused documents false rape charges. It’s not as uncommon as you might think.
[link to cotwa]

In the sidebar at the cotwa site:

Successor to False Rape Society

False rape activist Paul Elam

a banner for A Voice for Men

Yep, I’d definitely put stock in that site as a legitimate source of information.

Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III
Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III
8 years ago

I know, Ruby. It’s like someone trying to shoehorn rape into some sort of ‘just world’ hypothesis and just ending up looking ridiculous.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

It’s kind of sad that I’m an atheist and I still understand Mary’s religion better than she does.

(Ie I knew what the passage in Corinthians was actually about.)

Pam
Pam
8 years ago

@cloudiah,

LOL!! Sorry ’bout that….. what is causing the damage, the blockquote fail, the verbosity of my reponse….. or mebbe both??

cloudiah
8 years ago

Just the blockquote fail, Pam, though I think I finally figured it out. 🙂

Pam
Pam
8 years ago

Just the blockquote fail, Pam, though I think I finally figured it out.

Okay, cool! Basically, the first few paragraphs I am quoting self-righteousmary’s response to you, and from the second set of quotation marks on down to the end is my response. I coulda made my response a hella shorter by simply saying “self-righteousmary is full of shit”, but I wanted to wipe her nose in it.

Dvärghundspossen
8 years ago

@Mary, Pam and others: Adding to what Pam said, it doesn’t even follow from “you ought to have sex with your spouse” that “there can be no such thing as marital rape”. I mean, Jesus taught that you ought to give all your money to the poor. It doesn’t follow that poor people have the right to break into my house and take my stuff, or that there’s no such thing as poor people committing theft.

katz
8 years ago

How does a man even know when he has obtained consent?

It is difficult to imagine how someone who wonders this can function on a daily basis and not get, say, locked up in panic at the bakery because she can’t tell whether she’s actually bought this bagel or not.

Pam
Pam
8 years ago

@Dvärghundspossen,

She reads that line, “Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent”, as a command, when Paul clearly stated that it was NOT a command, so for her the “there can be no such thing as marital rape” rightfully follows.
From previous encounters with her on this blog, I am of the opinion that she parrots what she has been told/taught about what the scriptures are saying, she hasn’t contemplated nor ruminated on the verses that she chooses to toss around in support of her arguments. When challenged on the meaning of various verses that she has tossed at us, she doesn’t respond directly to those challenges, she just runs off to the other “Christian” blogs that she frequents and wails about how we’re all a bunch of mean meanies.

Pam
Pam
8 years ago

And the “Christian” blogs that she frequents are of the ‘righteousness of male dominance and male supremacy’ variety, so is it any surprise that she believes there can be no such thing as marital rape? I mean, women were put on this earth for purpose of serving men and being vessels to receive their sperm and bear their (hopefully male!!) children.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

And now I have a mental image of a bunch of fundamentalist dudes patting Mary on the head like a dog, saying “good girl”, and offering her a biscuit.

Jayem Griffin
8 years ago

According to Paul, marriage itself is a concession. His ideal involved NO SEX EVER FOR ANYBODY.

…You really want to take this dude’s advice on sexual relationships with your spouse? I mean, of course you can. I’m just checking.

tasblacksmith
tasblacksmith
8 years ago

@sunshinemary this is getting weird, having wittnesed (hallelujah brothers and sisters!) your christian self hate you then go somewhat to redress this by pointing me toward what sounds like a reasonable definition of sexual assault/harrasment via Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle.
Thankyou?

EEB
EEB
8 years ago

The possibility that someone might lie about a crime happening is a pretty fucking stupid reason to make said crime legal.

Yeah, exactly. I don’t know why this is such a difficult concept. A friend of mine spent some time in jail because her roommate loaned my friend her credit card. After a horrible fight, the roommate called the cops and accused my friend of stealing her credit card. Since what my friend had done was technically illegal (and stupid) and it was she-said-she-said thing, she spent a few weeks in jail until the roommate calmed down and dropped the charges. Fits the entire MRA cliche about the vindictive ex*, right? By this logic, we shouldn’t have laws against credit card fraud and theft.

(*Except, unlike a girl claiming rape, the girl who made the accusation was a) not subjected to a horribly invasive investigation and b) automatically believed and treated like a victim, not a criminal, by the police. So. Not at all like rape, really.)

And the whole “how do you know if you have consent?” thing…OMG I can’t even. Are you being serious with this or just trolling? Because if you’re serious…wow. This website makes me question my faith in humanity, oh, two or three times a day, but this? Kind of makes me want to never leave my bedroom again. Ugh.

tasblacksmith
tasblacksmith
8 years ago

@sunshinemary just read your latest blog post plus comments. What is this strange and creepy cult you belong to?

Catfish
Catfish
8 years ago

I’d just want to add to the whole “false accusation” thing…
.. that most false accusations are not malicious, intentional attempts at slandering someone. Those are the minority of all the cases and often easily disproven or simply dismissed due to lack of evidence. It can have an effect on the innocent person’s life but getting jailtime etc. does not generally happen.

Most of the time, it’s a case of misidentification. There are also people who simply lie about getting raped without trying to blame it on someone since they refuse to name or claim not to know the attacker. The latter is wrong, and wastes police and social worker resources (including time) but is otherwise a victimless crime. Apart from it’s effect on rape culture…

Sometimes it can even be a case of miscommunication. Always, always, always ask and make sure you have the other participant’s consent. If they just lie down immobile, it’s not good sex to begin with.

The problem really is in the attitudes of the society.
Rape is a very underreported crime. False accusations are blown out of proportions – and even when they do occur, that does not mean that rape accusations in general should be taken lightly.

I’d much prefer to talk about one issue at a time without trying to derail it into other subjects, even if they are related. When talking about rape victims, let’s talk about them. When talking about false accusations then talk about them. It does no-one good to keep distracting others from the issue originally being discussed. It may even appear… well, douchy. “Because x happens too, y should not be discussed” is not a valid argument.

Cliff Pervocracy has excellent posts about the subject of false rape accusations.

Catfish
Catfish
8 years ago

As for the subject itself… I shared this on FB because I was just too shocked. I’m not an american, but reading about people in power saying things like this scares the daylights out of me 🙁
There’s too much shaming flung at rape victims to begin with.

feministgamer
feministgamer
8 years ago

So ashamed right now (I live in St. Louis), but then, I’m so happy that this has gotten so much coverage. I really hope this helps shed light on what Akin really stands for.

bespectacledape
8 years ago

May he crash, burn, and ultimately learn what the consequences of his worldview are for real people.

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
8 years ago

sunshinemary just read your latest blog post plus comments. What is this strange and creepy cult you belong to?

She’s in the Quiverfull movement. They teach that women are supposed to stay out of higher education and the work world, and instead marry young and have as many babies as possible. It’s a Christian patriarchy movement, so they want women to be obedient to their husbands, no matter what. So for them, it would be impossible for a husband to rape a wife, because the wife is expected to always give her consent anyway. Quiverfull groups teach that feminists are the root cause of all societal problems, probably because we keep telling girls and women that they don’t have to live that lifestyle if they don’t want to.

So ashamed right now (I live in St. Louis), but then, I’m so happy that this has gotten so much coverage. I really hope this helps shed light on what Akin really stands for.

I feel the same way, feministgamer. I’m in Joplin, and Akin is very popular around here, even though he doesn’t support storm recovery efforts. I’m also glad about his comments getting big media attention, so hopefully more Missouri voters can find out how much of an extremist he really is.

hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

False rape accusations have very serious consequences.

Yes, men are very nearly almost inconvenienced. The horror!

While Driscoll may have a good point about rape and or harassment (stopped clocks and all that), Mars Hill is pretty cult-like.

howardbann1ster
howardbann1ster
8 years ago

Hey, Sunshinemary, are you still bearing false witness against your neighbor?

Karalora
Karalora
8 years ago

@sunshinemary

Pastor Mark Driscoll seems eminently reasonable to me. But what really intrigues me is this notion you have that you are more authoritative when it comes to morality and Biblical interpretation than a, you know, pastor. Didn’t Paul have nasty things to say about women attempting to instruct men in matters of religion? Don’t you fundamentalists looooooove those verses because they back up your patriarchal ideals?

Amnesia
Amnesia
8 years ago

How does a man even know when he has obtained consent? What if she says yes and then later claims she said no? You do realize that any of you who are men could have such a thing happen to you, right? Just because you think of yourselves as feminists will not protect you from out-of-control “rape” laws.

Matthew 5:37- Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

Also, you do realize that if a woman wanted to falsely accuse a man of rape, sex wouldn’t even be a necessary component. She could just say that he did it. Technically, men are in danger of false accusations all the time. So why only worry about being falsely accused when sex is actually involved?
CONSTANT VIGILANCE, MEN!

ostara321
ostara321
8 years ago

I guess non-Christians can handle their relations however they want, but it makes no sense to have a marriage in which the partners cannot reasonably expect sexual expression to occur. That reduces them from husband and wife to room-mates.

Um, I’m pretty sure no one here expects people who are married to never have sex. What we do expect is for both partners to respect each other’s bodies and wishes about them.

People like Mary make me very much more firmly in the “nonbeliever” camp because, quite frankly, if your God thinks I have no right to give consent to things that happen to my own body, I want no part in worshiping that God.

Pam
Pam
8 years ago

Didn’t Paul have nasty things to say about women attempting to instruct men in matters of religion?

Yes, in some areas where he was spreading the gospel (eg., Ephesia, Corinth), but not all (eg., Rome).

Don’t you fundamentalists looooooove those verses because they back up your patriarchal ideals?

Yes, they do, whilst completely ignoring other verses where he referred to, as apostles and deacons, women (and men) who had worked with him.

blitzgal
8 years ago

Now the standard is “if she says it was rape, then it was rape.”

The arrest rate for reported rapes is 25%. 13% of those cases end up in a conviction. So, only 1 out of 4 accused rapists is even arrested in this country, and just over 1 in 10 of those people are ultimately convicted. Basically, the exact OPPOSITE of what you said is the case.

Sharculese
8 years ago

How does a man even know when he has obtained consent?

possibly by having a serious conversation of what consent is instead reflexively hand-wringing about how super duper hard it is to not rape people, duh.

it turns out it’s much easier to get things done when you think about them instead of childishly huff-puffing about the difficulty of words meaning things

Sharculese
8 years ago

Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, in his sermon entitled Disgrace and Grace, said that rape is “Any type of sexual behavior or contact where consent is not freely given or obtained and is accomplished through force, intimidation, violence, coercion, manipulation, threat, deception, or abuse of authority…And it manifests itself in three ways: “The ‘acts’ can be physical, verbal, or psychological.” In the age of bullying and the Internet, in the age of certain inappropriate speech and conduct, it just, it can be physical contact that connotes sexual assault, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. It also can be verbal and/or psychological.”

i know this usually rutee’s question but are you illiterate?

can you really not tell, in that definition, the difference between ‘non-consensual sexual behavior’ and saying thing?

pillowinhell
pillowinhell
8 years ago

Sunshine mary, in past times ‘reasonable” people looked at women who cried rape and said “the slut had it coming” or “you’re married now, what goes on behind closed doors is no on elses business, quit airiing your dirty laundry”. It was a very, very rare woman who was believed and even then she usually had serious social sanctions (like being forced to marry her rapist) to deal with.

If you want to live you’re ife that allows any man at any time to rape you and you pay the consequences for that, fine. Just realize that many, many women will commit suicide or endanger their lives to not have to carry a rapists child.

And that’s what really gets me pissed. The fact that women will be put at risk for suicide or serious self harm over what amounts to a few cells.

Sharculese
8 years ago

If you want to live you’re ife that allows any man at any time to rape you and you pay the consequences for that, fine. Just realize that many, many women will commit suicide or endanger their lives to not have to carry a rapists child.

odds that sneerymary starts claiming people here called her husband a rapist: 100%

Seraph
Seraph
8 years ago

From previous encounters with her on this blog, I am of the opinion that she parrots what she has been told/taught about what the scriptures are saying, she hasn’t contemplated nor ruminated on the verses that she chooses to toss around in support of her arguments. When challenged on the meaning of various verses that she has tossed at us, she doesn’t respond directly to those challenges, she just runs off to the other “Christian” blogs that she frequents and wails about how we’re all a bunch of mean meanies.

A lot of fundamentalists run into this problem when they use verses that they either find extremely convincing themselves, or which they have been told are “magic bullets” that liberals can’t answer, and are met with actual arguments (or worse, dismissal – “Why should I care what the Bible says” doesn’t really compute with people who’ve built their whole lives on the Bible’s authority). Since their arguments are so self-evidently true, the only way you can be arguing against them is if you’re in willful, malicious denial.

Seraph
Seraph
8 years ago

Neither spouse has the right to refuse sexual relations unless the other agrees to abstain, too. For Christians, there can be no such thing as marital rape.

I guess non-Christians can handle their relations however they want,

Anybody else think this was an attempt to put us on the defensive? I imagine in Mary’s world (or at least in her mind) the other side would be forced to prove their Christian Credentials before they could continue arguing. She wasn’t ready for us to say “Exactly! Thanks for conceding our point!”

Pam
Pam
8 years ago

the only way you can be arguing against them is if you’re in willful, malicious denial.

OR, if female, you’re in rebellion against proper, God-given male authority over you. Perhaps that is why self-righteousmary doesn’t delve any deeper than what she has been told by the male authority over her, she doesn’t want to be disciplined, like a disobedient child, for her ‘rebellious nature’.

Pam
Pam
8 years ago

I guess non-Christians can handle their relations however they want,

I was LMAO reading this quoted sentence with the latter portion of it removed, as now I can easily imagine self-righteousmary finishing it off with “since they’re going to hell, anyway!”

Amused
8 years ago

If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.

Great. Now rape defendants in Missouri will start using the victim’s pregnancy as “evidence”
of consent.

bekabot
bekabot
8 years ago

“My grandmother is very Christian (Episcopalian), and she would be horrified to be associated with most of the stuff Mary says.”

Episcopalians aren’t Christian, let alone “very Christian”, in Sunshine Mary’s book. Episcopalians are basically the American version of Anglicans, who are the next-worst thing to Catholics. When the roll is called up yonder, they’ll be frying away with all the other idolaters.

The SunshineMary variety of Evangelical Protestantism has done away with a lot of the traditional Protestant tropes (too much Boston, too much Massachusetts, too much communitarianism, too much conscience and too many no-fun Puritan fathers) but that’s one they’ve kept.

katz
8 years ago

Pastor Mark Driscoll seems eminently reasonable to me.

Dear God, no!

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
8 years ago

Episcopalians aren’t Christian, let alone “very Christian”, in Sunshine Mary’s book. Episcopalians are basically the American version of Anglicans, who are the next-worst thing to Catholics. When the roll is called up yonder, they’ll be frying away with all the other idolaters.

Exactly, the fundie church I went to as a kid taught us that liberal Christians are “lukewarm”, and that makes worse than nonbelievers. If people don’t speak in tongues, cry, and all that during church, then they’re not the real deal.*

*Not that I am saying that is my belief as an adult. I’m an atheist now so I don’t think it’s any of my business what anyone else believes.

Great. Now rape defendants in Missouri will start using the victim’s pregnancy as “evidence” of consent.

Nothing would surprise me any more now that the Show Me state has veered off into Tea Party hell. At least let it be noted how many of us in Missouri are horrified by what our politicians say.

Karalora
Karalora
8 years ago

@katz

I guess I stand corrected. However, that one comment about the breadth of things that potentially qualify as sexual assault is still reasonable.

cloudiah
8 years ago

Apparently Akin was trying for damage control on Huckabee’s show today, and said what he meant was “forcible” rape. And he somehow thinks that makes it better?

katz
8 years ago

Yes, his sexual assault definition was reasonable.

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
8 years ago

I don’t think Akin can do too much damage control, because he believes what he said. The Turner Report has a good blog post on some of Akin’s other “gaffes”. As bad as I dislike Billy Long (aka Big Hat, no Cattle), I really despise Todd Akin. Now I’m betting the Missouri Republican party is going to give him the boot and choose a new Senate nominee. Then again, I shouldn’t expect Missouri Republicans to make smart, pragmatic decisions.

aworldanonymous
8 years ago

Oh deary me, Mary is back?

aworldanonymous
8 years ago

Also, on the bright side, at least this news will make a few people reconsider their support of this guy.

BigMomma
BigMomma
8 years ago

Akin being pressured to resign, a report from the BBC

and i just heard the same story, right now, on my local radio all the way in rural Australia

ithiliana
ithiliana
8 years ago

BigMomma: Great news!

And here’s a statement by a professional organization of obstetricians and gynecologists smacking him down:

http://www.acog.org/About_ACOG/News_Room/News_Releases/2012/Statement_on_Rape_and_Pregnancy

Nanasha
Nanasha
8 years ago

If you don’t have any idea whether or not you’ve gotten consent, it’s better to err on the side of caution and NOT HAVE SEX. Seriously, no one has ever died from not having sex- even if you want to talk about religion, some of the most famous religious figures were celibate.

Honestly, I can’t understand the whole idea of “not knowing” that someone does not want to have sex with you. When you hug someone and they try to pull away and struggle, doesn’t that show they don’t want to be hugged? If you push someone under the water until they stop struggling, does that mean they “asked” to be drowned?

You know what I think? I think that most people KNOW what it means to do something against someone else’s will. I think it’s blindingly obvious and people who don’t respect others space are the people who know damn well what the hell they’re doing.

If a person is a predator, that person is in the wrong, not the person who is being predated upon.