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Reactions to Akin's Rape and Pregnancy Remarks Including a Rape Survivor Who Became Pregnant

By August 20, 2012

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If I could push a button and get rid of the biggest idiot currently in Congress, Rep. Todd Akin (R-Missouri) would be out on his ass. I'm stating this opinion crudely and bluntly for good reason: I can barely contain my anger. And I know I'm not alone. Millions of women would be pounding that button in outrage. (Especially rape survivor Renee Devesty whose story is at the end of this post.)

Akin is currently running for the Senate seeking to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

If he even had the ghost of a chance, yesterday he blew it when Akinstold KTVI-TV:

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.

As NBC News reports, everybody is piling on him, especially his own party:

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who heads the GOP's Senate campaign efforts, called Akin's statements "wrong, offensive, and indefensible." He called on Akin to "carefullyconsider what is best for him, his family, the Republican Party, and the values that he cares about and has fought for throughout his career in public service."

Former congresswoman and current Senate candidate from New Mexico, Heather Wilson, has also called on Akin to step aside.

Other Republicans have also been critical of Akin, including presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who called the congressman's remarks "inexcusable."

Joanne Bamberger, a political analyst and frequent network news commentator who blogs as PunditMom, tweeted to her followers:

Angry over Rep. Akin's remarks on "legitimate rape"? Please join me, @Kari Dahlen & @Laurie White by making a $5 contribution to Sen. Claire McCaskill's campaign. #$5-4-McCaskill

Even ACOG, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, was disgusted and immediately issued a response to Akin's idiotic statement:

Recent remarks by a member of the US House of Representatives suggesting that "women who are victims of 'legitimate rape' rarely get pregnant" are medically inaccurate, offensive, and dangerous.

Each year in the US, 10,000-15,000 abortions occur among women whose pregnancies are a result of reported rape or incest. An unknown number of pregnancies resulting from rape are carried to term. There is absolutely no veracity to the claim that "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down." A woman who is raped has no control over ovulation, fertilization, or implantation of a fertilized egg (ie, pregnancy). To suggest otherwise contradicts basic biological truths.

Any person forced to submit to sexual intercourse against his or her will is the victim of rape, a heinous crime. There are no varying degrees of rape. To suggest otherwise is inaccurate and insulting and minimizes the serious physical and psychological repercussions for all victims of rape.

If Akin continues to cling to his Senate campaign, he does so at the displeasure of his own political party along with medical professionals, survivors of rape, and women everywhere who are disgusted that such ignorance found its way into Congress. It's time for him to step down from his campaign and from Congress. There is no place in the political process for someone so backward-thinking and insensitive and just plain stupid.

Survivor and rape victim advocate Renee Devesty -- who became pregnant after a violent rape, chose to end her pregnancy, and broke her many years of silence to write about her experience for this website -- was livid when she heard Akin's comments. She told me:

I don't even know what to say. I'm furious. I'm just furious that this statement could be thrown out there. Can't Akin understand what goes on in your mind when you are raped? And when you find out that you are pregnant? That's insanity. I can't even find the words to say how insane that is... that he could think any woman can choose to decide not to become pregnant after being raped. That the body could "shut that whole thing down."

How can you validate rape? How can you categorize rape? How can you decide what is "legitimate rape" and illegitimate rape? I am so angry that these comments are being thrown out there casually with no regard for the emotional and psychological process that these women go through. There's so much damage done when a woman is raped and it takes years to move past what happened. We didn't have a choice when we were raped. It's insane to say our bodies have the ability to shut down that process. Just insane.

Update: After our phone interview, DeVesty went on to write a powerful commentary for Salon.com. It's painful, devastating, and honest. Both her Salon piece and her story here on About.com reveal difficult truths about the aftermath of rape and what it takes to survive.

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August 22, 2012 at 7:58 am
(1) Johannes John says:

I completely agree, this is insanity and shows again the tiranny of the Man in Politics. I am a man myselve, but I cant understand the heartless attitude of heart, to woman who have been brutally been molested raped. If they get pregnant or not, they should have a heart of love and care and not that OF A SATANIST! For me mann who come with such Statements, are nothing else as Satanist!

One should think that they are Rapers themselves? Well let me tell as I see it! They are Rapers, raping the heart and the souls of many woman who have gone through such hard times… Seems that they think that being raped ones is not enoug. So just thow another Stick of Statement between their legs, so that the woman will be RAPED AGAIN. This HAS TO STOP!

I am just as outrageous as many woman are. I am not a woman, but I am a true loving, caring mann. May God bless al the woman who have gone through such a hard time. I hope that my Words will be of litte comfort for you.. And I am ashamed to be a mann when I see these Demon like Man making such Satanic Staments..

Apostle Prophet MInstrel Johannes John

August 22, 2012 at 3:41 pm
(2) rox says:

I am a rape survivor, at age thirteen the world changed as I knew it. This is the first time I’ve ever written about it, however, my decision to speak up goes beyond telling my story.

Women feel compelled to take a side on the abortion issue; Id like to ask: what about the issue to have a say over our own selves as people? Will losing sight of that issue be the undoing of all females regardless of your position on abortion, women’s rights, or religion/politics?

Paul Ryan, Todd Akin are only symptoms of a bigger and more frightening issue; the issue of how women regard themselves as individuals.

While never a raging feminist in the 60s and 70s, I did feel compelled to ask for equal treatment and realized that most often, it didn’t happen. It felt wrong then and it feels wrong now.

In thinking about the current debate, is it easier to let others make decisions for me? Is it better to give up taking responsibility for myself? I would urge all women, young and old to think about stepping up rather than giving up.

I believe that we need to set aside our political and religious differences, stand together and let it be known that we can think for ourselves and we will settle for nothing less.

Rape may be the topic of the day, whether you are a rape survivor or not, whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, mother, daughter or wife, we are all female. We are the only people able to effect the change needed today to ensure that women always have say over their lives, bodies, minds and spirits.

I want to keep the freedom to decide how I lead my life, why, where and when I lead it. Ill live with the consequences. That’s the real issue being debated not rape or abortion or anything else that’s the hot button topic of the day. It’s about personal freedom, our personal freedom. Speak up, shout out and above all stand together – we are our own hope for the future of all women, our families and our country.

Roxanne Goodfellow

August 24, 2012 at 3:24 am
(3) Veronica says:

I can’t even begin to think of the words to describe this insanity. But I’ll say this: Akin and other Republicans who make equally outrageous remarks should have NO BUSINESS serving the people–AT ALL!

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