Todd Akin Says His Staffers Were "Conceived By Rape." Isn't the Body Supposed to Shut That Down?

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
July 17 2014 12:15 PM

Todd Akin: "Legitimate Rape" Doesn't Result in Conception, Unless You're One of My Staffers

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Todd Akin doesn't think women get pregnant from "legitimate rape" except when they do.

Photo by Whitney Curtis/Getty Images

Todd Akin continues to expand on his critical contributions to the discourse of rape and abortion rights while he promotes his book. While reiterating that he was not wrong to say, as he did in 2012, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” he’s adding a new twist: On MSNBC’s Daily Rundown, Akin told Chuck Todd that a “number of people” on his staff were “conceived by rape.”

So which is it, Todd? Do female bodies magically prevent pregnancy from rape, or is rape so efficient at people production that it’s provided a significant number of staff members for you?

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Akin’s explanation leaves much to be desired: “I never said that a woman can't get pregnant who is raped," he said. "I was simply talking about the fact that stress affects the statistics of people becoming pregnant.”

It is true that he didn’t say that it never happens. The exact quote, in response to a question about exceptions for rape to his proposed ban on abortion: “From what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume maybe that didn't work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist.”

Piecing it together, I think we get the full picture. Akin believes that “the female body” often prevents women from getting pregnant when raped, if these women are even telling the truth about getting raped to begin with. If you are one of those unlucky enough to be legitimately raped and impregnated, well, no legal abortion for you. But take comfort, legitimate rape victims: That baby you were forced to bear might get to work for a failed Senate candidate one day! So it all works out in the end.  

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.

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