The phrase “legitimate rape,” uttered by the now former U.S. Rep. Todd Akin last August in the midst of his re-election campaign, is one he and Republicans likely hoped most Republicans would forget last year. Akin’s comments suggesting that victims of "legitimate rape" have a built-in defense against pregnancy likely played a factor in the Missouri Republican's political defeat in November.
While Akin’s comments became part of the political landscape in 2012, they have resurfaced in the early days of 2013, but this time in Georgia. U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta, said as he spoke to the Smyrna Area Council of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce that the former representative was “partly right.”
Todd Akin … was asked by a local news source about rape and he said, ‘Look, in a legitimate rape situation’—and what he meant by legitimate rape was just look, someone can say I was raped: a scared-to-death 15-year-old that becomes impregnated by her boyfriend and then has to tell her parents, that’s pretty tough and might on some occasion say, ‘Hey, I was raped.’ That’s what he meant when he said legitimate rape versus non-legitimate rape. I don’t find anything so horrible about that. But then he went on and said that in a situation of rape, of a legitimate rape, a woman’s body has a way of shutting down so the pregnancy would not occur. He’s partly right on that.
And I’ve delivered lots of babies, and I know about these things. It is true. We tell infertile couples all the time that are having trouble conceiving because of the woman not ovulating, ‘Just relax. Drink a glass of wine. And don’t be so tense and uptight because all that adrenaline can cause you not to ovulate.’ So he was partially right wasn’t he? But the fact that a woman may have already ovulated 12 hours before she is raped, you’re not going to prevent a pregnancy there by a woman’s body shutting anything down because the horse has already left the barn, so to speak. And yet the media took that and tore it apart.
Gingrey after the MDJ’s report issued a statement clarifying that he did not defend or stand by Akin’s comments, adding that while attempting to provide context behind the comments of Akin and another congressman, his “position was misconstrued.”
Do you think Gingrey’s comments were appropriate? Why or why not?
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