US Catholic Faith in Real Life

What is "legitimate rape"? Or better, what exactly is illegitimate rape?

By Meghan Murphy-Gill | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

That’s the question that’s been on my mind this morning since listening to Rep. Todd Akins, a Republican from Missouri who’s running for Senate, comment on pregnancy and “legitimate rape”:

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

In other words, Akins doesn’t think abortion should remain legal even in cases of rape, because there’s really no need for it. “Legitimate rape” victims can’t get pregnant anyhow. Following this logic, ladies, if you find yourself pregnant after a rape, it probably was an illegitimate rape. Whatever that is.

Moving beyond how totally insulting and damaging these remarks are to any woman whose ever found herself the victim of rape—pregnant or not—why couldn’t Rep. Akins just stick to the argument that he doesn’t think abortion should be legal even in these situations because of how strongly he believes that life begins at conception? That’s a real argument based on reason. A legitimate one if you will. And frankly, it’s a consistent argument to say that the killing of a human life, no matter how it was conceived, is morally wrong. This is at least grounds for a debate as it brings up questions of religious values, ethics, and real science.

Perhaps Akins ought to reveal the “doctors” he heard this bunk from, in the interest of their patients who can find legitimate practitioners of health.