"Legitimate Rape" exception

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-03-2007
"Legitimate Rape" exception
Thu, 08-30-2012 - 3:26pm

What do you all think about Rep. Todd Akin and his "forcible rape" comment? 


I find the science laughable.  Honestly I have respect for people that hold strong on the rape exception issue.  If they really feel the fetal life has rights which trump the woman's, even if she is having severe financial problems or was about to finally start a great full time educational program, then is a rape exception really consistant with that belief?


It seems that Paul Ryan also has recently used the phrase "forcible rape", though he is trying to distance himself from it now  (washington post coverage)

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2007
Fri, 08-31-2012 - 4:47pm
Welcome back! I was excited to see your name.

It's deplorable, this whole situation. I've gone through an okay pregnancy and a horrible delivery and a horrible pregnancy and a horrible delivery. Where discussions of abortion's legality used to get me up in arms, now it puts me into a sputtering rage. Akin doesn't support abortion for any reason, neither does Ryan. Hard to be sure how Romney feels, I'm sure he'd rather the situation just go away. If you think that people who are raped don't deserve amnesty in this situation, what do you think of people like me? Pregnancy is like playing Russian Roulette for me. And it just so happens that I'm also extremely fertile, as is my husband, and as time wears on we're finding avoiding pregnancy harder and harder. I'm hoping that this particular sterilization method takes because I'm running out of options and some idiots in Congress would rather that I had no choice but abstinence, within marriage, to avoid pregnancy. It's got me so worried that I was going to give away my Toni Weschler book but decided to keep it in case the conservative backlash decides that even knowledge of our fertility is dangerous.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-24-2012
Fri, 09-07-2012 - 10:28am

I cannot even believe they dare to call it science. Grrr...it just makes me SO mad.

"The national rape-related pregnancy rate is 5.0% per rape among victims of reproductive age (aged 12 to 45); among adult women an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year. "


iVillage Member
Registered: 06-03-2007
Mon, 09-17-2012 - 1:25pm

Really?  Now, of course this will happen on occasion - there are always more alleged crimes than actual crimes.  It may even be possible that the difference between alleged and actual rape is a greater difference than between, say alleged larceny and actual larceny.  But this is also a crime that goes unreported, and I would propose that the number of rapes that go unreported may be larger than the false allegations.

The FBI considers about 8% of rapes to be "unfounded". (link downloads pdf from the FBI report).  However, look how they define "unfounded"!  It shocks me. 

"This statistic is almost meaningless, as many of the jurisdictions from which the FBI collects data on crime use different definitions of, or criteria for, "unfounded." That is, a report of rape might be classified as unfounded (rather than as forcible rape) if the alleged victim did not try to fight off the suspect, if the alleged perpetrator did not use physical force or a weapon of some sort, if the alleged victim did not sustain any physical injuries, or if the alleged victim and the accused had a prior sexual relationship. Similarly, a report might be deemed unfounded if there is no physical evidence or too many inconsistencies between the accuser's statement and what evidence does exist. As such, although some unfounded cases of rape may be false or fabricated, not all unfounded cases are false."

By that definition, marital rape might be "unfounded".  I've treated victims of marital rape and it is certainly real rape. I've seen the converse, too - legal rape (statutory) which I personally feel was actually consensual and shouldn't be prosecuted as severely as violent rape. 

For victims of date rape, or poor decision making whilst inebriated, it's hard.  I do see that this eventually becomes a grey zone, where confusion, or regret or shame do not always actual rape make, but the fact is that for prosecution of the crime someone has to draw the line somewhere, and it should not be the aggressor making that call.  We have to default to the victim. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-03-2007
Mon, 09-17-2012 - 4:12pm

Welcome back! I was excited to see your name.

Thanks for the welcome, its neat to see there are several of the long timers here.  I've been working hard, a little closer to being a full fledged career lady, and have a second child now, a son who was also welcomed at home.  I've been very lucky with easy, healthy pregnancies.  My son just recently weaned (a bit over 2 years old) and I'm grieving it.  He's such a big little man now!  

Now that I have a little more experience with a broader variety of patients, I find that my opinions are more passionate than ever, but hopefully I've learned to be more gentle and open in my manner of expressing them.  :smileyhappy:


iVillage Member
Registered: 06-03-2007
Wed, 09-19-2012 - 7:19am

Here's the real world expression of this backwards belief: "Foreign Policy, Akin-Style" as seen in the Atlantic Monthly. 

There are parts of the world (Congo, Darfur, Bosnia) where rape is used as a systematic weapon of war, to horrify and oppress and terrify the populace but also with the stated intent of producing a next generation that is of the new race, in an attempt to obliterate the enemy. 

If there was going to be any sexual act that was capable of making the cervix clamp down and resist insemination, I would think that seeing someone slaughter their husband or parents or children, then rape her at gunpoint, after living for years in fear of that very spectre - that would be the time for it.  And there is a generation of children that are the product of rape in these place. 

Part of what is so horrible is that there are NGOs with international funding to care for these women, and because Pres Obama has not reversed the Helms Amendment, the US is singlehandedly preventing all of them from providing abortion care to these women. 

Here is another really emotional read: this author is researching for a book that will deal in part with women raising children conceived in rape, and so she has interviewed many.  Now, I am sure there are women out there who found their pregnancy and children to be some kind of fresh start or silver lining, or at least lemonade... but these stories represent a chilling "other side".  She had women pleading with her to teach them how to love their own children, and she quotes from one childbirth attendent ... I'll quote it here because it gave me gooseflesh. 

The journalist Helena Smith wrote the story of a woman named Mirveta, who gave birth to a child conceived in rape in Kosovo. Mirveta was twenty years old, and illiterate; her husband had abandoned her because of the pregnancy. “He was a healthy little boy and Mirveta had produced him,” Smith writes. “But birth, the fifth in her short lifetime, had not brought joy, only dread. As he was pulled from her loins, as the nurses at Kosovo’s British-administered university hospital handed her the baby, as the young Albanian mother took the child, she prepared to do the deed. She cradled him to her chest, she looked into her boy’s eyes, she stroked his face, and she snapped his neck. They say it was a fairly clean business. Mirveta had used her bare hands. It is said that, in tears, she handed her baby back to the nurses, holding his snapped, limp neck. In Pristina, in her psychiatric detention cell, she has been weeping ever since.” The aid worker taking care of Mirveta said, “Who knows? She may have looked into the baby’s face and seen the eyes of the Serb who raped her. She is a victim, too. Psychologically raped a second time.”

Mirveta in that story is another woman who the Helms Amendment blocks from having options. 
Read more http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2012/08/the-legitimate-children-of-rape.html#ixzz26ujvGNph