Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) defended former Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO)’s claim that women who are victims of a “legitimate rape” can’t get pregnant. Speaking to the Marrietta Daily Journal, Gingrey, a doctor who is co-chair of the GOP’s Doctor Caucus, stuck by Akin’s distinction between “legitimate” and “illegitimate rapes”:
And in Missouri, Todd Akin … was asked by a local news source about rape and he said, ‘Look, in a legitimate rape situation’ — and what he meant by legitimate rape was just look, someone can say I was raped: a scared-to-death 15-year-old that becomes impregnated by her boyfriend and then has to tell her parents, that’s pretty tough and might on some occasion say, ‘Hey, I was raped.’ That’s what he meant when he said legitimate rape versus non-legitimate rape. I don’t find anything so horrible about that. But then he went on and said that in a situation of rape, of a legitimate rape, a woman’s body has a way of shutting down so the pregnancy would not occur. He’s partly right on that…
I’ve delivered lots of babies, and I know about these things. It is true. We tell infertile couples all the time that are having trouble conceiving because of the woman not ovulating, ‘Just relax. Drink a glass of wine. And don’t be so tense and uptight because all that adrenaline can cause you not to ovulate.’ So he was partially right wasn’t he?
Gingrey manages to repeat two pernicious falsehoods in short order. First, falsely reported rapes are extremely rare — much rarer than unreported rapes, which often happen because victims are afraid of being called liars by people like Gingrey. Second, rape simply does not lower the risk of pregnancy.
During the 2012 election, several candidates (including Akin, then running for the Senate) made false and insensitive comments about rape. All of them lost.
Not surprisingly, Gingrey has maintained a staunchly anti-choice voting record in the House.
(HT: National Journal.)