Explaining why he was opposed to abortion, even for rape victims, Missouri senate candidate Todd Akin told Fox News women who suffered “legitimate rape” very seldom got pregnant. “From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” he said on a Sunday talk show. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Life Zone, which says it is Ireland’s number one source for pro-life information, states on its website: “Many women are infertile at the time they are raped — they may be in the infertile phase of their monthly cycle, too old or too young to conceive.”
Supporting Mr Akin’s claim of a “natural” defence against conception through rape, LifeZone quoted a 1977 American study and said: “Trauma from the rape may bring into play some natural defence mechanisms that reduce the likelihood of pregnancy, such as hormonal change and spasms of the fallopian tubes which inhibit ovulation or fertilisation. Rape does not always involve a complete act of sexual intercourse — ejaculation may not occur — or the rapist may be infertile. The chance of conception resulting from a single act of unprotected intercourse even between consenting fertile individuals has been estimated at 2% to 4%.”
Mr Akin’s comments have generated a storm of controversy in the US with calls for him to step aside. However, the staunch opponent of abortion has vowed to stay in the senate race.
He used a radio interview yesterday to turn his campaign into a cause for “the regular people” against “the big party people”.