Akin and his vile ideas about rape and pregnancy
August 24, 2012
I’ve been trying to decode what Akin was really trying to say. He apologized for bad word choice and the offense caused. But he stands behind the belief he was trying to articulate. I assume that he was being sincere in the original statement and to some extent in his apology.
There’s a taxonomy of rape involved.
“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that [pregnancy in this category of rape] is really rare. If it’s [this category of] rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.” [cf. original quote]
Dr. and Mrs. John Willke “Why Can’t We Love Them Both” has been cited as a reference to the theory Akin is referring to and I can see the similarity. Akin changed “legitimate” to “forcible” in the apology, which is in line with Willkes’ “First it is important to define terms. This issue concerns assault, or forcible, rape, not consensual, not marital rape.” So I assume Akin is talking about the same taxonomy as the Willkes.
Next, they are both are clearly saying that consideration of law that forbids abortion in the case of rape has to involve this taxonomy. They claim that in “forcible, non-consensual rape”, pregnancy is very rare (the Willkes try to put numbers on it). They also claim that in those rare cases, something went wrong in the woman’s response that would normally prevent pregnancy. [Whether or not biology actually supports their factual claims is another thing.]
But those words “forcible, non-consensual” etc. are actually not at all clear. Far from it. What is really operative here is the woman’s emotion causing endocrine responses that prevent pregnancy. They are in fact claiming that, with very few exceptions, a woman is so emotionally disturbed by the kind of rape in question that she cannot become pregnant.
So if a woman presents herself as a pregnant rape victim then either A) she was not emotionally disturbed enough for the rape to be properly considered assault, forcible or non-consensual, or B) her body’s response to the rape was abnormal in a highly unusual way.
It’s not my category definition so it’s not my job to name it. But I need names so for now: cat 1: the kind akin was talking about, and cat 2: the other kind.
Their taxonomy serves various purposes. First they are saying that women pregnant from cat 2 rape don’t have a legitimate claim to a right to abortion because such women are (to at least some extent) responsible for the rape.
Second, since there are hardly any cat 1 rape pregnancies, very few women with a valid claim of cat 1 rape need abortion.
They’ve built a moral philosoply on a fairy tale biology theory in which pregnancy form rape is a very small problem.
Regardless what name they choose for it, this is horrifying in so many ways. If these people really believe this then it makes perfect sense that they distinguish legitimate rape, i.e. real rape, from not really real rape.
I don’t think enough people properly understand what these vile people are really saying or trying to do.