Wait, you didn’t know that? That’s amazing. I would think that everyone on the planet would know that by now – oh, wait, the reason you don’t know is because you have a brain.
I know I should no longer be shocked, but I’m astonished, absolutely blown the hell away by the amount of people – men, mostly (I hate to make it a man-woman thing, but let’s look at the facts, let’s look at the individuals who are making these statements) – who have no idea how the female reproductive system works.
I swore I mentioned some time ago about Stephen Freind (though I can’t find it now so maybe I talked about it somewhere else), state Rep. from Pennsylvania, who said in 1988 that the odds of a woman becoming pregnant from rape are “one in millions and millions and millions,” because the traumatic experience of rape causes a woman to “secrete a certain secretion” that tends to kill sperm. The man couldn’t even name said secretion, and the pathetic use of the same root word as both the verb and the noun in that statement just reeks of ‘I’m pulling this all out of my ass as we speak.’ Luckily, doctors in Philadelphia spoke up and said this is completely baseless. Freind later attempted to retract this statement and cover it up with a fake misunderstanding, that it is actually the lack of a secretion that prevents ovulation from taking place in many rape victims. Basically that the stress of the rape prevents you from ovulating, and therefore you don’t get pregnant. While this may be coming from a place of truth (we’ve all had that messed up cycle during times of stress), it’s so inherently twisted. I’m amazed he even has enough knowledge of the effect of stress on onvulation to make it this far. Yes, if a woman is a day or so before her normal ovulation and she is raped, sure, it may end up delaying that egg from dropping. However, what if she started ovulating that day? Or she ovulated yesterday? The egg isn’t going to suddenly drop out of existence from stress. Nice try Freind, nice try.
Later, in the mid-90s, state Rep. Henry Aldridge, out of North Carolina, supported his opinion that “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. Medical authorities agree that this is a rarity, if ever.” What medical authorities was this man speaking to? Yes, when women are raped, the juices do not flow. None of the self-lubrication associated with good-time sex is likely to occur. But that doesn’t mean the entire system is shut down. He then took it a step further, saying, “To get pregnant, it takes a little cooperation. And there ain’t much cooperation in a rape.” This can go two ways. He’s not only saying that you can’t get pregnant from rape, but that if you do get pregnant, then it wasn’t rape.
And now, in 2012, we have Rep. Todd Akin. “First of all, 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.” What I want to know, Akin, first of all, is what makes a rape illegitimate? I need to know, so that I have a basis by which to qualify the legitimate ones. He firmly believes that the punishment should be on the attacker and not the child. Okay, fair enough, but when you imply that if there’s a pregnancy then there was no rape, then you’re saying there was no attacker. There is no spoon! In an adorable attempt to cover his own ignorance, he said that he “misspoke” and that it was an “off-the-cuff” remark. WHAT? One, to say that as a politician, running for office, in a televised interview, you would even make an off-the-cuff comment about rape is just disgusting. Absolutely abhorrent. Two, to say you misspoke means you meant to say something else, and no where in your statement about misspeaking did you make any clarification about what you meant to say.
One study actually shows that just the opposite of all this blathering is true: That a single act of rape may be more than twice as likely to make a woman pregnant as a single act of consensual sex. One possibility is that when ovulating women unconsciously give off signals that attract men – and rapists – which is something that dates back to the stone ages. It was an evolutionary need to bang when you were most fertile, and even though today this is no longer necessary, the vibes still exist, although it’s unclear whether men consciously notice these. In those stone ages, the alpha males (power and control, what rape is all about) sought out those fertile women. Regardless of the reason, none of it means the victim is in some way to blame.
The facts of rape and pregnancy are simple. Five percent of all (reported) rapes result in pregnancy. If you were in a room with 20 rape victims, one of them became pregnant. If she was one of the few amazingly brave women who saw that as some kind of silver lining (my cousin-in-law’s biological mother is one), and she chose to have a baby, and either raise it or give it up for adoption, that’s great. I have nothing but admiration for that. But if she’s like the thousands of others who want no part in that, then her rights should not be taken away. To the anti-choicers who say why should an innocent child have to suffer for something someone else did, I say turn that around: Why should a rapist become a parent?
In all of this, I’m left just wondering… where do these people come from? I know women’s bodies are mythical, and that we’re capable of some pretty awesome things, but self-created contraception? If we were that powerful, we wouldn’t be fighting so hard for the doctor-prescribed contraception that you guys are trying so desperately to take away!