A Political Post and Apology

By: Susie77 , 4:59 PM GMT on August 20, 2012

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Normally I stay far away from anything political here, unless it is science- or weather-related. That being said, I do want to apologize in advance to everyone offended by the idiotic remarks of our congressman, Todd Akin (R-MO). Here is science to explain just why he is an idiot. Whether you vote R, I, or D -- please vote for those who respect and understand science. Thank you.

From Pregnancy Myths

When a viable sperm penetrates a viable egg inside a woman's reproductive tract, the result is a fertilized egg that can then implant in the uterus. That fact of life is consistent regardless of how that sperm and egg met up, including whether or not the sperm was ejaculated during rape.

That may be news to Rep. Todd Akin from Missouri who told a local television station, in explaining his stance that abortion should not be allowed even in the case of rape: "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

"Physiologically, if the sperm is in the vagina, a pregnancy can occur, regardless of the circumstances of how that sperm got there," said Dr. Melisa Holmes, an ob-gyn and founder of Girlology, an organization that promotes healthy sexuality and communication in families.

And though the anti-abortion Republican says he "misspoke," Holmes says that Akin's remark also suggests that some rapes are not "legitimate," and this continues a harmful misconception about violence against women.

"A rape is a rape, and a woman has the same physical and emotional consequences whether she's raped by a stranger in a dark alley or someone she's known for five years," Holmes told LiveScience. "That's one of those misperceptions that gets perpetuated and unfortunately affects women in a bad way — 'Were you really raped, or were you at fault for part of it?'"

Perhaps Akin is correct in thinking it's not the easiest of tasks to get pregnant; that's why men don't ejaculate just one sperm and instead release nearly 100 million sperm. (Men who have fewer than 20 million sperm per milliliter of semen may have difficulty conceiving, according to a WebMD article.) That's because few sperm survive the grueling journey from the vagina to the fallopian tubes where they can meet up with an egg. Even for those that make it, only the healthiest will penetrate, and fertilize, the egg. [11 Odd Facts About the Pregnant Body]

Still, of the 6.7 million pregnancies in the United States every year, about half are unintended, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

The chance of getting pregnant from one event of unprotected sexual intercourse is 5 percent on average, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).

And according to research by Holmes and her colleagues published in 1996 in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, that same rate applies to rape victims, though it's tricky to compare these different populations.

"Rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency," the study researchers wrote in their journal article. "It is a cause of many unwanted pregnancies, and is closely linked with family and domestic violence."

In the study, Holmes and her colleagues, followed more than 4,000 American adults over a three-year period. Nationally, they found rape-related pregnancy rate was 5 percent among women of reproductive age, 12 to 45, meaning about 32,000 pregnancies result from rape each year, they concluded. Among 34 cases of rape-related pregnancy that they looked at closely, 32 percent of women maintained the pregnancy and kept the infant, 50 percent underwent an abortion, nearly 6 percent placed the baby up for adoption and nearly 12 percent had a miscarriage.

At the end of the day, Holmes said of Akin's comments, "It's just simple lack of education into the human body," adding that "the reproductive system is going to respond in the same way whether it's rape, or you're madly in love with someone. It's tubes and pipes and sperm and eggs, and there's nothing that will stop that process."

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6. Jonas
5:20 PM GMT on August 23, 2012
To me rape is rape and is disgusting, wrong and punishable. Good Lord, what is wrong with that man. He should be dragging his knuckles on the ground with a wood club in his hairy hand.

Your post is well said, bravo for stepping forward on this issue.
Member Since: September 5, 2006 Posts: 338 Comments: 504
5. Susie77
3:38 PM GMT on August 23, 2012
@sp -- You nailed exactly why the GOP establishment is angry with him -- he's like the little boy who says out loud the bad things he overheard his parents say in private. They'd like him to go away so that the nation's attention is not focused on their platform. I won't believe that they are "pro-life" until they call for an end to the endless wars, abolish the death penalty, and start feeding the hungry and providing assistance to the post-born.

Ironically, along with banning abortions with no exceptions, the extreme "pro-life" stance of the GOP also includes restricting in-vitro fertilization (IVF). Three of Romney's sons have children conceived by this technique.

You just can't make this stuff up, can you?

Member Since: April 14, 2002 Posts: 615 Comments: 548
4. sp34n119w
9:28 PM GMT on August 22, 2012
I want to add my thanks to you for posting about this. You certainly don't need to apologize for that fool.
Reading or hearing what Akin said still makes my brain go 'pop'. I just cannot fathom that level of ignorance about basic human biology in a man of his age and standing. Not to mention, as you say, in a member of the sci and tech committee (you should check out the rest of them).
We oughtn't be surprised, though - banning abortion in all cases is, again, a part of the GOP party platform, after all. I suppose they feel the need to justify that.
Today's Republican Party - ideology over reality, every time.
Member Since: January 27, 2007 Posts: 82 Comments: 4307
3. Susie77
7:38 PM GMT on August 22, 2012
I am appalled that he serves on the Science, Space & Technology Committee in the House of Reps. I wrote to the chairman and asked that he be replaced. The sick and horrible thing about this is all the support he has -- there are people in my state who don't see A SINGLE THING WRONG with what he said! And they are blaming the media and even the guy who interviewed him. The irony here is that the interview took place on our local Fox News affiliate. Yes, Fox News.
Member Since: April 14, 2002 Posts: 615 Comments: 548
2. GardenGrrl
10:17 AM GMT on August 21, 2012
Thanks for speaking up. Light needs to be shown on the darkness that people like Akin spread. Violence, and it seems especially violence against women gets fed from this kind of nonsense.

Having worked with teenage girls that have been sexually assaulted, what that cruel hateful man is spreading as his "truth" cannot be tolerated.
Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 252 Comments: 9438
1. NEwxguy
5:56 PM GMT on August 20, 2012
Susie,
I like you try to stay away from political stances,mostly because I think our people down in Washingtion are for the most part idiots,no matter which party your talking about,and any sincere people trying to do good are lost in the muck.
But I saw this on the news and I was sitting there with my mouth open,thinking this was some kind of prank. When discussing the horrible violent act of rape,usually its trying to blame the woman,either the way she dressed or the way she was acting,whatever,but I've never in my life ever heard someone make the statement a woman has the ability to shutdown the the pregnancy process. So if I read this right ,we don't need contraception,all a woman has to do is will the process to stop and she doesn't become pregnant.
Im no expert on fertility,but just a wild guess on my part bu,those determined sperm are getting it done whether you will it to or not.Unless there is some biological issue going on.
Wow.And these people are representing us?????Be afraid,be very afraid.

Thanks for bringing this up. I hope this doesn't go away quickly.This guy needs to go away now.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 877 Comments: 15707

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Sometimes I complain about the earthly weather, but mostly I like to post about astronomy and space events. Hope you enjoy the articles.

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