Todd Akin Believes Doctors Give Abortions To Women Who Aren’t Pregnant

Seriously, how did this guy ever get elected to Congress?

Todd Akin’s comments about rape aren’t the only bizarre thing that he’s said about reproductive issues: 

Washington, D.C. — In a speech on the House floor in 2008, Rep. Todd Akin said doctors give “abortions to women who are not actually pregnant.”

“You find that along with the culture of death go all kinds of other law-breaking: Not following good sanitary procedure, giving abortions to women who are not actually pregnant, cheating on taxes, all these kinds of things,” Akin said in the speech, as captured on C-SPAN.

“All of these things are common practice,” Akin continued, “but all of that information is available for America.”

A C-SPAN video of the speech was uncovered Tuesday by Slate.

In the clip, Akin also compares abortion to slavery.

“There will be a day — just as there is today, where people say, ‘Who would ever support slavery?'” Akin said. “In the future, there will be a day when men

Here’s the video:

Seriously, how did this guy ever get elected to Congress?

UPDATE (James Joyner): While I don’t dispute Doug’s implicit conclusion, that Akin is a Grade A moron, this particular indiscretion is a case of bad wording rather than an example of his lack of understanding of basic biology.

New York‘s Dan Amira (“Why Todd Akin Warned of Doctors Who Perform Abortions on Women Who Aren’t Even Pregnant“)  is almost certainly right about what Akin meant:

The accusation may seem bizarre, but we think we know what Akin is alluding to: There probably have been some abortion doctors who tell patients that they are pregnant just so they can make some money off of a phony abortion. A little Googling finds this 1989 Chicago Tribune story about Arnold Bickham, for example:

The license revocation was the second time Bickham had lost his license for wrongdoing. In 1979, the state suspended his license for 18 months after charging that he performed abortions on women who were not pregnant and sometimes not fully under anesthesia.

So, there. It has happened. Just like your other doctors may prescribe you medications you don’t necessarily need or offer expensive procedures you could do without. Hell, just like your mechanic might tell you might need a new “Johnson rod” when that doesn’t even exist.

Obviously, one can’t perform an abortion on a woman who’s not pregnant. But one can tell a woman who think she’s pregnant that she’s right, perform some sort of procedure that she thinks is an abortion, and then charge her for one. It has, apparently, happened. No, it’s not commonplace or a particularly useful argument against legal abortion.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Congress, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
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. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. In the future, there will be a day when men will say, ‘Who would have ever supported something so un-American as abortion?”

    And only men, because in Akintopia, women will have learned better than to question the decisions of their masters.

  2. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Well, Akin is a nutjob, obviously, but let’s not be as naive as Ivory Snow.

    Do you realize how many fraudulent medical procedures there are out there? Do you realize how much Medicaid fraud there is out there? How much insurance fraud?

    Abortions are a profitable enterprise for docs who choose to conduct them. Even after the inevitable writedowns by insurance or by the government it’s still a pretty penny in the doctor’s wallet. It’s beyond doubt there are unscrupulous docs out there who conduct “abortions” on women who aren’t actually pregnant. The same way that other docs prescribe meds that aren’t needed (they get volume kickbacks from the Rx companies), the same way that oral surgeons remove teeth that can stay in there (more money for them), the same way that plastic surgeons gin up business for themselves by telling young women all the things that are wrong (and of course “fixable”) about their bodies. Again, let’s not be naive.

  3. Rob in CT says:

    Do you realize how many fraudulent medical procedures there are out there? Do you realize how much Medicaid fraud there is out there? How much insurance fraud?

    Do you? Can you document these things?

    let’s not be naive.

    Did you read the post? As Doug said:

    one can tell a woman who think she’s pregnant that she’s right, perform some sort of procedure that she thinks is an abortion, and then charge her for one. It has, apparently, happened. No, it’s not commonplace or a particularly useful argument against legal abortion.

  4. Davebo says:

    James,

    If you have to reach back to 1979 for an example to support Akin you’re grasping at… nothing really.

  5. C. Clavin says:

    Tsar…who repeats the liberal media meme more times than I scratch my balls…asks us not to be naive.
    This website cracks me up some days.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Rob in CT:

    one can tell a woman who think she’s pregnant that she’s right, perform some sort of procedure that she thinks is an abortion, and then charge her for one. It has, apparently, happened. No, it’s not commonplace or a particularly useful argument against legal abortion.

    Rob, JJ said that.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    While I don’t dispute Doug’s implicit conclusion, that Akin is a Grade A moron, this particular indiscretion is a case of bad wording rather than an example of his lack of understanding of basic biology.

    James, we are talking about Akin. When talking about Akin it behooves one to move to the lowest common denominator. He has already demonstrated a complete lack of understanding about female biology.

    I would not ever give him a pass on the stupid scale.

  8. James Joyner says:

    @Davebo: I’m not supporting Akin. I’m saying that he was probably referring to this type of thing, of which there are some anecdotal cases that have gained larger-than-life status in certain sectors of the anti-abortion movement.

    @OzarkHillbilly: It’s possible to be generally stupid, point to a true fact, and draw a stupid conclusion from it. That’s what I think happened here.

  9. Rob in CT says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    My fault. I saw that Doug made the original post, and didn’t realize that bit was part of JJ’s edit.

  10. stonetools says:

    Seriously, how did this guy ever get elected to Congress?

    Not only was he elected, he was appointed to the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology by the House Republicans. WTF!!

    Seriously , the House Republicans should get swept out. Yet another example of governing fail.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    the same way that oral surgeons remove teeth that can stay in there (more money for them),

    Tsar, one does not walk into an oral surgeons office and say, “Hey Doc, do I need this tooth removed?” First they go to the dentist, where the dentist does everything he can to save the tooth. After he has tried and failed to save said tooth, he determines whether he is able to extract the tooth in his office. ONLY after he has determined that it requires the services of an oral surgeon, does he then refer the patient to the surgeon.

    By the time one walks into the offices of an oral surgeon it has already been determined that the tooth needs to be removed.

  12. LC says:

    Well, I for one wonder about the reporting in that 1979 news article. Would somebody explain to me exactly how one can perform an abortion (the termination of a pregnancy) on a woman who isn’t pregnant? It would be interesting to see the original indictment, or whatever it was, from the State. (I suspect the procedure in question may in reality have been a D&C, assuming the doctor did indeed actually perform a procedure of any kind.)

    But, in any case, pulling out a news article from 1979 as proof that Akin isn’t an idiot and just “mis-spoke” is really, really, really stretching matters. The man has demonstrated repeatedly that he is missing more than a few million neurons.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Joyner:

    It’s possible to be generally stupid, point to a true fact, and draw a stupid conclusion from it. That’s what I think happened here.

    Well, it is possible….

  14. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Yes, clearly if I was a medical professional looking to scam a quick buck, I would choose the one medical procedure whose practice in the US gives me a non-negligible chance of being shot and killed on a daily basis. /eyeroll

  15. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Not precisely. One periodontist wanted to remove five of my teeth and replace them with $40,000 worth of implants. Another periodontist saved the teeth for $1800. ALWAYS get a second opinion.

    None of which takes away from the indisputable fact that Akin’s still a jackass of epic proportions.

  16. KRM says:

    It’s hard for me to believe that Mr. Akin accurately represents the sentiments of the 2nd Congressional District of Missouri. He certainly comes across badly enough to warrant a “fool” tag.” Nevertheless, he pulled in over 180,000 votes in 2010, more than two-thirds of the total number of votes cast, so he must be doing something right by his constituents. Either that, or they’re all fools, too.

  17. Septimius says:

    According to President Obama, doctors routinely perform unnecessary tonsillectomies on kids just to make money. Is it really so surprising that a doctor would perform an abortion on a woman who wasn’t pregnant?

  18. David says:

    @Septimius: is it hard to believe? No. Does the fact that some doctors are crooks have any rational relationship to whether abortion should be legal? No.

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Septimius:

    Is it really so surprising that a doctor would perform an abortion on a woman who wasn’t pregnant?

    Just for the record, if there is no fetus, there is no abortion. There may be an abortion procedure, but there is no abortion.

  20. Jen says:

    @KRM: The 2nd Congressional district in Missouri is one of the safest, if not _the_ safest, Republican seats in the state. In my humble opinion, this is what happens in a district where the only real contest is the primary. It moves further right until it hits wackadoodle territory.

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK:

    Not precisely.

    My bad. Let me amend my statement to “In my experience, limited tho it is,….”

  22. JohnMcC says:

    In the examples of mis-judgement and overt fraud cited above (unnecessary oral surgery, tonsillectomy) there is a big difference from a fraudulent “abortion” that isn’t actually an abortion.
    Those examples may be differences in judgement by the physicians involved. (In some areas of the country lots of tonsils are removed but in other areas very few; same with tooth extractions and many many other medical procedures, BTW.)

    In the actual world of hospitals and medical insurance reimbursement there is a simple test that determines pregnancy. A woman who is of ‘child-bearing-age’ doesn’t get a CT Scan without that test in any of the hospitals I’ve worked in over a 30+ year career. It seems to me very unlikely that any 3d party payor would fund an abortion lacking that test proving pregnancy. So any fraud committed by performing “abortions” on non-pregnant women was almost certainly done on a self-pay basis.

    In order to protect women from that particular fraud one would simply make health insurance pay for abortions.

    And of course, Mr Akin in indeed a complete j@ck@ss.

  23. mantis says:

    @Septimius:

    According to President Obama, doctors routinely perform unnecessary tonsillectomies on kids just to make money.

    Unlike Akin, President Obama does not advocate outlawing tonsillectomies in response.

  24. The Q says:

    Tsar, you are correct in some of your assertions of fraud on the part of some Doctors, but you are missing the bigger point.

    No one is advocating making periodontal appointments illegal or make plastic surgery a felony.

    Lets not be so naive here.

  25. LC says:

    @KRM:

    they’re all fools, too.

    That’s more than possible, but I suspect the explanation may be simpler: party identification. I’m guessing most of those voters, like most voters in the U.S., can’t even name their Representative or Senator and, even if they can, have never watched a Congressional hearing and have less than no idea what said representative does – except for maybe, once in a while, voting the “right” way on a hot-button issue that gets media attention.

    Heaven knows, I’m not particularly thrilled with either my Representative or Senators (although, yes, I can name them). Generally speaking, they vote more or less the “right” way and, in any case, the Republican alternatives are always so much worse, I’m stuck with whomever my Party selects.

  26. Rafer Janders says:

    @Septimius:

    According to President Obama, doctors routinely perform unnecessary tonsillectomies on kids just to make money.

    Based on that, would you argue that we should outlaw tonsillectomies? If not, then how is the fact that someone may have pretended to peform an abortion on a woman who was not pregnant relevant to the debate on whether to outlaw abortions?

    Is it really so surprising that a doctor would perform an abortion on a woman who wasn’t pregnant?

    It would be, since by definition you can’t perform an abortion on someone who isn’t pregnant. You can only pretend to.

  27. mike says:

    This reminds me of the time when I went to the doctor for a flu shot and ended up having a baby. He just threw open my legs and out popped a baby boy.

    Mike

  28. gVOR08 says:

    Seriously, how did this guy ever get elected to Congress?

    Doug, why are you asking me, I’m a liberal Democrat? OK, I know it’s a rhetorical question. But it seems to me it could lead you and James to some soul searching about the state of the Republican Party.

  29. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    And may it stay limited.

    When I first read this piece, my immediate thought that Akin, dimwit that he is, had confused D and C’s with abortions, assuming that every woman who has a D and C is in fact having an abortion, when in fact what she is having is a diagnostic procedure.

  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK:

    And may it stay limited.

    I wish it would. Some day soon I need to have the remains of 2 broken teeth cut out of my head. They don’t really bother me much so I keep kicking that can down the road.

  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @LC:

    That’s more than possible, but I suspect the explanation may be simpler: party identification. I’m guessing most of those voters, like most voters in the U.S., can’t even name their Representative or Senator and,

    LC, the 2nd Congressional District of Missouri is the richest, most college educated, in the state. They know who they are voting for. They know what Reps and Senators do. They also know that Akin is a misogynistic xenophobic religious nut bag but hold their collective noses and vote for him anyway. Why?

    Follow the money, LC, follow the money….

  32. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    To elaborate on Septimius’ point, Obama is also on record accusing doctors of performing unnecessary amputations on diabetics just for money. And let’s not forget “Navy corpse-men,” asthmatics and their “breathalyzers,” and his vow to bring “greater ineffeciencies to health care.”

  33. al-Ameda says:

    Akin is a nutcase, and he will probably be elected to the Senate. Hey, that’s today’s Republican Party

  34. Barry says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: “Yes, clearly if I was a medical professional looking to scam a quick buck, I would choose the one medical procedure whose practice in the US gives me a non-negligible chance of being shot and killed on a daily basis. /eyeroll ”

    And requires surgery, as opposed to a nice diagnosis, tests (at my lab) and a prescription, with some necessary follow-up visits and tests.

  35. His Rascal says:

    It’s very clear Akin did not take Anatomy and Physicology 101!
    He doesn’t have a clue regarding the “reproductive system”, especially in females, is responsible for human reproduction . . . and I agree with Tsar Nicholas’ earlier comment, Akin is a nutjob!