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Monday, August 20, 2012

Just to Clarify, Human Vaginas Don't Work Like Ducks'

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Mon, Aug 20, 2012 at 11:21 AM

Yesterday, Missouri state representative and GOP senate candidate Todd Akin secured himself a place in the shameful history hall of fame and butt of internet jokes forever canon when he had uttered this line about rape and female physiology during a TV interview.

INTERVIEWER: What about [abortion] in the case of rape?
TODD AKIN: People always want to make that one of those things, how do you slice this difficult ethical question? It seems to me, first of all, if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.

Problems. First problem: What's a legitimate rape? If the woman fights hard enough or wears a long enough skirt, is that a legitimate rape? There's not, like, sex without consent and then "legitimate" sex without consent. As Obama says, "Rape is rape."

Second Problem: Umm... no, women can't just will themselves out of pregnancy. If that was true, it would be totally sweet because we wouldn't need to spend money on birth control and there's be about half as many pregnancies every year. Just shut it down, girls! SHUT. IT. DOWN!

Third Problem: The second problem points to a bizarre lack of understanding about the basics of reproduction. At first I thought that Representative Akin had never seen a human vagina and therefore had female human anatomy confused with female duck anatomy. Just to recap on the finer points of duck rape:

A lot of duck sex is rape. So lady ducks have evolved labyrinthine vaginas to protect their eggs from hostilely-fired sperm. Their vaginal canals are long, have offramps that lead to dead ends, and twist the opposite direction of duck penises. Male ducks' corkscrewing penises, on the other hand, are ballistic: they evert straight into their partner's vagina.

But no! The truth is worse! Though Akin now says he "misspoke," the right-wing American Family Association is backing him up by saying that he meant "consensual sex that's later called rape." Underneath all this, there's a persistent anti-abortion myth out there that pregnancies don't often occur from rape. Check out Human Life International's stance that cases of pregnancy from rape are "irrelevant" to abortion because of their rarity, or this piece written by a doctor for Christian Life Resources in 1999:

To get and stay pregnant a woman's body must produce a very sophisticated mix of hormones. Hormone production is controlled by a part of the brain that is easily influenced by emotions. There's no greater emotional trauma that can be experienced by a woman than an assault rape. This can radically upset her possibility of ovulation, fertilization, implantation and even nurturing of a pregnancy.

So, in closing: Abortion should be illegal because women who want to end unwanted pregnancies because of a brutal assault clearly weren't stressed out enough by the assault to self-abort. This, or they were lying about getting raped to begin with. And this premise should guide all of our public policy. The end.

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