Tag Archives: science

A lesson in biology for Todd Akin

20 Aug

Todd Akin (R-Missouri) has come under fire for some strange comments on how he thinks biology works for rape victims. Apparently, if it was a “legitimate rape,” you’d have no possibility of becoming pregnant because your body wouldn’t let it happen.

Now, ducks’ bodies do work like that. If a lady duck gets raped, she has trick cervices and things to prevent contraception. Maybe Akin saw too many duck face photos on Facebook and got confused.

In reality, over 30,000 pregnancies per year are the result of rape. (And who knows how many more would be, if not for Plan B and other emergency solutions.)

He has sort of retracted the statement, saying he misspoke – but he hasn’t corrected what he said.

Evidently, there is a long history of Republican candidates who have made up similar things – everything from sperm-fighting secretions to arousal being a prerequisite to fertility to traumatized women can’t have babies. (All of these ideas have been debunked many times by medical societies, such as the American Fertility Society and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists… and many, many more.) Or maybe there’s no medical reason, but a statistical improbability. (It’s actually about a 5 percent chance — the same as your chance of getting a cold or flu after exposure.)

People are making this into an abortion argument. But before we can discuss any of that (no matter which side of the fence you sit on), it’s important to know the biological facts of rape and pregnancy. Maybe it’s been too long since politicians have taken a personal health course — we should get them all in a room together and teach a seminar on reproductive health, middle school style.

Until that can happen, it’s extremely important to rock the vote this November. Get yourself registered.