Congratulations, Missouri Rep. Todd Akin. You just found a way to make your “starve the schoolkids” remarks sound charming. Now, you may have accused women who are impregnated due to sexual assault of probably somehow wanting it.
But Akins is by no means the first politician to claim that women can somehow perform some sort of biological hormonal self-defense to prevent conception when it comes to a sexual attack. A Pennsylvania Republican said in 1988 that rape victims “secrete a certain secretion” during an attack that will kill the attacker’s sperm. Another Republican, this time in North Carolina said the opposite, that a woman’s “juices don’t flow” and that prevents pregnancy.
“The facts show that people who are raped — who are truly raped — the juices don’t flow, the body functions don’t work and they don’t get pregnant,” said Aldridge, a 71-year-old periodontist. “Medical authorities agree that this is a rarity, if ever.”
And there it is again — “truly raped.” If there was any doubt of the meaning, when asked to clarify if he believed rape victims were promiscuous, Aldridge said, “To get pregnant, it takes a little cooperation. And there ain’t much cooperation in a rape.”
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The list sadly goes on and on. Last spring Idaho State Senator Chuck Winder made his “rape issues” comment suggesting women get tested to see if the pregnancy was “truly caused by a rape.” The words created so much backlash they were believed to be partially responsible for torpedoing the state’s mandatory ultrasound law, which was expected to pass easily into law.
Akin has already said he would ban the morning after pill, an effective method to prevent pregnancy within 72 hours after unprotected sex, however that sex occurs. Anti-choicers are against emergency contraception, however, because they falsely conflate it with an abortifacient.
Is the “legitimate,” “truly,” and “alleges she has been” raped language an attempt to say that rape victims aren’t really victims at all on some level, or just that you can never trust a woman when she tells you she has been raped? Considering the misogyny behind either position, does it really matter?