‘Legitimate Rape’? Todd Akin and Other Politicians Who Confused Science

Missouri Rep. Todd Akin bungled science when he claimed that women who are raped are naturally protected from pregnancy. But he's not the first politician to have a shaky relationship with scientific fact

  • Share
  • Read Later
99 comments
Indietoo
Indietoo

What's stunning to me is that the sheer quality of our elected representatives, the world over has deteriorated rapidly. 

If I randomly throw a dart at any elected house anywhere- I am likely to come up with more Akin clones than a Mandela or an Ambedkar. 

As the earth descends into more complexity and chaos far more rapidly than it ever has in this century; its leadership descends into a more simplistic, harebrained, chest thumping approach. 

I know we get the leaders we deserve...but this startling gap makes me wonder what the next 50 years will look like. I hope we begin to realise it is not about the supremacy of an ideology or civilisation or culture but just the survival of the human race.

mikeamherst
mikeamherst

There was and article in the wall street journal 10 or 20 years ago about a study in Chicago about violent rapes, not statuatory, not between boy/girl friends. Of over 1000 rapes, as I remember, only about 6 became pregnant. I don't have the capability to search for this article in the WSJ, but as I picture it was on the front page, center column. Perhaps someone else has the capability to do the research.

disqus_MJjHu0s2qG
disqus_MJjHu0s2qG

and common sense is not a common thing, what an idiot and these are the people that represent us 

ovulation symptoms
ovulation symptoms

This is what happens when you get your science from the bible.  Religion

pushes an agenda that forces you to surrender your reason at the temple

door.

vdpphd
vdpphd

There is something wrong with appointing a Congressperson who knows no science to the House Committee on Science.  Reproductive biology is not the only science that the Republicans and conservatives have wrong - earth science, what used to be called natural history, and economics are the big ones.  Perhaps the perceived decline of America is due largely to the triumph of the Know Nothings at the polls - these ignoramuses dominate schools boards, too, and the nonsense they have taught as a substitute for known science and known history is just appalling.

Mark Moran
Mark Moran

This article reflects poor journalism. Yes, Akin had his facts wrong; his comments were shockingly ignorant - even for a politician - and indefensible. However, you then seek to tar three other Republicans (how odd that you could not find a single scientifically ignorant Democrat) with Akin's ignorance, because as your title declares, each also had a "shaky relationship with scientific fact." But in doing so, you show only your own shockingly ignorant understanding of "scientific fact," or indeed facts of any kind. To be wrong on a scientific fact, you need to misstate something that is actually known, beyond reasonable dispute. The concerns of Presidents Bush and Reagan about what COULD HAPPEN if their bans were not enacted did not reflect of view of facts, but rather their well-reasoned concerns about how humans may behave in the future. Even by Time's sadly diminished journalistic standards, this does not evince a misunderstanding of a scientific fact, no matter how much you may have disagreed with their concerns at the time or in hindsight. 

Further, Reagan's fears can hardly be deemed "illogical" in hindsight, in light of the subsequent rise in "saviour siblings" and numerous related ethical issues (at least for those who see any moral or ethical issues at all in dealing with unborn children). 

In the case of Bush and the embryonic stem cells ban, your argument that embryos "would have been destroyed anyway" could have been advanced by Dr. Mengele, who conducted medical experiments on Nazi prisoners who would have been sent to the gas chambers any way. As you note, sane people can argue all day about the moral equivalence of the two - but in doing so, neither could fairly be accused of misstating facts (except in Time Magazine). 

You quote unnamed and unsupported "experts" on how the Bush ban "hampered progress" - but you fail to note that in response to the ban, California borrowed $3 billion (which it is now paying back, at the same time it is eliminating services to the poor) to advance embryonic stem cell research, and, as the popular press in California has widely reported, no meaningful advances whatsoever have come about as a result of this research, and the money is now being diverted to adult stem cell research. Even Ian Wilmut, the man who cloned Dolly, is now urging scientists to abandon research into embryonic stem cells - which he says induce tumors - in favor of more promising avenues of using stem cells.

goodjuju4u
goodjuju4u

 His confusion is not nearly as atrocious as the group-think you're drunk

on, that because a child is still in the womb, it's not actually a

child. IT'S ALIVE YOU MORON. An elementary student could tell you that it's a baby inside. The arrogance of thought here has me ill. You quote science when it suites your argument but when it doesn't, Oh NO... science goes out the window then, right @rickcain2320? That my friend is Pseudo-science. You can't use science in one argument and ignore it in another... What

a joke. The willingness to kill ones own offspring for convenience is

barbaric and medieval. I am not a religious nut, but simply spiritual

and cherish the sanctity of human life no matter how small. May God help

all of you. He will BTW if you ask.

141868
141868

The God I grew up with would have no man or woman condemn someone because of their choices. And I'm pretty sure that He was also the same Christian God that lots of people in the US believed in. 

goodjuju4u
goodjuju4u

His confusion is not nearly as atrocious as the group-think you're drunk on, that because a child is still in the womb, it's not actually a child. IT'S ALIVE YOU MORON. An elementary student could tell you that it's a baby inside. The arrogance of thought here has me ill. You quote science when it suites your argument but when it doesn't, Oh NO... science goes out the window then, right @rickcain2320? That my friend is Pseudo-science. You can't use science in one argument and ignore it in another... What a joke. The willingness to kill ones own offspring for convenience is barbaric and medieval. I am not a religious nut, but simply spiritual and cherish the sanctity of human life no matter how small. May God help all of you. He will BTW if you ask.

CarolinaKate
CarolinaKate

Akin is a prime example of why abortion should remain legal! Had his mother known that she was giving birth to someone who would become an international embarassment, she probably woud have terminated him.

Keith
Keith

It doesn't surprise me that he could believe such foolishness.  We live in a country that professes belief in some writings of Bronze Age sheep herders and worse than that they believe in the interputation of those writings that were done by illiterate hillbillies.  Thus, Evangelicals.

Tom
Tom

He needs to drop out of this race, he might win and then we' have another Joe Biden in the Senate...

braveandsane
braveandsane

Anyone that buys this guys ideas, or that the earth is six thousand years old or that god ACTUALLY made the earth in six days.......AIN'T RIGHT IN THE HEAD

Woody Stemms
Woody Stemms

There's really only one plausable explanation for Todd Akin:

He's possessed by Demons!

Out Demon! 

Out! Out!

kevsez
kevsez

Many of the examples in this gallery can be attributed to "ignorance by religion', rather than 'confusion about science'. However, these usually go hand-in-hand.

Now the Sarah Palin-fruit fly statement... that is true ignorance of science.

kevsez
kevsez

The examples in this gallery can mostly be attributed to 'ignorance by religion', rather than 'confusion about science'.  However, this may be splitting hairs.

Now, the Sarah Palin-fruit fly business... that is true ignorance of science. 

mageen
mageen

OK, they abhor science because it requires learning, something else they find abhorent.  But do realize this is more than just their capability to learn.  These people are addicted to rape fantasies. 

formerlyjamesm
formerlyjamesm

How did the South African get included with all of the Republicans?  His AIDS views were also held by Ronald Reagan, anyway.

Paul
Paul

The GOP, bringing sharia law to an America near you.

InTotalAwe
InTotalAwe

Since the Blessed Dawn of the Party, there's never, ever been one Democrat who was shaky on science, people.  Republicans only!  

-Time

So much for non-biased journalism. 

EricH
EricH

We know in what sense Aiken was using the word "legitimate." He thinks that most rapes are consensual sex that women report as rape only after they re-consider the act. That's why he co-sponsored a bill that mentions only "forcible" rape, because if a woman engages in sex under any other circumstances (like being unconscious or under some threat), it's not really rape.

Sonnet Fitzgerald
Sonnet Fitzgerald

Rape is an act of violence.

Let me rephrase that: Rape is ALWAYS an act of violence.

It is estimated that more than 30,000 pregnancies occur due to rape every year. That's a devastating tragedy. That's a lot of lives changed, a lot of nightmares, a lot of worst-case scenarios. What it's not is a hell of a lot of women just making things up. Akin should be ashamed of himself for even letting such a thought cross his mind, let alone his lips.

Paul
Paul

The scary thing is that the GOP just placed in it's 2012 platform, the exact same philosophy that Akin espoused.

MeJustMe
MeJustMe

That was Akin's real sin, saying it out loud where voters could hear.

garotadagavea
garotadagavea

What in the blazes is non forcible rape? Perhaps it is the ones done by the government mandated intravaginal ultrasounds these cretins are trying to stick us up?

*~Laura~*
*~Laura~*

What has happened to the separation of church amp; state? I could care less if the ignorant lambs want to be led, but I don't want them trying to lead me!

ballsnow
ballsnow

Akin let everybody know how he really feels, before he caught what he was saying.  He needs to go back to Missouri and stay there.  He may not can get pregnant, but he can be raped too.

mike_s123
mike_s123

The phrase "legitimate rape" does have a place in the discussion of laws outlawing abortion except in cases of rape or incest. If such laws are in place, it can be expected that some will falsely claim rape or incest to circumvent the law.

The whole "harder to get pregnant" thing has no documented basis, AFAIK, so just indicates ignorance.

The whole political thing is vastly overblown.

I say that independent of my thoughts on abortion (I'm anti-abortion and pro-choice).

Way-cool Junior
Way-cool Junior

 No, the term "legitimate rape" -- particularly in the context used by Akin -- has no place in any intelligent discussion as it implies that there is a qualifier as to what constitutes a "REAL" rape.     

Aside from that, Akin was not referencing loopholes in laws allowing rape in cases of rape or incest he was using factually inaccurate (and ridiculous) information as the basis for not allowing abortion under any condition.   The "political thing" is not the least bit overblown when you consider that this man who lacks even a basic understanding of human biology and reproduction is a member of the House Science Committee!!!    

  

Matthew Pieri
Matthew Pieri

You mean Jesus didn't preach to dinosaurs?  The GOP lying more?

sortfn
sortfn

The result of abstinence-only sex-education, ladies and gentlemen.

Way-cool Junior
Way-cool Junior

And this genius is a member of the House Technology and Science Committee!!!!  I posted it three times and each time it disappears and I will continue to post it because it shows how truly foolish our Congress has become.

Cane Pazzo
Cane Pazzo

and you can thank the people of Missouri for sending this Troglodyte to Congress.

The more time that passes it's questionable that Lincoln had it right.  Thinking people would be much better off without all these Red states.  

Mizwedo
Mizwedo

How could this article overlook the scientific ignorance surrounding evolution and climate change?? That many conservatives don't "believe" in evolution (it's not a matter of "believing," it is hard scientific fact) is annoying and ridiculous. But the denial of climate change will be downright disastrous for our our planet if we don't wake up, and soon, to the scientific facts. You missed the boat, big time.

Way-cool Junior
Way-cool Junior

Why is no one running with the bigger part of this story?  That this idiot who is ignorant of the ways of simple biology is a member of the House Technology and Science Committee!!!  

Way-cool Junior
Way-cool Junior

Why is no one running with the bigger part of the story?  That this idiot who is woefully ignorant in the ways of simple biology is a member of the House Committee on Technology and Science!!!   

bojimbo26
bojimbo26

His " advisors " got it wrong for his script .

SageJerry Levine
SageJerry Levine

good grief, the quality of the comments about this issue are depressing. i can only hope they live in a state that requires a voter ID. the comparison of the congressman to joe biden is totally ludicrous. there is no such thing as legitimate rape,nor does the female have the ability to secrete some sort of hormone to prevent a pregnancy caused by rape. the republican establishment is practically begging this idiot to close down his campaign.  even they know this guy is an idiot. so people, please stop defending this guy, or accusing the reporter of liberal bias. the facts are the facts; he said it. he's got to go.

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

 Facts are what Republithugs say they are.  Don't like history?  Rewrite it.  Don't like science?  Rewrite it.  Don't like facts?  Ignore them.  Worked for them, beginning with the Nancy Reagan presidency -- straight through to Dubbya's Weapons Of Mass Destruction b/s that got us into the financial mess we are in now.

Most recently, Recycled Romney, the Republican candidate who was rejected by his own party four years ago, has been rewritten and recycled as the great white hope -- who is terrified of letting the people he wants to govern see his tax returns!  Especially any that might reveal that he took advantage of a tax amnesty to avoid being a felon.

There is an ancient Chinese saying: "May you live in interesting times."

It was intended to be a curse.

PeteFrosio
PeteFrosio

Poor guy!! .... perhaps he has a serious medical condition known as 'verbal incontinence'!?!?! ..... triggered by ignorance, resulting in incompetence. Prognosis is dismal, given party affiliation.

PeteFrosio
PeteFrosio

Poor guy!!! ..... could he possibly have a serious medical condition known as 'verbal incontinence' ?!?!?! ........ just askin'

Marilyn Reichard-Saeger
Marilyn Reichard-Saeger

"In other words, the congressman SEEMS to suggest" is the way the left-leaning  writer of the article interrupts what he said--he is not advocating illegitimate rape; he's making an incorrect assuption about the results.

Marilyn Reichard-Saeger
Marilyn Reichard-Saeger

Sounds like a democrat.

Although, they would never correct their mistake, or apologize.

Juan
Juan

OK, we all agree, he is a massive moron and an example of extreme conservatives i.e. tea partiers republicans.