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GOP Congressman: Todd Akin Was “Partly Right” About “Legitimate Rape”

Georgia Congressman Phil Gingrey says that former Congressman Todd Akin was partly correct when he made his controversial comments about so-called “legitimate rape”:

Rep. Phil Gingrey has waded dangerously into the “legitimate rape” debate that helped derail two Republican Senate candidates in 2012.

Gingrey, a Georgia Republican, defended Missouri Republican and former Rep. Todd Akin’s controversial suggestion last year that women who endure a “legitimate rape” have biological mechanisms to ” shut that whole thing down” and prevent pregnancy.

(…)

Gingrey: “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.”

“And 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? But the fact that a woman may have already ovulated 12 hours before she is raped, you’re not going to prevent a pregnancy there by a woman’s body shutting anything down because the horse has already left the barn, so to speak. And yet the media took that and tore it apart.”

Gingrey is an Ob/Gyn and is purporting to use his authority as a doctor to back up this claim, even though there doesn’t seem to be much merit to it,, and there are countless causes of women getting pregnant via rape. Leaving the facts aside for a moment, though, I really have to wonder what it is that compels people like Akin, Richard Mourdock, and now Gingery to make comments like this about a subject as sensitive as rape. Can they possibly really be this stupid?

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Rafer Janders says:

    Leaving the facts aside for a moment, though, I really have to wonder what it is that compels people like Akin, Richard Mourdock, and now Gingery to make comments like this about a subject as sensitive as rape. Can they possibly really be this stupid?

    Why are you asking us? It’s your party. These are the people you think best qualified to be in charge. So why don’t you ask them?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 36 Thumb down 7

  2. Rafer Janders says:

    Can they possibly really be this stupid?

    Let’s not discount evil.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 3

  3. C. Clavin says:

    “…I really have to wonder what it is that compels people like Akin, Richard Mourdock, and now Gingery to make comments like this about a subject as sensitive as rape. Can they possibly really be this stupid?..”

    Just Republicans being Republicans.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 3

  4. Moosebreath says:

    “I really have to wonder what it is that compels people like Akin, Richard Mourdock, and now Gingery to make comments like this about a subject as sensitive as rape. Can they possibly really be this stupid?”

    Becuase it’s what their supporters need to believe in order to avoid having a rape exception to any ban on abortions, as their supporters require as a litmus test to vote for them.

    Now the rest of us have to wonder what it is that compels people who claim to believe in individual rights and freedom to support a party with large numbers of leaders who feel the need to make comments like this in order to win elections.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 45 Thumb down 3

  5. Jeremy says:

    @Rafer Janders: How many times do you have to ask before it gets through your thick, granite encrusted skull that Doug is not a Republican?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 15

  6. CSK says:

    I’m sure all the women raped by the soldiers of invading and conquering armies will be thrilled to know that the pregnancies that resulted were merely figments of their overwrought imaginations.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 2

  7. michael reynolds says:

    Relax and drink a glass of wine and you’ll conceive. No wonder he doesn’t practice anymore.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 35 Thumb down 1

  8. Moosebreath says:

    @Jeremy:

    How many times do you need to see Doug carry water for Republicans (and state he would never vote for Democrats) before it gets through your skull that, despite his protests, he is effectively a Republican.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 7

  9. Rafer Janders says:

    ‘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.’

    Why do I get the uncomfortable feeling that this was also Gingrey’s seduction technique when he was out on a date….?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  10. Rafer Janders says:

    @Moosebreath:

    Doug went on and on that he wasn’t voting for either Romney or Obama in the last election. But he never makes the same fuss about not voting for the GOP candidate in Virginia for governor, senator, congressman, etc.

    We know he votes. We know he doesn’t vote for Democrats. So…what’s left to vote for?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 2

  11. Rob in CT says:

    Your 21st century Republican Party, folks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  12. mantis says:

    Can they possibly really be this stupid?

    Yes.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 0

  13. stonetools says:

    Can they possibly really be this stupid?

    They are either stupid, wicked, or insane. Take your pick.

    He did time it right, though. Right after the election, and long enough before the next election that the outrage will have subsided by then.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  14. Mikey says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Your 21st century Republican Party, folks.

    Unfortunately, they are far from the 21st century in mentality. Gingrey’s an old (71) Southern white guy, with the worldview of an old Southern white guy.

    Gingrey graduated from high school the same year as my mother, and I’m sure Gingrey has as little in common with my daughter as he does with any young woman.

    And the GOP is becoming a group of Gingreys, which is the fundamental problem with it in 2012. It’s no wonder they’re losing with young women–they don’t represent young women (or young people in general) at all.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  15. Rafer Janders says:

    @stonetools:

    They are either stupid, wicked, or insane.

    Let me fix this for you: They are either stupid, wicked, or AND insane.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  16. stonetools says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Doug may not be officially a Republican, but he is a Republican fellow traveler. He is really a RIABN ( Republican in all but name).

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  17. swbarnes2 says:

    @Jeremy:

    How many times do you have to ask before it gets through your thick, granite encrusted skull that Doug is not a Republican?

    He votes for Republicans, that’s what matters.

    Gary Johnson is a Republican.

    Doug also said he had “no regrets” voting for “mandatory vaginal probing” Bob McDonnell, co-author of the National Republican platform.

    And you know, Doug never objects to this stuff. He says it makes Republicans look bad to voice their sincere belief in McDonnell’s platform, but he never says his pal wrote an immoral platform. I think one has to start by taking that observation at face value.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 1

  18. Franklin says:

    OK, there is some link between stress and infertility in couples that want to conceive. But that’s like everyday stress that can eventually interfere with the ovulation cycle, not the sudden stress of being raped. Even so, studies done of women held captive and raped frequently showed they got pregnant at least as much if not more than women not in captivity.

    You’ll find the references in this link. You’re welcome to review the scientific literature, “Doctor” Gingrey.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  19. Jen says:

    Todd Akin Was “Partly Right” About “Legitimate Rape”

    No, no he was not. Are Republicans content with only ever winning House seats in safe districts, foregoing any chances at Senate races and the White House? Because that will be the effect if bozos like this keep talking. Don’t get me wrong, I’m okay with them writing off statewide seats and the presidency. But it seems like a very odd strategy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  20. gVOR08 says:

    Can they possibly really be this stupid?

    Doug, it’s conservative psychology. Conservatives just “know” stuff. In this case, Messrs Akin and Gingery “know” that abortion is wrong and that there must be no abortion. Yet women are raped and get pregnant and it’s obviously horrible to force them to carry their rapist’s child. They have two choices; they can admit that in that case we should allow abortion, admitting the nose of the wedge; or they can find a way to believe that the situation doesn’t really exist. It’s called motivated reasoning. Read Mooney, The Republican Brain. We all do it, but liberals can get past it.

    Note that the fact that they are deluding themselves does not rule out the probability that, as suggested by others upthread, they are also: stupid, evil, lying, and/or incompetent. They are certainly incompetent politicians; otherwise we’d be talking about Senator Akin.

    I read Mooney with an eye to, “How can you effectively talk to conservatives and get them to see and accept obvious facts?” Mooney’s answer seems to be, ‘You can’t.’

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  21. CSK says:

    And furthermore, what does it say about Gingrey that he appears to be equating the circumstances of consensual, mutually pleasurable sex between partners in a loving relationship with forcible rape?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  22. george says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Doug went on and on that he wasn’t voting for either Romney or Obama in the last election. But he never makes the same fuss about not voting for the GOP candidate in Virginia for governor, senator, congressman, etc.

    We know he votes. We know he doesn’t vote for Democrats. So…what’s left to vote for?

    I’ve no idea about Doug, but a few percent do vote for independents (or write ins, or some other sort of protest vote). Don’t discount the “Pox on both your houses” vote. Its actually been enough to decide a few elections (Reagan and Clinton for example).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  23. george says:

    @Jen:

    No, no he was not. Are Republicans content with only ever winning House seats in safe districts, foregoing any chances at Senate races and the White House? Because that will be the effect if bozos like this keep talking. Don’t get me wrong, I’m okay with them writing off statewide seats and the presidency. But it seems like a very odd strategy.

    Eventually they’ll adapt, or go under and new, more rational conservative party will take their place. World wide, there are a number of fairly reasonable conservative parties (Merkel’s in Germany for instance, and Harper’s in Canada is to the left of the Democrats). The Republicans currently have gone for the bat sht crazy approach, but that will succumb to evolutionary pressure (which is kind of ironic, given how they deny the existence of evolution).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  24. Alex Knapp says:

    The scientific literature indicates that while stress can inhibit ovulation, that’s through the production of cortisol. Adrenaline actually stimulates ovulation.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  25. swbarnes2 says:

    @gVOR08:

    Doug, it’s conservative psychology. Conservatives just “know” stuff. In this case, Messrs Akin and Gingery “know” that abortion is wrong and that there must be no abortion.

    I’d say this is not quite right.

    They “know” that women are grossly inferior creatures, suitable to be baby incubators and sex outlets, and nothing more. So they rationalize treating them as such. There must always be a reason why women should be forced to bear a man’s child.

    Remember that fun WIlliamson article about how women are mindless animals who ought to vote for the man with more sons? Remember how the author clearly equated having fallopian tubes with being lower than dirt?

    Remember how James and Doug jumped up to say that the article’s unconcealed contempt for half the female species was cruel and harmful?

    Me neither.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  26. Rafer Janders says:

    @swbarnes2:

    Remember that fun WIlliamson article about how women are mindless animals who ought to vote for the man with more sons?

    Sure, that’s why back in 2000 Williamson advocated voting for Al Gore over George W. Bu…hey, wait a minute.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  27. Rafer Janders says:

    @gVOR08:

    Doug, it’s conservative psychology. Conservatives just “know” stuff.

    No need to tell Doug, as he exhibits this tendency all the time. I can’t count the number of threads where Doug, challenged on the facts by his better-informed commenters, quickly retreats into a numbing recitation of first principles as his answer. “It is just because it is” pretty much becomes his standard response.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  28. grumpy realist says:

    @swbarnes2: I also remember the number of people who pointed out to Williamson, politely or not, that Obama already was president while Romney in the earlier election had already lost to the person who had, in the end, lost to Obama. Thereby, in the alpha male pissing contest, Obama had already proved himself the clear alpha-dog winner and thus, going by Williamson’s very same logic, women should support Obama.

    (Who is this Williamson dork, anyway? Aside from manifesting as someone whose only sexual experience involve the transfer of cash at the end of the evening.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  29. stonetools says:

    Two things frightening about Gingery.

    He is Phil Gingery, M.D. Indeed, he was an obstetrician.

    He is on the House Sub-Committee for Communications and Technology.

    Apparently,the rule is that only non-scientific and non-technological types get appointed to Republican House committee positions relating to science and technology.

    GOP delanda est.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen:

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m okay with them writing off statewide seats and the presidency.

    They aren’t. They are just trying to rig the elections through voter suppression.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  31. swbarnes2 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Yeah, but that’s not my point. When an article so plainly associates being female with being inferior, decent humans need to forcefully argue against that premise. Saying “But Obama won” leaves that premise tacitly accepted.

    Williamson and Akin and Gingrey are all saying the same thing. They all believe the same thing. They all want to enact policies to the same end. They are Republicans. If Doug and James didn’t at some level believe this too, they would act differently, both in their votes and their words here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  32. MBunge says:

    @gVOR08: “abortion is wrong and that there must be no abortion. Yet women are raped and get pregnant and it’s obviously horrible to force them to carry their rapist’s child. They have two choices”

    There is a logical and even ethical argument to be made that aborting an unborn child is the greater evil than requiring pregnant rape victims to give birth to their rapist’s child. You can’t credibly make that argument, however, without a sincere and genuine empathy for how horrible it is to force impregnated rape victims to give birth. It’s an example of how a manichean morality can be psychologically limiting in that it prevents a person from distinguishing between greater and lesser evils.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  33. gVOR08 says:

    @swbarnes2:

    They [also] “know” that women are grossly inferior creatures, suitable to be baby incubators and sex outlets, and nothing more. So they rationalize treating them as such. There must always be a reason why women should be forced to bear a man’s child.

    Yes, there are layers to the onion of what they “know”. It also revolves around souls and god’s will. That’s why they see no contradiction in opposing both abortion and contraception. It isn’t about abortions per se, it’s souls and god’s will. (I haven’t figured out why it couldn’t be god’s will that she took the pill, but that’s a mystery for another day.)

    To your point, you’re right, to them there is a natural order, with themselves on top (naturally) and women below. Lakoff deals with this in Moral Politics, which I found very enlightening, despite his prose being too prolix. (For the younger crowd, that’s a Catch 22 reference.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  34. Gromitt Gunn says:

    It is pretty much impossible for me to not here the subtext from these guys that they miss the days when spousal rape and date rape weren’t considered real rape.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  35. rudderpedals says:

    Crazy this Gingrey is on the Science committee and actually treated patients. Did any survive? When it comes to reproductive biology, the schmuck ipsa loquitor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08:

    (I haven’t figured out why it couldn’t be god’s will that she took the pill, but that’s a mystery for another day.)

    No, that would have to allow for “freewill” and we can’t have any of that, especially if it allows for some of that fun sexytime w/o any little brats ruining the rest of her life, if Dog so chose.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  37. Jen says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    these guys that they miss the days when spousal rape and date rape weren’t considered real rape.

    IIRC, Akin either sponsored or co-sponsored legislation when he was in the Missouri House that would have redefined spousal rape (or something to that effect–it was about 15 or 20 years ago).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  38. al-Ameda says:

    Let the 2016 campaign begin, and by the way, is there any chance that Republicans will end their War On Women?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  39. Davebo says:

    @Jeremy:

    It’s Doug’s story and he can tell it the way he wants. But if it quacks like a duck…

    These days a Libertarian is a Republican who’s too ashamed to admit it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  40. bill says:

    hey stop it, if it wasn’t for abortion blacks might be 20% of the populace instead of the 12-13%……thank a democrat for that!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  41. al-Ameda says:

    @bill:

    hey stop it, if it wasn’t for abortion blacks might be 20% of the populace instead of the 12-13%……thank a democrat for that!

    So Democrats are forcing black women to get abortions?

    By the way, it was Bill Bennett who in 2005 said, with a wink and a nod, that “If you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose; you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  42. gVOR08 says:

    @MBunge:

    There is a logical and even ethical argument to be made that aborting an unborn child is the greater evil than requiring pregnant rape victims to give birth to their rapist’s child.

    Possibly, late term. In the first couple weeks, no, I don’t believe you can make that argument without somehow invoking souls.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  43. ernieyeball says:

    @gVOR08: I don’t believe you can make that argument without somehow invoking souls.

    Humans don’t have souls. That’s something the church invented so they could control you.
    “Obey ME, or your soul will burn in Hell!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0