Todd Akin Walks Away from the "Female Body Has Ways of Stopping Rape-Related Pregancy" Theory

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 20 2012 3:55 PM

Todd Akin Walks Away from the "Female Body Has Ways of Stopping Rape-Related Pregancy" Theory

Earlier today, a small number of social conservatives had bucked up Todd Akin by agreeing with the strangest part of his rape interview. Some conservative doctors -- well, maybe just one, named John Willke -- had argued that the female body produces "a very sophisticated mix of hormones" under stress, and that this miracle cocktail might stop a raped woman from getting pregnant.

Then Akin went on Sean Hannity's radio show, and Willke went under the bus. "I had heard from medical reports that that rape is such a traumatic thing that, uh, that, uh, that there's a reaction," stammered Akin. "But that's wrong, and that's the second thing I've apologized for." Hannity followed up: What, precisely, did Akin think the human body could do to cancel out rape-induced pregancies? "I had heard one time a medical report that it's harder to get pregnant under those conditions," said Akin. "I don't believe that's true now. In fact, I've checked the facts. That's wrong. I was just wrong in that statement."

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Willke hasn't spoken out about the story yet (I've asked). But a Democratic source with web archive-fu pointed me to a 2007 statement on Mitt Romney's website, from the days when Romney was the conservative alternative to John McCain.

"Unlike other candidates who only speak to the importance of confronting the major social issues of the day, Governor Romney has a record of action in defending life. Every decision he made as Governor was on the side of life. I know he will be the strong pro-life President we need in the White House," said Dr. Willke. "Governor Romney is the only candidate who can lead our pro-life and pro-family conservative movement to victory in 2008."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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