Posted 8/24/12 by Melisa Noriega in News

Legitimate Rape

Todd Akin began as any regular college student. He came from a lineage of three Harvard grads, but ended up at Worcester Polytechnic Institute as an engineering major. He was a frat bro, a member of Phi Gamma Delta. After graduation, he served in the U.S. Army, and 13 years after graduating from WPI earned another degree, this time a divinity degree from Covenant Theological Seminary. What was a boy who was an engineer, a former military officer, and a minister to do next? Of course, become a politician. In his early years in the House of Representatives, he pursued many less-than-noble causes, such as voting for carrying concealed weapons and against increased spending in parks and education. In 1995 he fought against state-funding for abortion, thus beginning a career-long plight.

In 2011, Akin announced his decision to run for U.S. Senate, hoping to oust current Democratic senator Claire McCaskill. Since this announcement he’s had the opportunity to give many interviews where he talks freely about his love for religion and hatred for liberals. For example, in a radio interview with Tony Perkins from the Family Research Council, Akin explained how “liberalism really is a hatred for God” and that a separation of church and state will “tear the heart out of our country”.

And then it happened. The most colossal politician-speech screw up since Sarah Palin’s less-than-accurate Paul Revere story, only this one was much more offensive and not at all funny.

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare… If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” 

I don’t think this quote necessitates much commentary. I can assure all of you who may have for a second believed this preposterous accusation (maybe you’re drunk?) that it is indeed not correct. In fact, Dr. Melisa Holmes, a distinguished OB/GYN, told LiveScience,

“Physiologically, if the sperm is in the vagina, a pregnancy can occur, regardless of the circumstances of how that sperm got there…A rape is a rape, and a woman has the same physical and emotional consequences whether she’s raped by a stranger in a dark alley or someone she’s known for five years.”

So in case you didn’t actually get that in your sex ed class, there it is again. Peepee + hooha = baby, if you have sex you will get pregnant and die, etc.

Republicans are pleading Todd Akin to go away, cutting off his funding and openly disagreeing with his statement. But Todd Akin is only one tiny problem for the party. The bigger issue Republicans are avoiding here is women’s rights. Although most Republicans would not have the gall to ‘legitimize’ some rape and not others, most would tell you they don’t support abortion. Most reject Obamacare and its commitment to allowing women to have access to free birth control, along with no copays for well-women visits, gestational diabetes screening, HPV DNA testing, STI counseling, HIV screening, breastfeeding supplies, and domestic violence screening. This is an important issue, one that you need to form your own opinion about. It’s one that requires research and thought about what you think people deserve from their healthcare system. Luckily, it’s an issue that is central to the election this November, so if you haven’t already, register to vote!

Irony – Akin is a member of the House Science Committee. I think that, as someone who hopes to become a doctor, this man has no business contributing any ideas about science, especially if he continues consulting with his ‘doctors’. If you think Akin should be removed from the House Science Committee, sign the petition: http://dccc.org/Denounce-Todd-Akin.


What do you think should happen to Todd Akin? Do you think he still has a chance to win the Senate seat, and what are your thoughts on the “legitimate rape” comment? Leave a comment below.

Melisa Noriega

Melisa Noriega
Hello! My name is Melisa (with one 's') and I'm a Harvard University undergraduate concentrating in biomedical engineering. I hope one day to become a surgeon, so basically to waste away my golden years in medical school. During the summer I work on the MESSENGER Mission to Mercury at the JHU Applied Physics Laboratory, which isn't exactly related to my major, but it's close to home so I get home-cooked meals and my laundry done for me. At school I'm heavily involved in Model United Nations and watching a little too much Grey's Anatomy (dreaming about becoming Christina Yang). Last year I was one of Seventeen Magazine's Freshman 15, so I'm excited to continue blogging!