'Legitimate Rape' Compared to Infertility in the Absurd Controversy That Just Won’t Die

Say What!? 11

Rep. Phil GingreyWhat day is it? Are we still in 2013? Somebody please tell me I haven't transported back in time about six months because sweet Jesus another politician is actually talking about "legitimate rape" again. Darned if I can figure out why this thing just won't die, why anyone with a lick of sense would think it's a good idea to dig up that long dead embarrassment of a ludicrous comment. But Congressman Phil Gingrey from Georgia not only talked about it again at a GOP breakfast, he "partly" defended Akin's comment, which he said was "misconstrued" and actually makes some sense from a medical standpoint. Gingrey is a non-practicing OB/GYN.

Well allow me to see if I can help un-construe everybody here: STOP TALKING ABOUT LEGITIMATE RAPE!

Don't use the words "legitimate rape" together anymore in any context -- in fact, don't even use the words "legitimate" and "rape" together in the same sentence or even the same paragraph, just to be safe. Or any synonyms or metaphors or similes that might denote, connote, imply, intuit, or suggest even slightly that they belong together in the same universe. Haven't we beat this dead vampire horse to death a million times already here?

Now, if you care enough about Gingrey or this issue to dig deeper and want to read his "medical explanation" for why Akin's comments made some semblance of sense (seven previous words also do not belong together), which involves some wacky parallel to couples struggling with infertility, have at it and click here.

But let's be honest. It could be the most intelligent, scientifically grounded explanation in the world and it just doesn't matter. Gingrey lost this one before he even began, just by the mention of those two words.

So there's my little linguistics lesson for the day, and if you get a chance, please send this to that defense attorney in India who is trying to blame a gang rape on the victim:

"Until today I have not seen a single incident or example of rape with a respected lady. Even an underworld don would not like to touch a girl with respect."

No words.

Did you read up on Gingrey's "explanation"? Reaction?

Image via Georgia National Guard/Flickr

sex crime, politics


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Fondue Fondue

His "relax, have a glass of wine, it'll happen" approach to infertility is a slap in the face to those of us who struggle with it.  If it was that easy, then fertility specialists and clinics wouldn't exist today.

miche... micheledo

I agree - there should never be a discussion of legitimate rape.  If it is rape it is legitimate, real, terrible.  Whatever.


However, I am interested in a medical explanation as to why it can be difficult to get pregnant when raped.  I remember hearing when I was much younger, that the body reacts in such a way, when attacked, that actually makes it difficult to get pregnant (NOT impossible).  I am curious if that is a medical fact or just an 'old wives tale.'

And let me make it clear that should have NO factor in whether or not a rape is considered legitimate.

Fondue Fondue

micheledo,  If you click on the link to read his comments, he gives his version of a medical explanation.  It'd be really amusing is he weren't so ridiculously stupid.

nonmember avatar Cass

I am as pro-choice as they come, but I don't find his comments so objectionable. It essentially boils down to not all reported rapes are actual rapes (he cites a scared 15 year old girl saying she was raped to avoid getting in trouble), severe stress and trauma can stop ovulation (true), and pregnancy can still happen if ovulation occurred shortly before the rape. Although I think it was dumb on his part to link his relatively reasonable comments to Akin's, there isn't anything untrue about those three main points, just a combination of over sensitivity and poor word choice. I think it was more offensive to infertile couples.

nonmember avatar LizzieBorden

As soon as I saw the article's title my brain went "oh no, not this again!" Lol

ruby_... ruby_jewel_04

Oh bloody hell. Why can't we get politicians with a freaking brain. What a douche.

Bloom... Bloomie79

Yes, to much stress can prevent pregnancy.... Anecdotally this has been proven true time and time again. Sadly the five minutes or five hours it takes a man to rape a woman have no impact on that truth. There is no such thing as legitamite rape, all rape is legitamite.

Anyone who stands up to defend rape should be shamed, ostracized, and forgotten. The culture of rape and rape defenders (this includes victim blamers) should be stamped out. 

Do you love your daughter, your mother, your sister? If you do then stand up and say so... Over and over... Do not accept this culture as our own.

nonmember avatar Sondra

"Legitimate rape" used to be a real thing. Legitimate rape was a term used by some to denote whether a woman really was raped, or if she had consensual sex and called it rape because she regretted it.

micheledo, yes it is actually possible. Your body shuts down almost every single pregnancy you ever have, unless you happen to be a Duggar. You see under times of great stress or strain (losing your house, ill health, being raped) your body does shut down, to a degree, its fertility. It can also end a pregnancy this way. It doesn't happen all of the time, obviously, but your body is connected to your mind and can therefore determine if it is a REALLY bad time to have a baby.

I asked my OBGYN about it and she confirmed it.

nonmember avatar blh

Sondra I know MANY women and girls who had babies at bad, stressful times in their life. While homeless, on drugs and in terrible relationships. You'd have to be extremely stressed to have a miscarriage BC of it. I myself was certainly pretty stressed during my pregnancy.

nonmember avatar Zuri

Why hasn't this died yet?

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