Leading Missouri Senate Candidate to Women: If you get pregnant, you weren’t really raped

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Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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  1. Avatar Jason Kuznicki
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    says:

    As a historian, I’d thought this idea had disappeared in the seventeenth century or thereabouts. I’m astonished to find it still around.Report

  2. Avatar Burt Likko
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    says:

    I would think that even in Missouri, it’ll be hard to get elected Senator with 0% of the women’s vote.Report

  3. Avatar DensityDuck
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    says:

    when a Democrat says something ridiculous they’re just an individual that nobody listens to and are so far outside the mainstream that only an idiot would think their statement is representative

    but when a Republican says something it’s entirely conformant with what every other Republican thinks

    (that said, Akin is saying an unbelievably stupid thing, like, was this guy born in 1834 or something?)Report

  4. Avatar Brandon Berg
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    says:

    they really need to stop telling men that women who use birth control are sluts that should be required to video tape themselves having sex

    Correction: Women who want to force other other people to pay for their birth control. Accuracy matters, especially when there’s no evidence that any but a small minority of conservatives are opposed to contraception as such.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Brandon Berg
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      says:

      Let’s split the baby down the middle and say, “women who think their health plans should cover birth control.”

      And of course most conservatives aren’t opposed to birth control – the vast majority of them use birth control. Which is yet another reason not to put your foot in your mouth if you’re a visible political leader, pundit or operative – especially when you’re trying to convince 51% of the country that you aren’t really anti-them.Report

      • Avatar BobbyC in reply to Tod Kelly
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        says:

        I think my burger should have cheese on it, but I don’t propose that we make it illegal to sell non-cheesed burgers. Do left-liberals really not understand the objection to regulating health plans in the way PPACA does? Or do you intentionally want to make it sound like having the govt ban selling certain low-coverage health plans is the will of consumers as opposed to the will of the majority using govt to regulate the mkt? Or is it unintentional?

        As for the OP, wow. In my view, it’s stuff like this that keeps people away from the Republican party even when they actually would prefer Republican policy ideas; having political bedfellows who spout such beliefs makes people suspect that Republicans generally are the bad guys. Republicans can complain, and do, if someone tars them individually with some other guy’s awful views, but they should care more about stopping such politicians from ruining their brand than yelling at Democrats and journalists for assigning group blame. For so many of my friends they default to Democratic or nothing because the Republicans have been discredited as backward before the debate begins (so at most they will accept Republican ideas, never the party). I’m someone who wants libertarians to co-opt the Republican party, so it having a shit brand is a bad thing for me.Report

        • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to BobbyC
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          says:

          Left-liberals think it’s more a question of a “cheeseburger” needing to have cheese. As in “health insurance” needs to cover certain things to be considered health insurance.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Nob Akimoto
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            says:

            But my hamburgers don’t have ham!

            Wait, what are we talking about? :-pReport

          • Avatar BobbyC in reply to Nob Akimoto
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            says:

            A few things – first, my question is sincere – do you (1) not understand the objection to banning “cheeseless-burgers”, (2) intentionally want to act like all “burgers” of health insurance plans need to have the “cheese” of covering birth control expenditures via insurance coverage or (3) unintentionally talk this way because you think cheeseburgers are a better product for people than burgers-sans-cheese?

            Second, let’s note that society functioned without govt mandating minimum coverage to health insurers. If there was any problem is was that consumers generally faced a huge price difference between an employer-provided health insurance plan and buying it themselves, which left-liberals elevate to the idea that consumers have no choice and must take whatever plan their employer offers. I don’t like health insurance companies, especially for-profit ones, but left-liberals should recognize that this is value-imposition more than correcting any market failure in health insurance (clearly the mkt was not failing to offer any plans that covered birth control). If anything, the argument from the much maligned Georgetown law student was that she effectively didn’t have consumer choice because she “had to” get health insurance from the university. The obvious fix to such distortions / limitations on consumer choice is to remove the subsidy (employer tax deduction), which was the Republican position in the debate. So you’re left keeping a distortion in the tax subsidy to employers (which is the real constraint on choice in practice, ie there is a huge gap in cost from the plan offered via a job and the mkt for individual coverage). And for what? In order to dictate to Americans the minimum that they must have in their health insurance, but keeping it as a private for-profit industry. That will inevitably raise costs and profits, which is about the worst outcome of a reform in this sector.Report

    • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Brandon Berg
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      says:

      BB: “Women who want to force other other people to pay for their birth control.”

      Accurate. And the politicians who pander to them.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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        says:

        If women who seek to include birth control in their health insurance plans equates to wanting to force other people to pay for it, can’t this logic be extended to anything people want covered in their insurance plan?Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Kazzy
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          says:

          If women who seek to include birth control in their health insurance plans

          That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about a woman who was arguing for the government to force health insurers to cover birth control.Report

          • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Brandon Berg
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            says:

            No, that’s not accurate either. Health insurers don’t need to be forced to include BC, they WANT to include BC.

            She was arguing that employers shouldn’t be allowed to demand that plans not carry BC.

            As I always say, it’s almost never a question of freedom vs. tyranny – it’s always one person’s freedom vs. another’s.Report

            • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tod Kelly
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              says:

              No, that’s twisted. Obamacare is trying to force employers to pay for contraceptives against their religious conscience and they’re not going to get away with it.

              http://www.becketfund.org/Report

              • Avatar b-psycho in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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                says:

                I seem to recall some of these places claiming a religious conscience violation actually covering what they’re complaining about prior to the rule even coming up.

                Like I’ve asked before, where does the workplace end and the individual begin?Report

              • Avatar b-psycho in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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                says:

                A minister fired from a religious school for reasons having squat to do with religion wasn’t really what I had in mind. Rather low of the school to do that though.

                What I’m getting at is people working for religious organizations that serve the public who happen to not adhere entirely with the views of their employer. On the concrete issue, no, I don’t think the employer should have to pay for it. The insurance company? I’m not one for requiring it, but I don’t see where their part in the original objection even matters. If it’s based on religion, how many faith-based insurance companies are there?

                (BTW: that this is even an issue is yet another example of why insurance attached to employment was and continues to be a terrible mistake — thanks a fishing lot, FDR…).Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to b-psycho
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                says:

                If you don’t think the employer should be forced to pay for contraception, then we have no problem here. And if the insurance company wanted to supply contraception but the employer didn’t want to pay for it, that’s the employer’s problem—no business of the government.

                The Hosanna-Tabor case was in direct reply to your question about where the employer ends and the individual begins. The lady in question wasn’t exactly a minister; the court viewed this employee as part of the ministerial function. Moved the line over a little bit, mebbe a lot.Report

              • Avatar b-psycho in reply to b-psycho
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                says:

                Due to the ridiculous historical accident that led to insurance coverage as part of compensation, I’d say unless the employer is picking up the entire tab the decision should be between the worker and the insurance company, not the employer and the insurance company. The employee is more the client, since they’re the one that’s going to be using the service.

                Now, the employer could hypothetically deliberately pick an insurer that didn’t provide such coverage — and the employees could hypothetically object. Even then though, the negotiation is like that of wages, between the employer and the employees.

                Of course, I’d prefer that rather than go through all this mess it were as simple as “we work, and you give us money for it”, and the workers then purchased goods and services in the market and when necessary formed their own voluntary collective means to bargain for such completely outside of and independent from the workplace relationship, but you knew that already.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to b-psycho
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                says:

                True, Mr. Psycho, employer-paid health insurance is a freak of history that has created this perfect storm with religious non-profits and other anomalies of the American “system.”

                But it’s not all that far from government [single-payer]- financed abortion, so the underlying principles are quite live.Report

              • Avatar Fnord in reply to b-psycho
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                says:

                She “wasn’t exactly a minster”? According to the site you linked to yourself, leading prayer was specifically part of her duties. She had a “diploma of vocation” calling her a “Minister of Religion, Commissioned.” Heck, she claimed a tax advantage only available to ministers.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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                says:

                Really? I thought that after the initial fumbling by Obama they were still against the revised plan where they didn’t have to pay for it.Report

              • Avatar Sam in reply to Tod Kelly
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                says:

                Of course they’re still against it. Their issue is with women, not with birth control. They’re appalled that they’re not being given the amount of control over individual decision making that they think they’re due, what with their close and abiding relationship with a God of their own creation. Heaven forbid society not bow to the wishes of religious zealots.Report

            • Avatar Roger in reply to Tod Kelly
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              says:

              Tod,

              Just a question then. The BC requirement only applies to employer chosen plans? Not to individually purchased plans?

              Btw, would you support the requirement that at least one insurance plan offered by an employer cover BC? (as opposed to all plans must cover it)

              Btw 2, would you support the requirement that at least one insurance plan offered by an employer NOT cover BC? How is this different?

              Anyone else feel free to answer as well. I not making any argument in the slightest. I just want to know what people think.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Roger
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                says:

                Roger-

                First off, I think that we should be looking towards medical professionals for what should or should not be required in health plans, with additional consideration given to affordability and mindfulness of equity across the sexual spectrum.

                With that in mind, if it is determined that birth control is an integral part of proper health care and thus coverage should be mandated, I think that mandating A plan be available that offers coverage is actually preferable to requiring that all plans offer it. I would add a condition that employers couldn’t put undue burdens on those seeking the plan that includes BC, such as covering less of the premiums or whathaveyou. If the premium charged by the BC was more expensive either because of the BC itself or because it was overall a more comprehensive/better plan, passing along those additional costs to the employee would be acceptable. So an employer could say they’ll cover 50% of premiums or the first $X of premiums; they could not say that they’ll cover 50% of the non-BC plan premium but only 20% of the BC plan.

                Those are my thoughts, with the disclaimer that I hadn’t considered such an arrangement until you mentioned the possibility here. And I fully reserve the right to completely change this position upon hearing/reading others’ arguments.Report

              • Avatar BobbyC in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                How about ending the subsidy for employers and letting people buy health insurance with their incomes, like we do most products?

                I can see an argument for single-payer and for a regulated insurance mkt separate from employment. I see no argument for the employer-based system that we have. And if that is the most reasonable viewpoint, then what Obama did hardly qualifies as reform as much as it ossified a bad system by patching up some objectionable aspects.Report

              • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to BobbyC
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                says:

                The objective of state health insurance exchanges would be to eventually move people onto them and replace the employer provided coverage. (The law has provisions for allowing small/medium employers to move onto the exchanges by a certain date. Unfortunately the Wyden amendment that would’ve eventually required everyone move that direction never made it into the final law.)Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to BobbyC
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                says:

                BobbyC-

                I agree entirely with disentangling insurance from employment. My suggestion was keeping within the existing framework since it seemed that was what Roger was asking about.Report

              • Avatar BobbyC in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                I know he said he wasn’t making an argument … but I couldn’t help but see his questions as building the case that “once you wed this product to employment, consumer choice is screwed” … so I jumped straight to pleading that we kill the bad intervention instead of adding a patchwork of added interventions.

                How about the idea that the policy issues here are so basic that the only reason Democrats liked this law was because they have subordinated the whole idea on health policy into extending health insurance. Claiming victory upon passing PPACA was more about partisan winning than seeing your deeply help policy ideas enacted into law.Report

              • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Roger
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                says:

                The Birth Control requirement is for all health insurance plans. Basically if someone is insured by a health insurance company, the company must provide birth control coverage if the insured individual asks for it.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Brandon Berg
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            says:

            Brandon-

            But saying “They want other people to pay for it” is inaccurate. If we hold it to be accurate, than me wanting penicillin covered would also be considered to wanting other people to pay for it.Report

            • Avatar BobbyC in reply to Kazzy
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              says:

              The “other people pay for it” claim is indirect … the law does operate that way as the tradeoff is that health insurers accepted profit-hurting regulations (like actually covering people after they get sick) for profit-increasing regulations (like making young people buy expensive insurance that they don’t want under the individual mandate). The govt basically set up a scheme where there is a transfer of value from young healthy people who are currently uninsured to older unhealthy people who are uninsurable. I would so much prefer that we as a country just decided whether we wanted to pay for health care (fuck insurance) for people, and if so then fine pay for it, and if not then fine tell people to fend for themselves. We almost certainly would have a single-payer govt funded system for basic health care if that were the choice. The left should be angry with Obama for this atrocity of a law at least as much as the right is upset about it.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to BobbyC
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                says:

                Yup. Am upset. Also, understand sausagemaking.

                “young healthy POOR people” — young rich kids with “depression” are just as insurable as anyone with a c-section twenty years ago — which is to say, not insurable at all.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Brandon Berg
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      says:

      oh, I’m certain that a large majority of christian conservatives are opposed to any teen contraception that isn’t abstinency pledge related. I mean, they search kids bags for condoms and stuff!

      Have you seen the pregnancy stats that come out of these Christian Camps?Report

  5. Avatar Kazzy
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    says:

    Holy crap! I might actually be more alarmed with the statement about the spare tire. Women should plan for rape?!?! WHAT THE FUCK?!?!Report

  6. Avatar Tom Van Dyke
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    says:

    Hilarious. The Dems helped Akin win the GOP primary, now he leads McCaskill by 5 points or more.

    While, we’re bottom-fishing, the Democratic nominee in the Tennessee senate race is even more hilarious.

    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/tennessee-democrats-reject-u-senate-nominee-mark-clayton-145422739.htmlReport

  7. Avatar MFarmer
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    says:

    The idea probably started from medical facts like this — http://www.babycenter.in/preconception/suspectingaproblem/stressaffectexpert/ — then became oversimplified. Stress can affect ovulation.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to MFarmer
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      says:

      Yeah, I can see that leap being made from this starting point. You;d have to really, really want to make it, but still – good find, MF.Report

    • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer
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      says:

      It should also be noted that Akin claimed — “Rep. Todd Akin, the newly-christened GOP Senate nominee in Missouri, said in an interview airing Sunday that “legitimate rape” rarely causes pregnancy.”

      He didn’t say a woman is not raped if she gets pregnant, so, the claim of this post against Akin is hyperbolic and misleading. You do understand the difference don’t you, between rarely and never? Why do you have to smear rather bring light and clarity? Basically, Akin wasn’t too far off, and his main point of contention was about abortion and whether the unborn child should be punished if the woman becomes pregnant in a rape. I agree that the woman should be able to get an abortion, but others can disagree based on a right to life argument.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to MFarmer
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        says:

        From the link:

        “According to a 1996 study, approximately 32,000 pregnancies result from rape annually in the United States, and about 5 percent of rape victims are impregnated.
        “Rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency,” the study says, according to an abstract. “It is a cause of many unwanted pregnancies and is closely linked with family and domestic violence.””Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to MFarmer
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        says:

        “In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year. I recognize that abortion, and particularly in the case of rape, is a very emotionally charged issue. But I believe deeply in the protection of all life and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action.”Report

        • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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          says:

          “Although there appear to be no exact figures, RAINN, an anti-sexual violence charity, has said medical reports indicate that about 5 percent of all unprotected, one-time sexual encounters end up in pregnancy, and that percent can be applied to rape victims. Since the FBI estimates (PDF) that about 75,720 U.S. women were raped in 2009, that means as many as 3,786 pregnancies resulted from the assaults.”

          http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57496087/mo-rep-todd-akin-rape-rarely-leads-to-pregnancy/Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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          says:

          Akin is good at not saying what it sounds like he’s saying.

          At the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God and a belief that government should replace God…. This is a systematic effort to try to separate our faith and God, which is a source in our belief in individual liberties, from our country. And when you do that you tear the heart out of our country.

          Two days later Akin would not apologize, since he meant that not all liberals hate God, only that liberals have “a hatred for public references for God.”

          The day after that:

          My statement during my radio interview was directed at the political movement, Liberalism, not at any specific individual. If my statement gave a different impression, I offer my apologies.Report

        • Avatar Roger in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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          says:

          Politicians say dumb things. So do the rest of us. The difference is that we don’t broadcast it as social commentary every time the “bad lizards” say something that make us feel worse about them.

          If this is his apology, it sounds like this is a non issue.

          Lizard baiting.Report

          • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Roger
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            says:

            Isn’t slapping the label of “lizard baiting” on calling out a politician who says something really noxious the equivalent of Broderism? The label begs for one to search for a reason to justify the claim that Akin’s opponent is just as much of a lizard as he is, but what could Claire McCaskill have possibly or done that is even roughly equivalent to “If you got pregnant, you weren’t really raped”? As far as I can tell, the biggest knock against her is she mis-charged travel expenses and didn’t pay property taxes on a personal plane she and her husband own, which are as likely to have been good-faith mistakes as they might have been petty corruption.

            IMO, saying the great collective gasp in response to Akin’s remarks inappropriately domesticates them — judging by the quote TVD shared with us, Akin himself came to realize that what he’d said was so obnoxious, he was obliged to swallow his pride and apologize. I for one am pleased that he did so.Report

        • Avatar clawback in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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          says:

          So he still hasn’t backed off the deeply offensive “legitimate” rape terminology, which was the basis of the outrage.

          You left out, without ellipsis, “Those who perpetrate these crimes are the lowest of the low in our society and their victims will have no stronger advocate in the Senate to help ensure they have the justice they deserve.” So he tries to deflect attention by telling us that rapists are bad. And vote for me. Pathetic.Report

          • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to clawback
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            says:

            I’m more willing than you to give him a pass on that — he’s running for office, after all. If he said, “I think women can’t get pregnant if it’s rape-rape, so that’s why you should vote for me,” that would be one thing. He said what he actually said, which did include walking back his remarks and acknowledging his prior error. If we don’t credit that, then in the future we won’t even get that much out of the next guy who opens his mouth without putting his brain in gear first.Report

      • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to MFarmer
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        says:

        If we’re going to be empirical about it, consider this:

        Rep. Todd Akin caused a public outcry Sunday when he suggested that women who were “legitimately raped” would rarely become pregnant. Study after study has proven that theory false. But one provocative study, published in 2003, went even further: It found that a single act of rape was more than twice as likely to result in pregnancy than an act of consensual sex.

        The study, “Are per-incident rape-pregnancy rates higher than per-incident consensual pregnancy rates?” was published in the journal Human Nature by Jonathan A. Gottschall and Tiffani A. Gottschall, two professors at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y. They used data from the federally administered National Violence Against Women survey. There, they found a sample of 405 women between the ages of 12 and 45 who had experienced one incidence of rape that included intercourse.

        Of those 405 women included in the sample, 6.4 percent — or 26 women — reported a pregnancy that year. A separate large-scale study showed that, for the general population of women that age, the per-incidence pregnancy rate for a single act of intercourse is 3.1 percent.

        As a percentage, pregnancy is a “rare” outcome of all intercourse. I don’t consider a 3.1% incidence to be “common,” just all by itself. But if the per-incidence pregnancy rate is more than double that for rape victims, does that not cause your view to swing in the opposite direction? Might that not lead a reasonable person to say that Akin was way, way off?Report

        • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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          says:

          note: this study runs counter to most research on the subject, as is mentioned in the article. It also seems to have a rather limited set of people.Report

          • Avatar Chris in reply to Kimmi
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            says:

            No, it doesn’t run counter to most research, or at least not most recent research. I’m not sure why I’m pointing this out to you except, possibly, that someone might be reading this thread who doesn’t know that you never actually know what you’re talking about.Report

          • Avatar Chris in reply to Kimmi
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            says:

            I linked this above, but I’ll link it again. There is actually a biological/physiological reason why rape may lead to higher pregnancy rates than consensual sex:

            http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1477-7827-8-53.pdf

            This, it should be noted, is precisely the opposite of what the dude in Missouri is saying he hears from doctors.Report

            • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris
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              says:

              Chris, I will say what I said to Jason, good find and I wish I had seen this earlier, as it would have simplified the discussions I was having.

              I still don’t think we can automatically move Akin from the ‘wrong on the facts’ column to the ‘misogynist’ column without some assumptions or other supporting evidence – but I have enough faith in the average American (probably misplaced!) to think that ‘wrong on the facts’ is usually enough to make most people turn away from his argument, without the need to accuse him of vile motives.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Glyph
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                says:

                Dude’s on the Science Committee.

                You have something of an ethical obligation to be “right on the facts” if you’re on the Science Committee.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Glyph
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                says:

                It doesn’t matter — once someone has been declared seriously politically-incorrect, nothing matters but a complete smear job as the group competes for the greatest moral outrage. There are some very intelligent people here who should be concerned by these group dynamics which ignore reason, understanding and objectivity in favor of self-righteous emotionalism.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to MFarmer
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                says:

                Ah, the convenience of redefining empirical inaccuracy as mere political incorrectness. Where would we be without it?Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to James Hanley
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                says:

                I’m not sure why you allow yourself to become stupid just because others are being stupid. Maybe you have a need to fit in. People here condemned Akin for things he didn’t do just because the original charge was politically incorrect. No one knew at the time, from the info given in the post, what the empirical evidence was — people just jumped on the group bandwagon led by groupthink. Obviously, noone knew that sudden stress can prevent ovulation. Obviously no one took the time to understand what Akins’ point is, then address that point, which is basically right to life under all conditions. You are a particulary disappointing case, because you claim to be a libertarian and should know better than to allow yourself to be swept up in group think. I support abortion, but my problem here is how people thoughtlessly react and smear for pleasure. Also, you all will tear a Republican apart with glee, yet give passes to Democrats who do worse. Partisan hackery is becoming the norm here.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to MFarmer
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                says:

                Obviously, noone knew that sudden stress can prevent ovulation No one knows that now, either.

                Your defense seems to be, “He got the facts wrong, but he didn’t do it maliciously. He was just trying to say that even rape victims should be forced to carry fetuses to term, because there are so few of them who get pregnant.” How much traction do you think that defense is going to get with those who disagree with you/him?Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to MFarmer
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                says:

                Ah, I see. You’re condemning commentors here for speaking out before they had empirical knowledge, but not condemning Aiken for speaking out before he had empirical knowledge.

                And to condemn Aiken for speaking out without empirical knowledge is just political correctness/partisan hackery, but to condemn commentors here for speaking out without empirical knowledge is bravely refusing to fit in.

                That clears it up wonderfully. Thanks much.Report

              • Avatar Ryan Noonan in reply to MFarmer
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                says:

                I can’t even imagine a non-malicious reason someone would use the phrase “legitimate rape”.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to MFarmer
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                says:

                I think I can understand what he appears to have meant, though it’s not with a high degree of confidence.

                By “legitimate” he isn’t saying that the woman who was “legitimately” raped deserved it. Quite the opposite. “Legitimate” rapes are rapes where the woman was truly unwilling.

                Rapes where the woman was willing — but later falsely claimed she wasn’t — are illegitimate rapes. The same may very well be true of certain (though not all) statutory rapes, because an underage woman may indeed be willing.

                And how do we sort them out? Pregnancy may be an indication, he was saying, that a rape wasn’t a legitimate one.

                All of which is offered as an explanation, not an endorsement. I find it repugnant in all particulars.

                People who are saying that Akin is in favor of legitimate rape probably haven’t understood the meaning of his comments, I don’t think. Not that this is a defense of them. It’s not. They’re still indefensible.Report

              • Avatar Ryan Noonan in reply to MFarmer
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                says:

                To be clear, I agree with your reading. My position is that I can’t think of a non-malicious reason why you would accuse women (especially in a general case) of lying about being raped.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to MFarmer
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                says:

                Also, you all will tear a Republican apart with glee, yet give passes to Democrats who do worse.

                Really? You know that how? From my genteel treatment of liberals here at the League?Report

              • Avatar Ryan Noonan in reply to MFarmer
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                says:

                Yeah, James Hanley is well known for always giving his liberal interlocutors a pass on the things they say with which he disagrees. A real shrinking violet, that Hanley.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to MFarmer
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                says:

                Ryan, this seems to be a failure of imagination. When I hear the phrase, my mind takes it as excluding false (malicious) or erroneous (ex. guy and girl agreed while blackout drunk, but then the next AM nobody remembers what happened last night) accusations; as well as ‘Romeo & Juliet’-type situations where an 18-yr old runs afoul of the statutory rape laws by having consensual sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend.

                The rapes that are left then, are legitimately called rape. No ifs ands or buts.

                Is my interpretation of this phrase really that far out?Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                glyph. that while blackout drunk? completely nonconsensual on ALL Sides. Fits my definition of rape.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                A real shrinking violet, that Hanley.

                Well, not since I got the Viagra prescription.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                James, I said he misspoke, and that he was inartful, and that he made a mistake. His wa inadvertent — you purposefully cloud the issue to win an argument.

                Chris, no I said he’s saying he supports life no matter how many women get pregnant from rape. I disagree with him, but I’m not angry with him, and I don’t think he’s a horrible cretin for believing what he believes. Right to life is legitimate stance, I just think that a women’s body takes priority and that she has to make the decision. He said it all screwed up, and he should have said he supports life under all conditions even pregnancy caused by rape. It’s not the big deal you all make it out to be — most of you are likely tyring to score political points against the mean, crazy, sexist, racist, ignorant, evil Republicans.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                I said he misspoke, and that he was inartful, and that he made a mistake. His was inadvertent — you purposefully cloud the issue to win an argument.

                Ah, so now you know both his intent and mine. Impressive bit of knowledge that. I wonder how you came about it?Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                @James Hanley:

                And to condemn Aiken for speaking out without empirical knowledge is just political correctness/partisan hackery, but to condemn commentors here for speaking out without empirical knowledge is bravely refusing to fit in.

                And therein lies the rub here. When one speaks without empirical knowledge, one is revealing their biases. So, for instance, if one believes, without empirical knowledge, that the likelihood of pregnancy is either no different or higher as a result of rape than it otherwise might be, one’s biases are that rape is a serious problem and that relatively few women are likely to lie about being raped, and even fewer were “asking for it.”

                If, on the other hand, one speaks without empirical knowledge to express the claim that women have some sort of biological mechanism that makes it especially unlikely that they will get pregnant as a result of a “legitimate” rape, then one is expressing a bias that many/most women who get pregnant as a result of a rape are either lying about it or were “asking for it,” but were in any event not “legitimately” raped. It seems no stretch at all to label such a view as either “sexist” or “mysoginistic.”Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                This. This, this, this.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                James, both your comment and Mark’s comment are sophistry. It’s juvenile, really. You are incapable of having a substantial debate because you can’t admit when you are wrong. Neither of you are worth the energy, because neither of you argue fairly. And Tod is like a little puppy — this, this this. How fucking silly.

                “If, on the other hand, one speaks without empirical knowledge to express the claim that women have some sort of biological mechanism that makes it especially unlikely that they will get pregnant as a result of a “legitimate” rape, then one is expressing a bias that many/most women who get pregnant as a result of a rape are either lying about it or were “asking for it,” but were in any event not “legitimately” raped. It seems no stretch at all to label such a view as either “sexist” or “mysoginistic.”

                I posted empirical evidence that women have biological reaction to sudden stress which can prevent pregnancy. The rest of this you are making up, Mark. It’s clear that Akin was saying that as aside that pregnancies during rape are rare, but even so he would still support life — this makes no judgement on the woman’s relationship to the rape, and Akin is not saying any woman asks to be raped. This is despicable. I can’t express how mean-spirited, small-minded and petty this type of claim is. This place has become too intellectually dishonest. It’s no better than Balloon Juice. Thats’ sad. Mark, you are a big part of why this place has devolved into this type of partisan hackery. I hope you are proud of yourself.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Jesus H Christ, Farmer! Did you not look at the evidence posted repeatedly throughout this thread that, in fact, rape victims are, if anything, more likely to become pregnant than they otherwise would be? And, no, citing to an Indian advice column that discusses whether ovulation might be delayed because of stress doesn’t refute those facts, particularly since, when one gets pregnant, one is, in most cases, already ovulating at the time of intercourse.

                The fact is that the claim Akin made has a long and well-documented history. He is not the first politician to make it, and the sources of those claims are well-known and long disproven. And none of those sources, by the way, are advice columns from Indian websites discussing the effects of stress on ovulation.

                And then you wonder why people here think you are little more than an apologist for conservatives.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s clear that Akin was saying … he would still support life … and Akin is not saying any woman asks to be raped.

                Nobody here has argued differently on those points.

                . Mark, you are a big part of why this place has devolved into this type of partisan hackery.

                Nonsense. I’d rate Mark as one of the top 3 or so least partisan persons here. You seem unable to see disagreement with you as possibly having any basis other than partisanship.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Ahh! I think I see the problem!
                Apparently MFarmer is under the impression that there’s only one type of rapist, and that they’re the type with slow sperm and dysfunctional equipment.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Thanks, James – I appreciate the support, and am flattered. I’d also point out the irony of accusing me of being responsible for this place “devolving into partisan hackery” when I put up an OP maybe once a month. Frankly, if anything, I’m probably slightly less hostile to conservatives than I was when we started this place 3 1/2 years ago.

                Mike, I know it’s hard to believe, but….it’s an election year, which means people are going to write a lot about, you guessed it, the election. And what happens when opinionated people write their opinions about elections? Well, they come across as being partisans; even if they have no intention of voting for either of the two major parties, they have definite opinions about which of the two is generally less bad, and those opinions are going to come out pretty clearly.

                But in this case? Partisanship has little to do with the analysis, given that everyone from John Cole to Michelle Malkin is saying exactly the same thing about the outrageousness of what Akin said.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Mark, yes, and Malkin and rest are politically concerned with the election, so they want to quickly throw him under the bus. I see no virtue in any of this. This man could be destroyed just because he didn’t put his thoughts in the right words. The debate regarding a woman’s choice over her body or right to life is lost in all the smearing, moral-chest-pounding and juvenile gotcha politics. For all the claims from the left to be compassionate, understanding, open-minded, etc, when it comes to a certain set of white men in the wrong political party, the Left is anything but understanding, compassionate or open-minded. It’s ugly, and I’m surprised you condone it. If the Left can’t win on ideas, then the Left is in serious trouble, because this righteous emotionalism and smear-the-enemy campaign will go only so far before everyone is sick of it. When I first came here, you appeared to be a reasonable person and a strong influence on the site for objectivity, but now you come across as just another bozo on the partisan bus.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                This man could be destroyed just because he didn’t put his thoughts in the right words.

                A) Putting their thoughts in the right words is a pretty big part of a politician’s job description.

                B) Not being elected to a public office he has not yet even held = being destroyed? Dude’s got a pretty fragile life, eh?Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Mark, this comes from a real Amurican site — http://www.babymed.com/fertility/can-stress-stop-you-getting-pregnant — not one of foreign, Indian sites. Yes, I understand that the Indians proably don’t know shit about medicine, but this is an Amurican dr.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Mike, did you read this article you linked to?

                This article claims – correctly, as I understand it – that stress can sometimes effect fertility, because:

                1. Stress can lead to erectile dysfunction, and

                2. Stress can throw off a woman’s menstrual cycles, which can both effect her both her ability to ovulate and/or her ability to use that cycle as a way to be predictive about ovulation

                In which way is either of these situations relevant in a rape? If a woman is already ovulating when she’s assaulted, she’s already ovulating – and the egg may or may not be fertilized. How that horrible crime affects her next menstrual cycle is pretty moot at that point.

                This article makes no mention of stress “shutting down the system” before the sperm can get there, “secreting a solution that kills sperm,” or killing/jettisoning the egg in advance of fertilization, or any other mechanism that would suggest what you’re suggesting. It just says stress can screw up future menstrual cycles.

                Again, if you don’t want to take the only Doctor on this site’s word, take the clinical study he’s presented:

                http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8765248

                Taking these actual, real scientific facts and making the leaps you’re making from them to back up your point is the textbook definition of junk science.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Mike,

                You missed an important point Mark made above:

                when one gets pregnant, one is, in most cases, already ovulating at the time of intercourse.

                Can on-going stress interfere with ovulation? Sure. Can a sudden moment of stress shut down an ovulation that’s already happened? The evidence says not. The article you is about the first situation; the claim that Congressman made is about the same situation. So your source doesn’t answer the question being debated here; it answers a different question.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Alice Domar from Harvard has done a lot of research on this topic. She’s not an Indian — http://www.domarcenter.com/blog/2011/03/what-truly-is-the-relationship-between-stress-and-ivf-outcome-2/Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Mike,

                Domar is also talking about the other question–the effect of on-going stress on fertility. She is not talking about whether a sudden stress after ovulation has occurred affects likelihood of pregnancy.

                Those are two different questions, and all your sources refer to the on-going stress question. Nobody here is disputing you on that question. But that’s not the question the Congressman was talking about.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                One can see where Akin made a reasonable assumption as an aside comment. He should have stuck with what he knows with certainty, as should people on this site, but it was an honest mistake, and the comment wasn’t even pertinent to his main point, that, regardless of how the pregnancy happened, he supports Life. The fact that so many have made so much regarding what Akin said shows me this is political and has nothing to do with women, rape or abortion — it’s a gotcha moment and the Left political machine wants to milk it for what it’s worth — all the people jumping on the bandwagon are just what the political leaders on the Left want — people are being played by media and partisans. For goodness sake, think for yourself.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Ongoing stress starts somewhere as does the biological reaction — as if the stress goes away when the rapist leaves?Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                I imagine the stress is awful and ongoing long after the rape, and the biological reaction is then pertinent.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                The fact that so many have made so much regarding what Akin said shows me this is political and has nothing to do with women, rape or abortion — it’s a gotcha moment and the Left political machine wants to milk it for what it’s worth…

                So, the only way for liberals to show support for women and abortion rights, especially abortion for pregnancy due to rape, would have been to ignore what Akin actually said?

                Are you sure about that Mike?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Whoops. First paragraph is a quote from MF.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, Mike, nobody here can save you from your self. If your considered intent is to purposely confuse the issue and pervert logic, I’ll leave you to your own devices.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                “She is not talking about whether a sudden stress after ovulation has occurred affects likelihood of pregnancy.”

                http://abcnews.go.com/Health/w_RelationshipNews/stress-decrease-chances-pregnant/story?id=12994215Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                No, Stillwater, not ignore — understand with grown-up thinking. Good try.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                “Well, Mike, nobody here can save you from your self. If your considered intent is to purposely confuse the issue and pervert logic, I’ll leave you to your own devices.’

                In other words, you have nothing left.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                No, Mike, I mean pervert logic. You wrote:

                Ongoing stress starts somewhere as does the biological reaction — as if the stress goes away when the rapist leaves?

                You’re reversing time’s arrow here. We’re talking about a women who began ovulating prior to being raped. The rape can’t retroactively prevent the ovulation. That’s what I mean by perverting logic–the “ongoing” stress from a rape comes after any ovulation that would make pregnancy from the rape a risk, so as a matter of elementary logic it can’t have any effect on it.

                And you might want to actually read the article at your latest link. It doesn’t support your claim. It doesn’t even make passing reference to your claim. And if the best you can do in response to links to peer-reviewed studies is to link to news articles that don’t support your claim, maybe it’s time to recognize that your quiver’s empty.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Now you’re arguing in a circle, Mike. I’m assuming that you’re dropping the claim that Akin was basically right at this point since it has been so demonstrably proven wrong, and you are now saying that he either had a reasonable basis for it, or he just didn’t put his thoughts in the right words.

                Except that he didn’t have a reasonable basis for the belief – claims about stress delaying ovulation have no reasonable or even conceivable nexus with claims that a woman is less (let alone significantly less) likely to become pregnant because of a “legitimate” or even “forcible” (which is what he clarified his remarks to after having time to reconsider; note that “forcible” is no better than “legitimate” since all but statutory rape is definitionally “forcible”) rape. Nor is there any evidence to suggest that studies about stress delaying ovulation were what he was referring to; this is why I mocked your original source – Indian advice columns are (a) obscure since they’re not read by Americans, and thus unlikely to have been Akin’s source; and (b) as with any advice column, hardly viewed as a reliable source for scientific data.

                Nor did he simply mangle a few words, as demonstrated by his attempt yesterday to rephrase his claims as being about “forcible” rather than “legitimate” rape. His use of the word “legitimate” was of less importance than his very specific claim about women having a mechanism, upon being raped, to just “shut that whole thing down.” But sealing the deal in terms of this being far from a mangling of a few words is: (1) the long, ugly, and continuing history of this particular lie, such that it cannot be said that he just garbled a few words; and (2) his personal history of assuming women are likely to make false rape claims.

                And no, what is not important here is whether he is pro-life – there are millions of reasons one might be pro-life. But keep in mind that this claim was made in the context of explaining why he’s opposed to exceptions for rape; that explanation was that due to mysterious biological forces, rape victims are exceedingly unlikely to become pregnant, and that such an exception would be regularly abused – even without the use of the word “legitimate,” this pretty clearly amounts to a claim that a lot of women lie about being raped; the use of the term “legitimate” just clinches this interpretation. Again, given his history of blocking laws against marital rape on exactly these grounds, it is hardly a stretch to call this sexist and mysogynistic.

                And it’s pretty obvious why it is relevant why he is so absolutely pro-life, rather than just whether he is absolutely pro-life- his motivation on one issue says an awful lot about what is likely to motivate him on other issues. That it also happens to confirm one of the key claims made about Republicans’ and conservatives’ recent positions in the contraception and abortion debates, whether or not those claims are correct as to other Republicans’ motivations, is just icing on the cake. If there is anything encouraging about the whole episode, it is that Republicans have, except for the Focus on the Family diehards, basically disowned him for it, meaning that they, too, view such motivations as incompatible with their worldview.

                In effect, by distancing themselves, what the Republicans are trying to say is “no, we’re serious about our positions not being a ‘War on Women,’ and anyone who wants to conduct such a war is unwelcome in our tent.”Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                the anovulatory cycle might be what we’re looking for.

                http://www.conceiveeasy.com/get-pregnant/anovulation/Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Mike, what does that have to do with the relationship between rape and pregnancy?Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Mark, what I’m saying, and what I said from the beginning is that Akin said something about rape and biological reactions that lessen the risk of pregnancy — he’s certainly not an expert, so he should have left that out. He should have said he supports life under all conditions, period. But having said what he said, it’s not that outrageous, because it’s close enough to controversial studies to be excused, and it’s understandable. Howver, no one looked past his verbal clumsiness (when you speak of rape without showing an excess of compassion, you open yourself to accusation of insensitity) — they took it and beat the guy over the head with it. We can put under a microscope just about anything any politican says and tear it apart to attack the politican, but if this continues, no one is going to go into politics. It’s unfair to make this much of what the guy said. Is McCaskil being totally cynical when she says that Akin apologized to people who took what he said to be insentive, and that he is an honorable man? Is McCaskill lying?Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Christ almighty, Mike – you keep posting things that say the same thing, which isn’t fishing relevant. Let me explain this simply and clearly: in the overwhelming majority of circumstances, for a woman to become pregnant, she must have already started ovulating at the time of intercourse. This is true regardless of whether she is raped or has consensual sex. Thus, unless you are saying that the sperm of rapists is magically slower than the sperm of a non-rapist, something that might delay or prevent ovulation has nothing whatsoever to do with whether the rape victim becomes pregnant from the rape.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                1. One can be a sexist, mysogynistic troglodytic ignoramus and still be “honorable.”

                2. After what he said, it is very much in McCaskill’s best interests for the next 24 hours to do everything she can to make sure that Akin stays in the race – she’s the last person I’d expect to be pounding Akin for this at the moment. Now, next month? Totally different story.

                And no, what he said is not close enough to be excusable; it’s wrong under even a 5th grader’s understanding of biology. Unlike the evolution morass, it is frankly close to impossible to be a functioning adult in this country without understanding the basics of the menstrual cycle.

                Nor is this possibly something that can be chalked up to just clumsy wording – this was not some error in syntax, it was a very specific claim made to justify a very specific position. That he should have kept his mouth shut about the claim is irrelevant; he answered a question about his motivations by including motives that are simply unacceptable in a modern society. He doesn’t get to pretend like he never made the claim (which he has not functionally walked back, just restated in less specific terms) because it is a politically toxic motivation.

                The fact is that he revealed insight into his motives (insight that is consistent with his own past comments, mind you) and now has to deal with the consequences of people being incredibly offended by those motives.

                Might this make politicians even less likely to reveal their motives in the future? Perhaps, but probably not – most politicians already know that it’s not terribly wise to express views that suggest half of their constituents are willing to lie about rape. Regardless, though, the alternative is that people just ignore politicians’ own admissions about their own motives, which is just an absurdity, defeating the entire purpose of politician stating his motives in the first place.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Akin said something about rape and biological reactions that lessen the risk of pregnancy … it’s not that outrageous, because it’s close enough to controversial studies to be excused, and it’s understandable.

                Let’s revisit the Congressman’s actual words.

                “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

                “[C]lose enough to controversial studies”? The studies, not actually controversial (nobody here has controverted them anyway), talk about stress shutting down ovulations that have not yet occurred. None of the links anyone has put here show a study claiming the female body’s response to rape is to prevent pregnancy when an ovulation is already happening.

                That’s the key distinction that you keep fudging over, the difference between a future ovulation and a current ovulation.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Yeoman’s work all, but I think this is one of those cases where being right supersedes listening. If Mike’s ever going to get what you’re both saying i think it’s going to have to be after some distance in time and far away from this site. It may be time to give this a rest. Otherwise it may be endless threading of Mike googling stress and fertility and you guys trying over and over to explain what ovulation means.

                Maybe better to walk away for today?Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Maybe so. And anyway, now I’ve got Tom Van Dyke’s sexist insult of my wife to gnaw on.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Nobody insulted your wife except you. Man up.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Duly noted; I shall listen to Our Tod.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Have the courage to own up to it, Tom. I don’t think anyone here’s going to believe your lies.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Using your wife to get at me? You got issues, brother.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                That’s it, Tom, play a game of misdirection so hopefully folks won’t notice that one of the League’s FP males directed a sexist insult at one of the League’s female commentors.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                If you want to keep disgracing yourself, James, I can’t stop you.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Let’s see, Tom, how many people have jumped in to say I’m wrong and to defend your statement as non-sexist? That might have some bearing on an impartial observer’s determination of who’s disgracing themselves.

                But perhaps you don’t think making sexist comments is disgraceful?Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                James and Mark — neither of you are comprehending the links and the research. If you are saying that the perfect timing causes pregnancy, then Akin didn’t say pregnancy can’t happen, but in an instance where the stress causes ovulation to stop, or anovulation, then it won’t, which would reduce the cases of pregnancy.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m not sure any of you understand what you are against — you just know that a bunch of people are pissed off at Akin, and it seems like the right thing to do. Mark, you are really stretching this thing out of proportion. It’s pitiful to see a smart person purposefully become stupid. So McGaskill is a lying political animal who will say or do anything to get elected? Good win there team. At least that monster Akin will not win.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                When you quote the “legitimate” rape part, and the body shutting down, you are mistaking what he says. He’s saying if it’s the type of rape we all know to be forceful and violent, not statutory, then there is stress and the stress causes a biological reaction that tries to shut it down to pregnancy. Tod claimed that Akin said that when a woman gets raped and gets pregnant that the rape is not legitimate — this is dishonest, totally. Akin didn’t make this claim.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m really disappointed in the low character of those who are intentionally smearing Akin and dishonestly turning him into a misogynist, sexist monster. This is incredible. This is worse than Balloon Juice. This kind of attack is lacking any charitable, mature understanding — it’s just dishonest — and makes you all look like monsters yourselves.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                “Yeoman’s work all, but I think this is one of those cases where being right supersedes listening. If Mike’s ever going to get what you’re both saying i think it’s going to have to be after some distance in time and far away from this site. It may be time to give this a rest. Otherwise it may be endless threading of Mike googling stress and fertility and you guys trying over and over to explain what ovulation means.”

                You should be ashamed of this post, especially as you continue in the vein of self-righteousness, but you are the one who doesn’t understand. In a way, I feel sorry for you. You actually believe you are on the right side in this. That’s a dangerous lack of insight.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                I know I said I was done with this, and it is my intent that I so be done. However, your accusation of dishonesty is, frankly, offensive and outrageous, particularly given the evidence that has been provided on this issue. I’m sorry I was unable to persuade you, but being unpersuaded is hardly a basis for accusations of dishonesty.

                Second, I did not say McCaskill was lying – I merely said that her statement did not exonerate Akin, and cannot be read as an exoneration of him, or to quote myself: ” One can be a sexist, mysogynistic troglodytic ignoramus and still be “honorable.”

                In fact, if you go to her campaign website right this very moment, you will be hit with an immediate and, indeed, obnoxious request for donations to defeat Todd Akin; the request features his entire quote blown up in a rather large font, with the even larger header declaring: “Claire’s Opponent Todd Akin Thinks Women Can’t Get Pregnant From ‘Legitimate Rape.'”

                In fact, I’ve yet to find any quote of her even going so far as to say he’s honorable or accept his apology. To the contrary, a minute or two of googling found this: http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/david/mccaskill-rape-remarks-are-window-todd-akins

                “”This statement is kind of window into Todd Akin’s mind,”

                “He may be acting like he was backtracking but he didn’t say he was wrong,” McCaskill continued. “He is now acknowledging that someone can become pregnant when they have been raped. But what he said in his statement was that it was rare, there was something in the women’s body that could, you know, shut down a pregnancy because if it was a ‘legitimate’ rape. He hasn’t said that’s a wrong statement, he hasn’t apologized for that statement.”Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Mark, what you did in that comment, the one right up there? It’s “is incredible. [It’s] is worse than Balloon Juice. This kind of attack is lacking any charitable, mature understanding — it’s just dishonest — and makes you all look like monsters yourselves.” Dude! You’re worse than Balloon Juice!

                Mike, why do you think Mark is arguing so disingenuously? And I’m asking sincerely. More than anyone at this site*, I think, Mark has a reputation for honesty in his arguments. Why think he’s being different now? Is it because you think his arguments are a thinly veiled attack on Akin’s conclusion about the permissibility of abortion, rather than an attack on Akin’s argument for that conclusion? I’d sure like to think you could see the difference here, Mike.

                Just because people disagree about the conclusion Akin is arguing for doesn’t mean we can’t agree that his argument is really bad.

                *Well, at least as much as.Report

              • Avatar Sam in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Farmer,

                He did make this claim. He said that when a women is raped, her body shuts down. Ergo, if a woman is pregnant, she wasn’t raped. What other conclusion can you possibly draw?Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Sam, he said that a woman’s body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down, in other words — when the rape is a rape as we know and think of rape, which is horrible beyond imagination, a woman’s body reacts to the stress in ways that can interefere with ovulation. To say that ovulation must be present to get pregnant is saying nothing. Stress has been shown to interfere with ovulation, so after the rapist discharges, a woman who would ovulate, say, two days later normally would not ovulate due to the stress and the body’s reaction. Having sex 2 to 3 days before ovulation is the most fertile time, but if stress interferes with ovulation, then you can see that the comment has some merit, and that the reactions are out of line.Report

              • Avatar Sam in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Farmer,

                Let’s suppose we concede everything you’ve written here: that women have systems which “shut down” after rape, that ovulation is interrupted, etc. That still doesn’t change the fact that what he was implying was that women who are pregnant can’t have been raped. After all, they have “systems” for dealing with that. So by implication, if a woman is pregnant pregnant, the system must not have been triggered, thus they must not have been raped. That’s offensive even if we concede everything that you’ve said.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                “One can be a sexist, mysogynistic troglodytic ignoramus and still be “honorable”

                Stillwater, mainly for making arguments like this. It’s juvenile and dishonest. When people resort to namecalling they have no argument left, but it’s dishonest to pretend you do. Smearing Akin based on what he said is uncalled for — a person can disagree with Akins’ beliefs without smearing the person.Mark acts as if what Akin said is rife with implications regarding whether rape as we know rape is rape at all, but this is not what Akin is saying- Plus, he misrepresents what I say, which is dishonest.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                “In fact, I’ve yet to find any quote of her even going so far as to say he’s honorable or accept his apology. ”

                Well, I heard it. You are in denial something terrible. But then you like to make me out as an imbecile, so I probably didn’t hear it and just made it up. Jeez. Wow. How people defend what you’re doing here, I have no idea.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                “Well, I heard it. You are in denial something terrible. ”

                Link to it.

                Mark linked to her responses, calling him a liar for quoting what he linked to is… bizarre.

                Unless you can link to her saying she accepts the apology and finds him honorable for saying what he said?

                If you can link to her saying that, I will give you so many kudos. If you can’t link to that, then at the very least you might refrain from calling Mark a liar for quoting things he *can* link to.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                “Let’s suppose we concede everything you’ve written here: that women have systems which “shut down” after rape, that ovulation is interrupted, etc. That still doesn’t change the fact that what he was implying was that women who are pregnant can’t have been raped.”

                No, he didn’t imply that. The stress reaction “trys” to interfere with the ovulation and it does at times. Akin says that women who are raped can get pregnant. That’s what he said. This is what I’m talking about when I say dishonest — you are not taking into account what Akin actually said.

                “After all, they have “systems” for dealing with that.””

                What are the scare quotes for, to make it look strange, as if I’m saying women have these magic systems? It’s a biological/hormonal reaction, nothing magical.

                “So by implication, if a woman is pregnant pregnant, the system must not have been triggered, thus they must not have been raped. That’s offensive even if we concede everything that you’ve said.”

                Again, the research doesn’t say that the stress reaction is 100%, and Akin didn’t say this, and you would know that if you had paid attention rather than rush to a simplistic dissing of what I said.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/gop-brass-calls-akin-withdraw-democrat-mccaskill-says-he-should-stay

                There was another interview in which she used a different term than sincere, and I think it was honorable. I don’t know why you couldn’t find this — it’s basically what I said — it makes my point.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                Clearly, you’ve picked and chosen which sort of group dynamics you think should be worrisome to intelligent people: getting shit wrong in the furtherance of an ideology? Not so bad. Suggesting that people might be racist or misogynist? Bad. Got it.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                No, actually I see the light now. Akin is a sexist, misogynist religious nut. I suspected it all along, but I wanted to see if my defense had any foundation. I hope he suffers one day like the women he hates who’ve been raped. I will always hate him now that I see why I should. Thanks. This is a good group, and I have been bad. My antisocial stubbornness has caused pain, and I apologize. Some of the most insightful, cutting edge intellectuals grace this site, and I am grateful to be a small part of it. Fuck Akin, long live the League, Obama, love and Justice.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                You are very bitter today, dude. I suggest a beach vacation, or at least a massage in the mall.Report

              • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Glyph
                Ignored
                says:

                Anyone who thinks you can separate rape into the categories of “legitimate” and
                “non-legitimate” (or “forcible” and “non-forcible”) is a misogynist.Report

        • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jason Kuznicki
          Ignored
          says:

          Jason – (I thought I was out, but they pulled me back in) 🙂

          Good find. This is exactly the sort of thing I was looking for but my time was limited and I guess my google-fu must bow to yours. This is the sort of thing that (assuming the study is well-designed and results replicable) kicks the legs out from under the ‘scientific’ bit of Akin’s argument, and I’d recommend that people make him aware of these facts pronto. The second, concluding moral part of his argument (abortion is still wrong, and two wrongs don’t make a right) remains, and is a philosophical question, about which reasonable people can and will disagree.

          I said before that it would not surprise me to find the female body had defenses against this sort of thing.

          What I did not say, for fear of becoming an even bigger leper than I have apparently already made of myself here, is that the opposite finding (as you have found, that rape may be MORE effective at causing pregnancy than consensual sex is) would not surprise me either. 🙁

          Reproductive strategies/fitness don’t give a damn about human morality, and what we humans call ‘rape’ is called ‘a successful date’ in much of the animal kingdom. That it’s not pretty, and that I don’t like nor recommend it, makes no difference to the universe. I am sad to find out once again that this is true.Report

          • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Glyph
            Ignored
            says:

            One ought to read it less as a successful date, and more as “straying may be a good reproductive strategy.” Expect marriage, and continual sex as the default — rape in that context simply means “new and more interesting” genes.

            (also, expressing a full and honest “I dunno, it could be anything” is probably better than tentatively siding with someone being called otu for being an idiot)Report

            • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kimmi
              Ignored
              says:

              Maybe, but the way things were going already, I was expecting ‘See, Glyph thinks rape is great/natural! I KNEW it! He says that after all, animals do it, so it must be OK! What a maroon/misogynist!’.

              I am quickly learning that what you don’t say is as important as what you do, so I was trying to stay focused on the questions as I saw them, and avoid setting off any more bombs. Not that it helped all that much. This is just such an all-around emotional topic that wading into it is always a minefield.Report

        • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Jason Kuznicki
          Ignored
          says:

          Akin’s position can be torn down easily, if you are only paying attention to “rarely”, which was not his primary point. His point is that even if women do get pregnant from rape and his understanding that stress affects ovulation, or something like that, is wrong, it doesn’t matter to him, because he is defending life regardless of how often women get pregnant from rape. This is how I understood him. He was inartful, but an intelligent person who values understanding over gotcha politics will move past the clumsy introduction to his support for life under all conditions. If Akin had simply said I value life over all other concerns, then this wouldn’t have been so controversial, but because he clumsily left himself open to attack, the attack dogs salivated and instinctively attacked. It’s pitiful to watch this behavior from intelligent people. There are many more things to get morally upset over, like Obama;s drone campaign and the innocent people dying because Obama and other politicians are playing political games with young men and women as pawns to be disposed of for political gain or to avoid looking weak to win an election.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi in reply to MFarmer
      Ignored
      says:

      stress can ALSO cause miscarriages, which is more probably causally related to “woman raped, not have baby” — because ovulation often happens BEFORE sex.Report

  8. Avatar Glyph
    Ignored
    says:

    Based on the 38 seconds of The Jaco Report presented above, Akin does not appear to be saying what this post implies he is saying. Tod, I usually agree with you but I think you are way off-base here.

    Without transcribing the entire statement, Akin says in effect:

    1.) It is his understanding that pregnancy as a result of rape is rare.
    2.) The reason for that rarity is due (again as he understands it) to physiological responses on the part of the victim (implied: the psycholgical and physiological stress of rape presumably acting as a countervailing force to conception/pregnancy).
    3.) He then concedes that even though he understands this to be the case, it is possible that in some cases that this line of physiological defense may be insufficient to prevent a pregnancy (IOW, nothing works 100% of the time).
    4.) In which case, as a pro-life person, he still believes that the perp should be punished, not another innocent victim.

    Now, I am having a really hard time understanding how, even if you disagree with his statements or conclusion, you think that he is saying anything close to ‘those sluts that *do* get pregnant from rape, must really have wanted it’. That is just a huge, and uncharitable, leap.

    When I google ‘how often does pregnancy result from rape’, most of the links I find cite sources similar to what have already been quoted, around 5%.

    I also found this:

    http://www.christianliferesources.com/article/rape-pregnancies-are-rare-461

    Now, given the title, I am sure many won’t even click on it, and I only skimmed it, and did not check his premises or math – but at least the author goes through the methodology he used to derive his numbers, so those inclined to dig further have plenty to do so. Unsurprisingly, he comes up with lower figures.

    I also found this:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/15/health/nearly-1-in-5-women-in-us-survey-report-sexual-assault.html?_r=1

    That’s 1.3 million females raped per year. The article notes this is significantly higher than estimates such as the FBI one Tom notes.

    Hopefully these two links may assist commenters in guesstimating ‘rarity’ (obviously itself a vague/debatable term) as this is one of the two most factually-debatable statements he makes (the other of course being the supposed automatic physiological defenses of female rape victims).

    I probably can’t discuss this much further tonight, sorry, life stuff. But I really think this is much less than it is being made out to be. Is Akin wrong? Misinformed? Possibly.

    But is he slut-calling? Probably not (unless there is more to the remarks than what I saw in 38 seconds).Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Glyph
      Ignored
      says:

      I will check this all out when I am back at my computer, especially since it is coming from you glyph.

      Without bein able to access the video in the run, though, I can tell you that while he was absolutely arguing the main point you say he was, he says that female bodies shut down when they are raped – and then takes the time to clarify, “legitimately raped.”

      I take this to mean that those pregnancies that occur where women have claimed it was rape were not being so forthright. Further, I think you have to kind of look for an alternative interpretation not to read it that way. Similar to his liberals hate God comments that he walked back a while back, I think he slipped and said something he really thinks – because “doctors he knows” said so.

      But like I said, it wouldn’t be the first time I was wrong so I will review when I get home tonight.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        I am basing everything I say here off the 38 seconds of video. I am unaware of the man or his statements otherwise.

        But even his qualifier ‘legitimate’ – do we really think that no female ever gets pregnant, and then either due to malice/vindictiveness/revenge, or mental illness, or alcoholic blackout during the sex act, falsely accuses a man of rape after the fact? Never?

        Maybe I am too naive, but I see the use of the word ‘legitimate’ as an attempt at excluding cases like this from the statement that follows, as well as those things that end up being called ‘rape’ that really aren’t (like the 18-year old getting his 15-year-old girlfriend pregnant via consensual stupid teenage sex).Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        In which case, as a pro-life person, he still believes that the perp should be punished, not another innocent victim.

        I’m waiting for him to step up to the rest of the job. If the state requires that the rape victim carry the baby to term, then the state ought to damned well guarantee that the rape victim gets a chance to do the things she would have done without the baby: attend college; put in long hours in an entry-level job building a career; enjoy the chance to occasionally be young and foolish while she’s young. And not hide behind “give the baby up for adoption,” making the mother a victim again. Let’s not make it a choice between giving up the baby or (with high probability) being consigned to being poor forever.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Glyph
      Ignored
      says:

      I think that his use of the phrase “legitimate rape” is very problematic. With that phrase, the logical conclusion of his statements are that women who become pregnant via rape might not actually have been “legitimately” raped. Whether such a position is something he actually believes or meant to convey is hard to know. But even giving him the benefit of the doubt that he doesn’t actually think that, straying too close to the “rape allegations are mostly made up” or “women are asking for it” paths is unwise.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        “straying too close to the “rape allegations are mostly made up” or “women are asking for it” paths is unwise.”

        That he may have strayed too close to saying those things is debatable; but what is not debatable to my mind, is that many appear to have strayed too close to *hearing* those things.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Glyph
          Ignored
          says:

          Akin’s phrasing and entire position left open the possibility of being interpreted as saying rape victims are asking for it and/or are falsely alleging their attacks.

          How else should we interpret him saying that the whole system shuts down if a woman is “legitimately raped”? In those instances where a victim DOES become pregnant… are they all examples of that system shut down failing? Or are they examples of something that can’t legitimately be called rape?Report

          • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kazzy
            Ignored
            says:

            Please try listening again. We can certainly concede there are things that get called rape that really are not; and he concedes that the ‘shut down system’ may not work in all cases.

            What is so objectionable here (aside from the fact that I have no idea if there even is a ‘shut-down system’, but the deleterious effects of stress on the human body are pretty well-known)?

            I mean, if we want to get outraged, we can always look hard and find a reason, I guess; give me a few to get my pitchfork and torch from the shed. 😉Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Glyph
              Ignored
              says:

              I did listen. What I heard him say was that women who get legitimately raped only very rarely get pregnant. It appears that the incidence of pregnancy among rape victims is more than “very rare”. Either he and I have a disagreement on what constitutes “very rare” or he thinks that most women who get pregnant via rape weren’t “legitimately” raped. If it is the latter, I find that highly objectionable.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                And as the linked article mentions, Akin once expressed concern that women might use an anti-marital-rape law to “beat up on a husband” during divorce proceedings. While I’m sure there are instances of that happening, my hunch is that it is FAR more rare an occurrence than pregnancy via rape. What does not seem so rare is Akin alleging that rape victims are falsifying their attacks..Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Wikipedia, so, you know, salt and all:

                FBI reports consistently put the number of “unfounded” rape accusations around 8%

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_statistics#False_reporting

                So, we can debate about what ‘rare’ means to you and me, but by my math the percentage of false rape accusations exceeds the percentage of rape-related pregnancies, anyway.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Glyph
                Ignored
                says:

                I meant specifically unfounded rape allegations used in divorce proceedings. In that case, he saw fit to question the validity of an anti-marital-rape law because of such rare exceptions (though he ultimately voted in favor of it).Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Again, everything I am saying here is based on the 38 second video. I have no idea what he has said about marital rape.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                But given additional evidence, why not reconsider your position?Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Because that is not the point of the OP. The OP is, paraphrased, ‘hey, listen to this…this dude thinks that rapes do not result in pregnancy! What’s more, he says this is because if you get pregnant from a rape, you must have wanted it!’

                I don’t think Akin says that in the video, for the reasons I note.

                I am NOT stating that he is therefore correct in what he is saying, just that I believe he is not saying what the OP implies he is saying in that video.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Akin is saying that according to Doctor Spaceman, when a woman is legitimately raped, her body shuts the whole thing down (which is a wonderful way of phrasing what he is completely ignorant of), and only in rare cases does pregnancy result.

                Or, more formally: if a woman is legitimately raped, the chances are she won’t get pregnant.

                The contrapositive: if a woman is pregnant, the chances are she wasn’t legitimately raped.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Or, interpreted more charitably:

                1.) some women who are pregnant who say they were raped, were not raped (I see no reason this statement is false). Why should these women get the rape exemption?

                2.) Of the rest, the legitimately raped, few will become pregnant (very debatable, obviously, but not obviously false on its face, until we get the actual numbers, then agree on what number constitutes ‘few’).

                Akin thinks the number is few enough that it does not warrant an exception. This may be cold, or wrong – but it is not obviously medieval/misogynistic.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                1.) some women who are pregnant who say they were raped, were not raped (I see no reason this statement is false). Why should these women get the rape exemption?

                I’m asking this seriously: Do you see how some people would see that statement as misogynistic?Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                I will answer seriously: How on earth can that be misogynistic?

                People lie or are mistaken, all the time.

                Therefore, some percentage of people (male, or female) who claim to have been (or think they were) raped, are lying or mistaken.

                People who are lying or mistaken, should not get the benefit of a proposed legal exception explicitly intended to benefit those who are telling the truth, and correct.

                Misogynistic? Seriously? Yer killin’ me here. This is my whole point – some people are looking so hard for offense that they will always find it.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                I think misogyny claims are based in the fact that rape is one of the few (only?) crime where we spend much of our time speaking about the legitimacy of the claims or the propensity for victims to be mistaken or lying.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Which is not to say that the claims are necessarily on the mark… but I do think we should consider WHY it seems as if rape (almost?) exclusively gets this treatment.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Waist-deep in Lake Lou Yaeger, Mr. Glyph.Report

              • Avatar James Vonder Haar in reply to Glyph
                Ignored
                says:

                Wikipedia mentions that “unfounded” is not the same thing as “false.” As far as I can tell, the FBI stat is of rape accusations that lack corroborating evidence, not those that are positively disproved. It’s certainly possible for someone to commit a crime and leave no evidence behind, or for that evidence to remain undiscovered. Given that rape is a crime uniquely dependent on inner mental states and communication of those mental states, I’m frankly surprised the number isn’t higher than it is. Consider a person who is having sex with a regular partner in the privacy of their home, tells his or her partner to stop, and the partner continues. It’s rape, but what evidence would be left behind?Report

            • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Glyph
              Ignored
              says:

              We can certainly concede there are things that get called rape that really are not

              No, no we cannot. Rape is having sex with a person who does not consent (including cases where the person, due to age or impairment, is incapable of consenting). I’ve heard this line from Republicans before, except they typically use “forcible” rather than “legitimate” as the qualifying term. It’s basically a way of saying that date rape or statutory rape isn’t actually rape. Some go far enough to say that if there isn’t actual internal injury (e.g., if someone doesn’t struggle because she’s got a knife to her throat) it’s not rape.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        YupReport

      • Avatar BobbyC in reply to Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        Calling it “problematic” is generous … accurate and generous.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        I assume that he was referring to the possibility of the rape exception being used as a loophole. Statistically, the vast majority of abortions are based on a financial or personal decision, not because the mother was raped. There is anecdotal evidence that young women get around parental notification laws by claiming rape. Regarding the matter of partial-birth abortion, the AMA has said that there is never a need for that procedure in order to save the life of the mother, but that exception is always written into laws restricting partial-birth abortion. So there is something of a pattern of loophole exploitation.

        I also note that the candidate clearly didn’t say what this article alleges.Report

        • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Pinky
          Ignored
          says:

          Yes, and the people having abortions the most are not teenagers. (this may be part of “affordability” or “ease of access” for what its worth).
          Still, I’d venture to say that a good chunk of “personal decision” or even “financial decision” could be because of nonconsensual sex.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph
      Ignored
      says:

      http://www.springerlink.com/content/wp5cnp43k6byxj4d/

      Abstract
      Is a given instance of rape more likely to result in pregnancy than a given instance of consensual sex? This paper undertakes a review and critique of the literature on rape-pregnancy. Next, it presents our own estimation, from U.S. government data, of pregnancy rates for reproductive age victims of penile-vaginal rape. Using data on birth control usage from the Statistical Abstract of the United States, we then form an estimate of rapepregnancy rates adjusted for the substantial number of women in our sample who would likely have been protected by oral contraception or an IUD. Our analysis suggests that per-incident rape-pregnancy rates exceed per-incident consensual pregnancy rates by a sizable margin, even before adjusting for the use of relevant forms of birth control. Possible explanations for this phenomenon are discussed, as are its implications to ongoing debates over the ultimate causes of rape.

      http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1477-7827-8-53.pdf

      This study aims to gather information either supporting or rejecting the hypothesis that acute stress may induce ovulation in women. The formulation of this hypothesis is based on 2 facts: 1) estrogen-primed postmenopausal or ovariectomized women display an adrenal progesterone-induced ovulatory-like luteinizing hormone (LH) surge in response to exogenous adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) administration; and 2) women display multiple follicular waves during an interovulatory interval, and likely during pregnancy and lactation. Thus, acute stress may induce ovulation in women displaying appropriate serum levels of estradiol and one or more follicles large enough to respond to a non-midcycle LH surge.

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1552-6909.1998.tb02587.x/abstract

      Pregnancy resulting from rape is more prevalent than generally recognized, and violations of women’s sexual and reproductive self-determination take many forms. Four themes–relationship rape, power dynamics, maternal ambivalence, and social reactions and support–can be identified in one woman’s experiences and the literature. Recommended interventions, based on a woman-centered empowerment framework, include safety assessment, formulating a safety plan, and facilitating social support. Emergency postcoital contraception is a preventive option.

      http://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378(96)70141-2/abstract

      Abstract
      OBJECTIVE: We attempted to determine the national rape-related pregnancy rate and provide descriptive characteristics of pregnancies that result from rape. STUDY DESIGN: A national probability sample of 4008 adult American women took part in a 3-year longitudinal survey that assessed the prevalence and incidence of rape and related physical and mental health outcomes. RESULTS: 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. Among 34 cases of rape-related pregnancy, the majority occurred among adolescents and resulted from assault by a known, often related perpetrator. Only 11.7% of these victims received immediate medical attention after the assault, and 47.1% received no medical attention related to the rape. A total 32.4% of these victims did not discover they were pregnant until they had already entered the second trimester; 32.2% opted to keep the infant whereas 50% underwent abortion and 5.9% placed the infant for adoption; an additional 11.8% had spontaneous abortion. CONCLUSIONS: Rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency. It is a cause of many unwanted pregnancies and is closely linked with family and domestic violence. As we address the epidemic of unintended pregnancies in the United States, greater attention and effort should be aimed at preventing and identifying unwanted pregnancies that result from sexual victimization. (Am J Obstet Gynecol 1996;175:320-5.)

      Also follow the cites therein, of course.Report

  9. Avatar Jason Kuznicki
    Ignored
    says:

    Whether it’s rare or not is irrelevant.

    Murder is rare too. Why? Lots of reasons. But in part it’s because the intended victims will often fight back. Much as women are being alleged to do here.

    That said, it would be no defense of someone’s seriousness or empathy if he were asked about murder and he replied, “oh, well, that’s very rare, because legitimate victims usually fight back.”

    We would rightly see that response as legitimizing murder. Wouldn’t we?Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jason Kuznicki
      Ignored
      says:

      I would disagree that rarity is irrelevant. We normally build law on the case of the norm, not the exception. Using the exception (the rare event) as the basis for the law makes for bad law. It’s illegal for me to speed, but in rare cases I may escape punishment for this (I am rushing a sick person to hospital, or fleeing a carjacker) but the speed limit is what it is, we don’t repeal it in case people might sometimes need to speed. We also may want to (and do, all the time) carve out exceptions in the law for the rare cases

      Akin is being asked whether the (debatably) rare cases justify the current state of the law, and he is responding that in his view, no.

      You can disagree with this (as I do – these sorts of exceptions are part of the reason I reluctantly oppose criminalizing abortion) but I do not see that it is an unprincipled stand, or one that is inherently dismissive to the women who find themselves in this terrible situation.

      I maintain Akin is not saying what Tod’s post implies he is.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Glyph
        Ignored
        says:

        But he was referring specifically to a rape exception. You are right that rarity matters if the argument being put forward is that all abortions should be legal so that rape victims can pursue one if they are pregnant. But what was being asked is about allowing abortion ONLY in the case of rape; even if there is simply one such case a year, it matters not.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Glyph
        Ignored
        says:

        I would disagree that rarity is irrelevant. We normally build law on the case of the norm, not the exception. Using the exception (the rare event) as the basis for the law makes for bad law.

        I have no idea what you’re arguing here. You’re responding to Jason here. yes?, and he said that murder is rare. If you’re argument makes any sense at all, then it appears you hold that legislating against murder is bad law.

        Or…?Report

        • Avatar Glyph in reply to Stillwater
          Ignored
          says:

          I think Jason’s example is not analogous. In Akin’s view, abortion is murder, presumably. He is being asked if he would allow exceptions to considering an abortion murder, using a commonly-held exception case for many.

          He responds that that case is rare (so would not justify an exemption to a law against murder/abortion), and in any case would create an additional crime victim (increasing criminal acts), so he is opposed to creating an exemption for rape.

          Again, feel free to disagree (I do) but he is not denying the existence of pregnant rape victims; he is simply making a different calculus with regard to the advisability of exemptions to a proposed abortion ban.

          You may not like his calculus, but it is unfair to call the man a rape-denier, based on what I see here.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Glyph
            Ignored
            says:

            He responds that that case is rare (so would not justify an exemption to a law against murder/abortion),

            I agree that this is what he’s saying, but what’s the basis for not carving off an exception for just those cases. If he admits that pregnancy due to rape is possible, and he’s making a moral argument here, then simply saying that “it’s so rare that we need not include it’s possibility in our legal code” appears to conflict with the moral argument he’s making.

            It’s so inconsistent that it invites either mockery and ridicule, or attributing to him an additional and unstated motive (or premise) in arguing as he does.Report

            • Avatar Glyph in reply to Stillwater
              Ignored
              says:

              Stillwater, his justification to not carving an exemption for just those cases is that it creates an additional criminal victim (the fetus) which is consistent with the proposed ban in the first place.

              It’s not inconsistent, and it’s not unprincipled, and it is not misogynistic. You just don’t like it.

              So let’s call him a rape-denier? How does that follow?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Glyph
                Ignored
                says:

                his justification to not carving an exemption for just those cases is that it creates an additional criminal victim (the fetus) which is consistent with the proposed ban in the first place.

                Yes. Of course. He wants to ban abortion. But then why bring in all the “abortion is rare in cases of “legitimate rape” ” stuff? The definition of rare implies that it in fact occurs. But that makes the argument incoherent. Whether it’s rare or not is irrelevant. It’s whether or not it occurs. So the one moral conundrum Akin actually addresses in his argument about abortion – pregnancy due to forced unwanted carnal knowledge – is completely avoided because “rare events don’t matter”.

                How is that argument anything other than incoherent?Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                And the lack of a specified ‘but I was fleeing from carjackers’ exception makes speeding limits incoherent? We seem to be talking past one another and I can’t quite figure out why. We don’t want to write every exception case into law. The rarer the exception case, the less likely we want it written in.

                He is presumably proposing a law banning abortion, and then giving 2 reasons why he feels the proposed exception case does not warrant a legal exception (extreme rarity, and the creation of an additional victim).

                How is this incoherent? Wrong, maybe, but it looks consistent to me.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Glyph
                Ignored
                says:

                We’re not talking past each other, at least from where I’m sitting. Akin thinks that abortion should be prohibited. In response to the question of whether it should be prohibited in the case of rape, his argument that “legitimate” rapes rarely lead to pregnancy. There’s two problems with that: 1) “rare” means that they in fact occurs (an issue which both he and you discount as being irrelevant wrt how we construct law, which begs the moral question involved), and 2) pregnancy due to “legitimate” as opposed to “illigitmate” rapes are distinguished by a single criterion: whether pregnancy results. So women who became pregnant due to rape were not the victims of a “legitimate” rape.

                1) is incoherent without a further premise that rarity of X makes legislating against X bad law. But that brings us back to Jason K’s point: murder is rare, and it’s legislated against. 2) is misogynistic, implicitly and – in my view – explicitly.

                So the argument Akin is making is sucks on a bunch of levels.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                2 questions that may help me understand where we are missing each other:

                1.) Are there ever things called ‘rapes’ that are not legitimately, really rapes? Please consider the statuatory, and revenge/alcohol etc. scenarios I mention elsewhere.

                2.) If some percentage of ‘rapes’ are in fact false accusations, doesn’t this divide rapes into ‘legitimate’ (real) rapes and false ones?

                3.) Can we, and should we, write every exception case into law? Is this practical, or desirable? Should whether we do so or not vary, based on the frequency of the exception case?

                4.) If we write an exception for rape, doesn’t this raise the likelihood of false rape accusations, to take advantage of the exception?

                Again , for the record, I reluctantly oppose criminalization of abortion, probably for many of the same reasons you do.

                But I don’t think this guy is being incoherent, or a monster.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                eh, 2, 4, whatever it takes. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, I’ll concede that he’s not being a monster. But he’s being incoherent since he doesn’t apparently know that the word “rare” means, and he’s definitely trending towards misogyny when he distinguishes legitimate rapes from illegitimate ones by the criterion of how hard the women resisted the (unwanted) sexual act.

                1.) Are there ever things called ‘rapes’ that are not legitimately, really rapes? Please consider the statuatory, and revenge/alcohol etc. scenarios I mention elsewhere.

                Yes.

                2.) If some percentage of ‘rapes’ are in fact false accusations, doesn’t this divide rapes into ‘legitimate’ (real) rapes and false ones?

                No. It divides the accusation of rape in true ones and false ones.

                3.) Can we, and should we, write every exception case into law? Is this practical, or desirable? Should whether we do so or not vary, based on the frequency of the exception case?

                I’m not sure what this question means. The law is a series of exceptions: “murder is wrong except in the case of …” So exceptions are what constitutes the law, it seems to me.

                4.) If we write an exception for rape, doesn’t this raise the likelihood of false rape accusations, to take advantage of the exception?

                You mean, would it raise the likelihood of women claiming they were raped just so they could legally get an abortion? Absolutely.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Regarding question four, isn’t the same thing true of any exception of the law? Murder is illegal except in the case of self-defense. How many folks invoke claims of self-defense falsely?

                And while I will fully concede that some accusations of rape are false, I think we often forget the toll that making and following through with a rape allegation takes on a woman (which is not to say that remaining silent is preferable… just that there are real costs to going through the process). From what I understand, the experience is challenging enough that it is indeed rare to take the form of either outright lies (such as the type that Akin referred to regarding marital rape and divorce proceedings) or buyer’s remorse. It seems that many folks (not you, Glyph) think women just wantonly throw around rape allegations as if it is a convenient and costless excuse. My belief is that most women who make rape allegations that turn out to be false (for the record, failures to convict do not necessarily mean an allegation was false) are suffering from a mental illness.

                Of course, there is also still disagreement about what does constitute rape. If a woman is black out drunk and without the proper facility to give informed consent, is it rape? Many folks argue that it is not and that such accusations are “false” or “illegitimate” rapes.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                OK, so here is where I see us missing each other. I am charitably interpreting the word ‘legitimate’ as an attempt to exclude false accusation cases from the total set. You are not, instead seeing it as an attempt to de-legitimize some number of the (smaller set of) true accusation cases. This is obviously the biggie.

                W/R/T exceptions – of course the law contains exceptions. But rare scenarios are rarely excepted. We can disagree on what constitutes ‘rare’, but if I say that false rape accusations are relatively ‘rare’ (8%), and I would be surprised if you disagree, it seems strange to say that 5% of rapes resulting in pregnancy is not (even more) relatively ‘rare’.

                Last but not least, if (as the questioner does) we accept the proposed abortion ban itself, and also believe that a rape exception creates (as Akin believes) an additional ‘victim’ in the fetus, and also (as you and I believe) additional ‘victims’ in the form of some wrongfully-accused pseudo-rapists – then exactly why is it so wrong to argue against allowing the exception? I don’t see how this is inconsistent with the premise.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Glyph-

                Given that Akin has elsewhere accused women of using anti-marital-rape laws to “beat up on a husband” during divorce proceedings, is it fair to be less than charitable in understanding his use of the word “legitimate” here? It seems he’s got a bit of a bug up his butt about women watonly throwing around rape allegations.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Do women ever falsely accuse of rape, marital or otherwise, particularly during nasty divorce proceedings? It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that both divorcing parties lie about all kinds of things to hurt the other and enhance their own standing. And a rape accusation is the nuclear option, legally and socially. You think no divorcing party ever swears to destroy the other?

                Look, I don’t want to dismantle marital rape (or any) rape laws. I would like to see more aggressive prosecution of false rape accusers, but I am aware of and understand the reasoning against taking a more aggressive stance in most cases (that is, to avoid discouraging women from coming forward). I do think the way things currently stand often put a male who is falsely accused at considerable disadvantage, but that is maybe unfixable and a topic for another post in any case.

                But I do not see how this is relevant to the question I am trying to discuss.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                But Glyph… as I just pointed out elsewhere, rape seems to be the only crime where so much focus is paid to false claims. While I do think there is absolutely a space for legitimate conversation about false claims, especially with regards to the damage such claims can have on real claims and real victims, it so often seems that such conversations are grounded in attacks on women and/or are often proffered by folks who seem to think that real claims are the exception, not false claims.

                Again, I sincerely believe that you are not one of the people described, but I do think there is reason to think Akin just might be.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Do women ever falsely accuse of rape, marital or otherwise, particularly during nasty divorce proceedings?

                Do men ever falsely deny rape accusations, marital or otherwise?

                I don’t see how this is relevant, unless there’s some nasty unstated premise involved.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m generally with Stillwater on this subthread. But here are my own answers to these questions, with a couple of other observations.

                2 questions that may help me understand where we are missing each other:

                Well, four, but who’s counting?

                1.) Are there ever things called ‘rapes’ that are not legitimately, really rapes? Please consider the statuatory, and revenge/alcohol etc. scenarios I mention elsewhere.

                Yes. But is it a useful bit of evidence, in statutory rape cases, to observe that the woman got pregnant? That is, if we find that she got pregnant, can we infer with any degree of confidence that the man did not “legitimately” rape her?

                2.) If some percentage of ‘rapes’ are in fact false accusations, doesn’t this divide rapes into ‘legitimate’ (real) rapes and false ones?

                No. As Stillwater said, the allegation is true or false. I don’t know what Akin even meant by “legitimate.”

                3.) Can we, and should we, write every exception case into law? Is this practical, or desirable? Should whether we do so or not vary, based on the frequency of the exception case?

                If it were true that women who get raped are less likely to get pregnant, we could certainly use pregnancy as a piece of evidence that might create reasonable doubt. Our legal system does no such thing, however, and I think it’s very clearly right not to.

                4.) If we write an exception for rape, doesn’t this raise the likelihood of false rape accusations, to take advantage of the exception?

                Yes. But if we hold that pregnancy is indicative of non-rape, then it will create a tendency toward the dismissal of true rape charges.

                There is one way to avoid all this, of course. Allow abortion to be legal whether or not the woman was raped. That won’t solve the problem for people who believe the fetus is a person whose rights trump the woman’s rights, but it is a happy outcome for those of us (like me) who believe 1) the fetus isn’t a person for much of its time in the womb and 2) even when it is, its rights do not trump those of the woman.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Jason – Yes, I caught the 2 versus 4 thing right after I posted, see my next comment, bonus points if you got the reference. 🙂

                “is it a useful bit of evidence, in statutory rape cases, to observe that the woman got pregnant? That is, if we find that she got pregnant, can we infer with any degree of confidence that the man did not “legitimately” rape her?”

                No, of course not. That is not the point Akin, or I was making. This question only arises because you think he was saying pregnancy = not raped, which I don’t think he was.

                “I don’t know what Akin even meant by “legitimate.” –

                Nor apparently do any of us, and there’s the rub. Many see it as an attempt to discredit rape victims. I see it as an attempt to qualify and exclude false charges of rape from the answer following. Glad we spent days debating what Obama meant by ‘that’, only to turn to debating what this dude meant by ‘legitimate’. In each case, the answer seems to be, ‘whatever makes the speaker look jerkiest.’

                “If it were true that women who get raped are less likely to get pregnant, we could certainly use pregnancy as a piece of evidence that might create reasonable doubt. Our legal system does no such thing, however, and I think it’s very clearly right not to.”

                Again, that is not the argument Akin or I am making. As you note, if it turned out to be scientifically factual, accused rapists would try to use use it in rape defenses; but I don’t think Akin was making a point about rape and accused rapists’ defenses, he was making a point about (his belief in) the rarity of the exception case and how that bears on his thinking regarding a proposed exception under his presumably proposed ban.

                “There is one way to avoid all this, of course. Allow abortion to be legal”

                Yes, obviously, I agree. But at the point we are hung up on, the argument had moved past that point. That point was not the one under debate, the debate was, how about this exemption? To which the speaker answered, I think that is rare, but anyway my beliefs (another wrong won’t make a right) compel me to oppose it. Scandalous!

                If Ghandi came back tomorrow and said, ‘Rape victims should use non-violent responses, because I believe that complete acquiescence will cause some rapists to lose interest, and also because it is morally wrong to perform violence, even in self-defense’, some people wouldn’t just be satisfied with calling him wrong (like I would) they would have to call him medieval, misogynist and incoherent as well (which he might or might not be, but I wouldn’t say he was based on the above argument).Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                you think he was saying pregnancy = not raped, which I don’t think he was.

                No, that’s not what I think. But I do think that a fair reading of the original statement indicates that he finds pregnancy a ground for reasonable doubt about whether a rape occurred.

                Remember, to find someone not guilty, we don’t need certainty. We just need reasonable doubt. If a woman gets pregnant, and if rapes usually don’t result in pregnancy, that’s pretty clearly reasonable doubt. And I find that atrocious.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I’ll add one thing more and then I gotta really for real drop this this time, I have a crazy amount of work I should be doing instead of tilting at windmills. If, after reading my comments up and down this thing, people still don’t get the point I am trying to make (that the OP title and post’s characterization of Akin’s comments in the video is IMO unfair in the extreme), then I have obviously failed as an internet commenter, and possibly as a human being.

                To head it off at the pass: no, I am not comparing Akin to Ghandi. Please don’t go there.

                I am simply noting that if Ghandi said ‘Rape victims should use non-violent responses, because I believe that complete acquiescence will cause some rapists to lose interest, thereby making rape rarer, and also because it is morally wrong to perform violence, even in self-defense’ and I posted a Headline an OP that said ‘GHANDI TO WOMEN: DON’T STRUGGLE AND YOU WON’T GET RAPED, AND IF YOU DO GET RAPED, WELL THEN YOU WANTED IT’, it would be a very uncharitable interpretation of Ghandi’s actual statement, thereby imputing to him not only incorrectness, but idiocy and evilness to boot.

                Nowhere in these threads have we tried to tackle the veracity of Akin’s ‘medical’ claim. Even if we had, nowhere have we tried to agree upon whether the resulting number (the population we are talking about, remember) is ‘rare’, ‘common’, or ‘in-between’. Even if we had gotten there, we have not decided if a utilitarian calculus should admit such numbers/frequency when deciding how to craft the proposed prohibition and any proposed exception.

                Despite all this, we can comfortably say that Akin is saying something he did not; and moreover that thing he did not say (but possibly implied, accidentally or no!) is not only wrong, but says the worst of him and his kind?

                Nobody else sees this as leaping to conclusions?Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Glyph
            Ignored
            says:

            I’m not the +1 type, Glyph, but you should be acknowledged that the OP headline is way off the fact. You shouldn’t have to keep asking Can I Get a Witness. You have ’em.

            Different question, then—dude’s saying that pregnancy via rape is rare, and I bet most of us thought it’s far more common that the 3-4000 per year figure. Mostly irrelevant, but it’s also argued that late-term abortion is rare, which it is. [1-2000 per year, quick google.]

            Some sense of proportion: rare, common or epidemic*?

            Still, although we should legislate toward the norms, to the rule not the exception, as a matter of principle, the rarity isn’t relevant.

            [There is another entire moral argument here, that a woman who conceives as a result of consensual sex incurs a moral obligation to the fetus that a woman who did not consent to the sex does not. But this is beyond the scope of this.]

            As Glyph writes, Rep. Akin argues against exceptions for rape. Two wrongs don’t make a right is his moral calculus, and it’s unassailable.
            ___________

            * The “coathanger” argument. Part of what won the pro-abortion argument in the 1970s was that so many women were dying of illegal abortions. The figures of tens of thousands per year was a complete and conscious lie by abortion rights advocates. The true number was in the low hundreds.

            http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/much-atone_552550.html

            The true number of “coathanger” abortions that caused a death? One?Report

            • Avatar Glyph in reply to Tom Van Dyke
              Ignored
              says:

              I specifically thought about bringing the coathanger thing up and decided against it. Of course numbers matter. They matter in deciding policy, and crafting law, and winning hearts and minds.

              So trying to get to agreement on what ‘rare’ means in this context, and then trying to find out what the numbers really are, before deciding what to do?

              I have zero problem with this.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Glyph
                Ignored
                says:

                Would there be harm in drafting a law that said riding unicorns was illegal?Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Not sure I get your point Kazzy? I believe it would be harmful because 1.) it is a waste of time & money, both in the drafting and the likely future legal wrangling 2.) it encourages disrespect for the rule of law in general, because if we pass a law that is obviously ridiculous on its face, what other laws are also like that (see: WOD)? and 3.) it would put a crimp in the…experiments I am currently conducting in my basement.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Glyph
                Ignored
                says:

                My point is that, for any particular law, we should weigh the harms versus the benefits.

                Some laws of inherent harms baked right in… laws that restrict freedoms and the like.

                Now, for some folks, exceptions for rape have a major baked in harm… the death of an innocent. Which is a valid position for them to take and argue. But for some folks, the primary harm is limited to what you’ve outlined in #1 there. If that is the limit of the harm (which, again, is not the case for everyone) and the benefit is that a rape victim is able to mitigate the harm done to her by her attacker, I think that makes for a compelling case for the law, regardless of how rare the exception might actually be.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                But Akin explicitly called out the ‘additional fetal victim’, and Still and I agree that false accusations would likely increase, so there’s some more victims. So that seems to satisfy your objection.

                W/R/T law/exception, go back to my speeding example…how many exceptions do we want to write? Pregnant wife in the car, for sure. Carjackers chasing you, fine. Etc. Etc. At some point a lot of resources (time, money, investigation) go into proving or disproving each exception case. The more exceptions we add, the more drag on the system. Therefore, adding a ‘being chased by Kazzy riding a unicorn’ exception is counterproductive, because that happens approximately 0% of the time – but if it is in the law, someone is gonna try to use that bugger eventually.

                Now, I realize that ‘being chased by Kazzy riding a unicorn’ happens 0% of the time (unless my experiments pan out! Stay tuned!) versus 5% of the time. But somewhere in that continuum (and I don’t know where, exactly) a scenario can be conceivably rare enough to not warrant legal consideration.

                Again, and for the record – I have no problem per se with a rape exception under an abortion ban, assuming there would be any way to administer said exception reliably and efficiently (time matters, we only have 9 months here and a rape case probably takes much longer than that to investigate/litigate).

                I cannot imagine being forced to carry to term the product of a rape. It would be horrific and I would not want to put anyone through it.

                But I do not think Akin’s position is unreasonable, given his premises.

                Listen, I gotta jump. Lots of work to do tomorrow and I have to watch Breaking Bad. Thanks for the thoughtful replies and catch y’all next time.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Well argued. I agree with your logic here and will concede that, generally speaking, frequency does matter and the harmlessness of legal exemptions is a mirage (though that is largely a function of structural and/or human failures). Where on the continuum that line should live, I will concede to having no idea.

                Good chat. Catch up tomorrow if it’s still percolating.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                and Still and I agree that false accusations would likely increase,

                I didn’t say that false accusations of rape would increase. I said that if all abortion was prohibited except for those justified by rape, there’d be an increase of false claims of rape to justify legally getting an abortion.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Er, OK, that’s what I thought I said you said.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s not a distinction without a difference. If abortion is prohibited except when pregnancy results from rape, my claim is that women will be more likely to falsely claim they were raped to legally access abortion services. You’re claim is that permitting a rape exception to an otherwise general prohibition of abortion will increase the likelihood of women falsely accusing a particular male of raping them in order to legally access abortion services. So maybe your view here accepts an unstated premise: that a conviction in court of an actual, “legitimate” rape is necessary in order to legally receive abortion services.

                If so, then the woman would have to meet a potentially impossible burden of proof to sustain the charge since the presumption employed in this line of argument is that “legitimate rape” is defined as a rape which doesn’t result in pregnancy, and making the abortion contingent on a court case makes the possibility of an abortion moot, given the potential length of the trial.

                Given that, I can understand why you think the exception ought not be included, since the chances of winning the court case are remote to point of impossibility. Fair enough.

                But it should be pointed out – again – that this argument goes thru only on the supposition that a legitimate rape is one that doesn’t lead to pregnancy, which is, – in my mind – an empirically inaccurate as well as conceptually confused redefinition of rape.Report

          • Avatar BobbyC in reply to Glyph
            Ignored
            says:

            A very generous interpretation of what Akin said is “look when women get raped I believe, as a pro-life guy, they have to carry the baby to term, but fortunately I believe based on hearsay that raped women have natural bodily defenses to reduce the risk of pregnancy.”

            Wouldn’t it be nice if Akin were right and natural human biology limited pregnancies in that way? It’s not implausible given how incredible the human body is, but as Kazzy said above the whole thing is “problematic” especially in light of how frequently rape victims are blamed, either explicitly or implicitly.Report

            • Avatar Glyph in reply to BobbyC
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              says:

              Thanks BobbyC, I think you get where I am coming from.

              I am not saying that Akin is right, only that he is not obviously wrong/incoherent (with regard to the whole biological speculation, there are all kinds of weird things that both males and females do automatically/unconsciously that either increase or decrease the chance of pregnancy – and hey, some of these weird things are even quite fun!). It just seems like some people are jumping to the worst possible interpretation of what was said. And surprise, the people jumping farthest are the ones most likely predisposed to dislike the guy, his party, and his initial premise to begin with.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Glyph
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                says:

                It just seems like some people are jumping to the worst possible interpretation of what was said. And surprise, the people jumping farthest are the ones most likely predisposed to dislike the guy, his party, and his initial premise to begin with.

                Well, in my own case, I can’t agree that my arguments against Akin’s claims are based on party affiliation. It’s that his argument, as stated, is absurd. If answered the “abortion in the case of rape” question by merely saying that even in that scenario abortion is impermissible since it’s the deliberate murder of a human being, then this post wouldn’t have been written and the comments wouldn’t exist.

                But instead of saying that, he concocted a redefinition of rape such “legitimate” rapes don’t present a moral problem for abortion prohibition since they don’t result in pregnancies, and all other sexual activity which results in pregnancy cannot be, by definition, a legitimate rape. By simply redefining the terms, he’s excluded the otherwise apparent moral dilemma that exists wrt abortion in rape cases.

                The reason it’s incoherent is that he concedes – implicitly, at least – that pregnancy due to rape presents a moral problem wrt the right of a woman to have an abortion. But he then discounts the moral problem as irrelevant by saying that it’s so rare it doesn’t warrant an exception to the general prohibition. What he’s offering in that claim is a pragmatic argument to avoid the moral challenge he implicitly accepts as legitimate.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                I don’t see us making much more progress, Still:

                ‘he concocted a redefinition of rape’ – I don’t agree. That he was wrong on the facts of rape-related frequency seems very likely given the links provided today. That he appears to have spoken both ignorantly and inartfully also seems likely, especially given his apology. That he should not be on the Science Committee without having a better grasp of this stuff before he speaks seems incontestable.

                But I just do not see a redefinition of ‘rape’ in his original remarks. Not without drawing inferences that I do not think can be drawn from the comments in the video. Sorry, I just don’t. Shorter version, I just don’t think he meant what you think he meant when he used the word ‘legitimate’. I do not see how we can resolve this. I give him the benefit of the doubt and assume ‘Ignorant, but not necessarily Evil’, you don’t. I don’t see any further resolution.

                That he then basically concedes that even if he is wrong about the frequency of occurrence and moves on to the moral argument which still holds for him in any case – why all the hyperventilating because he dropped one line of argument and picked up another, the one that for him and his base presumably matters most? Again, this just seems like mountains out of molehills stuff. Some pol said something stupid that could be interpreted really really badly if you look at it the right way, and apologized when called on it. Stop the presses.

                This whole discussion would have presumably been much simpler if a.) he’d originally said exactly what we wished he had, in precise and unambiguous terms and b.) I had been able last night to find the links showing that he was likely wrong on the facts (to kick that claim to the side immediately, as factually incorrect). For b.), I apologize, I need to work on my google-fu.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Glyph
                Ignored
                says:

                Laughter’s a good weapon. I suggest we use it wisely. Go ahead and laugh at Doofus.

                What? Blaise was Just asking for more lulz.

                The other side uses fear.

                I know which side I’d rather be on.Report

              • Avatar Sam in reply to Glyph
                Ignored
                says:

                Glyph,

                In our defense, we’re only jumping to the worst possible interpretation because that’s precisely what Akin meant.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Sam
                Ignored
                says:

                When someone is communicating badly, the rest of us have to try to figure it out, and I try to give people the benefit of the doubt when so doing. I didn’t realize that in addition to ‘chili master’, ‘psychic’ was also on your resume.

                Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? SAM DOES 😉Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Glyph
                Ignored
                says:

                Eddie Knows…Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Glyph
                Ignored
                says:

                Glyph,

                That’s not me doing any figuring. That’s not me being a psychic. That’s not me guessing at what is in the hearts of men. That’s me reading what the man said. You can’t interpret “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down” any differently unless you simply aren’t interesting in dealing with the reality of what he’s alleging, which is that a pregnancy indicates that the sex was consensual.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Sam Wilkinson
                Ignored
                says:

                He alleged (incorrectly) that consensual sex is more likely than rape to result in pregnancy. He did not allege that rape never results in pregnancy.

                That this allegation is incorrect does not make it misogynistic, it simply makes it incorrect. For it to be misogynistic, intent must be demonstrated, and I don’t get that from the video.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Sam Wilkinson
                Ignored
                says:

                Glyph-

                I’m a bit throw by your refusal to look at evidence BEYOND the 38-seconds of video. Yesterday, I pointed you to prior statements by Akin, which also toed the lines that surround assuming rape allegations to be false. That same info was available in the linked piece. We also have Akin’s voting record on issues relating to abortion. Why not take any of that into account when attempting to decipher his meaning? Surely, if there was evidence that he was otherwise an upstanding feminist, it’d be fair to trot that out to mitigate his statement. But with evidence opposite that, evidence that seems to confirm he tends to think that women tend to just make up rape accusations, why can’t we consider that and thus be less-than-generous in our interpretations?Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Sam Wilkinson
                Ignored
                says:

                Kazzy, was trying to limit, as I thought the OP mostly did, the focus to the interview that caused the brouhaha and the use of the word ‘legitimate’.

                I thought this narrowing of focus would make it simpler, less emotional, less vitriolic.

                Shows what I know 🙂Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Sam Wilkinson
                Ignored
                says:

                I can’t speak for others and say whether they were limiting themselves or what. But based on the quote alone (which I originally read elsewhere), I thought that this guy was simply an idiot for his fundamental misunderstanding of how the human body works. When I read it a bit more closely, I became more troubled about his record on issues relating to women and women’s reproductive health. I know that you are railing against some of the hyperbole here, which I agree with to a degree and I don’t THINK I indulged in. My first (or one of my first) posts here was actually in reference to a link Tod offered regarding the guy who said women should prepare for rape the same way folks prepare for flat tires with spares. That, to me, was a far uglier statement.

                So, just for the record, here is my stance:

                Akin’s statement was obviously stupid and likely ground in an implicitly misogynistic worldview wherein women are not to be trusted when they make accusations of rape. I consider most conversations that discuss things such as legitimate vs illegitimate rape or using rape allegations to “beat up” on men to be misogynistic because A) we seem to only have such conversations in regards to female rape victims, though I have seen no evidence that deliberately false rape accusations are any more frequent an occurrence than deliberately false accusations of other crimes and B) so often they move from, “Ya know, some women deliberately make false accusations of rape,” into “Ya know, most rape victims are simply suffering from buyer’s remorse,” and then onto “Ya know, most rape victims are asking for it.” This leads me to believe that most folks who want to start a conversation about what is a “legitimate rape” really want to have a conversation about women suffering buyer’s remorse and/or “asking for it”. Is Akin assuredly one of these people? I can’t say with any certainty, but I am inclined to believe he is and I think it is fair for us to wonder this (though not necessarily conclude).Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Glyph
        Ignored
        says:

        I maintain Akin is not saying what Tod’s post implies he is.

        Akin says: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the womans’ body shuts that whole thing down.”

        How is Tod mischaracterizing what Akin is saying?Report

        • Avatar Glyph in reply to Stillwater
          Ignored
          says:

          Try listening again. “The female body has ways to *try* to shut that whole thing down” (emphasis mine). He then goes on to concede that these ways may not be 100% effective (as is implied by ‘try’).Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Glyph
            Ignored
            says:

            Hence Jason’s saying that whether it’s rare or not is irrelevant.Report

            • Avatar Glyph in reply to Stillwater
              Ignored
              says:

              OK, so you agree that my characterization of what Akin is saying is closer to what he actually, you know, said than yours was?

              Akin says (and I agree) that rarity of exception is relevant to deciding how to craft a law. If 100% of raped women get pregnant, that is a different case and may require different remedies than if .001% do.

              Just like if 100% of speeders are fleeing carjackers, that may call for different lawmaking than if .001% of speeders are fleeing carjackers.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Glyph
                Ignored
                says:

                OK, so you agree that my characterization of what Akin is saying is closer to what he actually, you know, said than yours was?

                Now I’m confused. Akin is arguing against legalizing abortion in the case of rape. What characterization are we disagreeing about? Apparently we both agree about that. We’re disagree about the argument he, and you, are invoking to get to that conlcusion.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Because Akin himself concedes that 1.) He may be wrong (it is his understanding, from doctors) and 2.) even if so, this system may fail. He qualifies his own argument, potentially reducing its force, and then gives another.

                Your ‘quote’ at 8:29 (in quotes, after ‘Akin says’:), by omitting ‘try’, and the following statement that implies the try may not succeed, and the followup statement that he made to justify still not carving an exception, leaves his own attempts to moderate and qualify what he is saying out of the picture. It makes him seem certain on the point, rather than nuanced, and thereby paints him in the worst, most idiotic light possible.

                So therefore, he is obviously a rape-denier?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Glyph
                Ignored
                says:

                Glyph, my point is that the “try” is irrelevant to both the substance of his argument as well as the conclusion he’s arguing for. On the one hand, “trying and failing” is precisely the issue he was asked about, which he denied should be allowed an exemption under law. On the other, it’s just bullshit to suggest that if a woman get’s pregnant due to rape, the event causing that pregnancy wasn’t a “legitimate” rape.

                I mean, srsly: Wtf?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                And look: I get that you think that abortion is murder. But if you’re gonna argue for that view, and advocate prohibiting abortion in any event, then just make that argument: abortion is murder. Cuz that’s what Akin is arguing here. And all the other stuff is misogynistic incoherent nonsense.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                IMO – He didn’t ‘suggest’ that. You are inferring that. As I have attempted to explain, there is another, more charitable way to interpret Akin’s remarks. You don’t wanna? Fine. Nothing more to say, is there?

                Do I think that abortion is murder? Sometimes. Not always. It depends.

                Do I think I am a misogynist? I hope not. I oppose criminalizing it.

                Do I understand why someone else would say abortion is ‘ always’ murder, and should be criminalized? Yes, I do.

                Do I think they are misogynists? Some are, certainly. Some aren’t.

                I get that you don’t like the guy, or his party, or pro-life people or their arguments, but are you trying to miss the nuances here?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Glyph, all the nuances you’re talking about are imported into the argument. Here’s the argument: abortion in the case of rape should not be a carved out exception to an otherwise general prohibition because pregnancy to due legitimate rape is rare.

                There are no nuances in that argument. It’s very straight forward. That’s not to say there aren’t other arguments for not allowing a abortion due to rape exception. I mean, of course there are. you’ve been making them all thru this thread. But those are different arguments than the one Akin made.Report

              • Avatar BobbyC in reply to Glyph
                Ignored
                says:

                I hear you, but isn’t the point that he is wrong about “shutting the whole thing down” and should stick to the “the fetus is a person” line? As a politician he shouldn’t be treading into territory where you have to listen carefully and take him literally not to hear “raped women cannot get pregnant” which implicates “women who claimed to get pregnant via rape were not really raped” … I know he didn’t say that, and I argee with what you wrote, but I think you are missing the forest for the trees here.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to BobbyC
                Ignored
                says:

                Political tactics and good oratory and tin ears is another kettle of fish.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Glyph
                Ignored
                says:

                from doctors? what sort of cockamamie doctor would not tell him that women’s bodies MURDER babies all the fucking time? And that rape increases the odds of MURDER more than normal, due to stress?Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Glyph
        Ignored
        says:

        The are N pregnancies resulting from “legitimate” rapes every year, and M resulting from non-rapes where the accusation of rape is made. For Akin’s claim that the rape exemption needs to go away to make sense, M has to be significant compared to N. The absolute numbers don’t matter, just the relative ones. Akin makes two arguments in this direction:

        1. N is smaller than you’d think for medical reasons.
        2. M is larger than you’d think because women will lie to get the abortion.

        1 is, at best, unproven. 2 even more so. So, Akin wants to make policy based on two unreliable assertions.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Glyph
        Ignored
        says:

        How many pregnancies actually threaten the life of the woman? I’d guess they’re pretty rare. Does that mean they’re not worth making an exception for?Report

        • Avatar Glyph in reply to Mike Schilling
          Ignored
          says:

          To me, they are worth making an exception for, even if extremely rare, as self-defense is everyone’s primary right. If it comes down to him or you, that’s just how it goes.

          But then, I also am ok with the rape exception, even if rape pregnancies are rare, as I have stated. Nor do I want abortion criminalized in the first place.

          But I can see someone else coming to different conclusions. And I can see how the numbers play into it when weighing the different ‘victims’ columns, particularly in a utilitarian calculus. And I don’t think they are necessarily medieval or misogynist to think so.

          Glyph: Hey you guys, you realize that the incidence of false rape accusation is only 8%? That’s fairly rare.

          Everyone else: Exactly, the vast majority of claims are true.

          Glyph: Hey you guys, you realize that the incidence of rape pregnancies is only 5%? That’s fairly rare.

          Everyone else: Misogynist!Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Glyph
            Ignored
            says:

            Glyph-

            As I’ve said elsewhere, the misogyny claims are based in the unique scrutiny we subject rape victims to regarding the legitimacy of their accusations. How often do we talk about “legitimate” victims of theft or child abuse or battery? How often do we say said victims were “asking for it”? Rape victims are overwhelmingly female (the number I saw is 95%, though it wouldn’t shock me if it was less than that since I’d venture to guess that underreporting is greater amongst male victims than female victims); the general discourse around rape victims focuses near-universally on women. And we see this disparity in the handling of it. You don’t think that, for some at least, that is based in misogyny? And that looking at Akin’s history on the topic, it is a fair accusation to levy?Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy
              Ignored
              says:

              And fwiw, it is possible that the percentage of rape victims who become pregnant is greater than 5%. The 5% is based off the prevalence of pregnancy amongst “unprotected, one-time sexual encounters”. So this does not include instances of serial rape, such as might be committed within a marriage or with youth victims. Some estimates peg “stranger rape” at about 26% of total rapes.

              It also could be less than 5%; if any form of protection is used, that has an impact. Plus there are cases of statutory rape that most would consider consensual if they involve a couple involved in a committed relationship who happen to be just across the line from each other. It should be noted that in most of these cases, the person bringing charges or making the accusation is NOT the female.

              So, the reality is, we really don’t know what the number is. Perhaps all these things come out in the wash and 5% is a reasonable figure. Maybe it is a great deal more or less. I think the fact remains is that, at least as far as Akin is concerned, there should be no exception for rape, regardless of frequency; to do so is to double-down on creating victims. With this in mind, why even go down that road?Report

          • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Glyph
            Ignored
            says:

            You need to make the parallels parallel.

            Glyph: Hey you guys, you realize that the incidence of false rape accusation is only 8%? That’s fairly rare.

            Everyone else: Exactly, the vast majority of claims are true. So, when someone makes an accusation, let’s not even bother with a trial.

            Glyph: Hey you guys, you realize that the incidence of rape pregnancies is only 5%? That’s fairly rare.

            Everyone else: Sure, so when a pregnant woman claims she was raped, we’ll just call BS.Report

            • Avatar Glyph in reply to MikeSchilling
              Ignored
              says:

              Mike, come on. It wasn’t about what we should do (if anything) with those numbers, or how people could misuse those numbers. We never even got that far. As noted by others today, there are reasons to believe that both numbers may be inaccurate, perhaps wildly so.

              It was about what the numbers actually *are*, and what number constitutes ‘rare’, for the purposes of toting up various ‘victims’ in a utilitarian calculus under the proposed exemption.

              I was simply pointing out that many seemed to accept 8% of one type of victim as a ‘rarity’, and 5% of another type of victim as an ‘epidemic’, and anyone who even considers or asks for the numbers is obviously a bad person.

              Was this really not clear? Am I really that opaque?Report

              • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Glyph
                Ignored
                says:

                The question isn’t about what’s rare, it’s about the conclusions we draw from their alleged rarity.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to MikeSchilling
                Ignored
                says:

                If their rarity is only alleged, we need not draw any conclusions. Even if confirmed, we still need not (other considerations may override). But if you do want to draw any (or simply understand where/why somebody else like Akin may be drawing their conclusions), you need the numbers to start with, no?Report

              • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Glyph
                Ignored
                says:

                Akin didn’t have any numbers. He had some crap psuedo-science, which actual numbers falsify immediately, and drew completely false conclusions from it. And you’re unhappy that people jumped on him for it.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to MikeSchilling
                Ignored
                says:

                No, I am not unhappy that people jumped on him for the incorrect allegation (=’rapes less likely to impregnate’) . That is what *should* have happened.

                That issue is, the fact that it was pseudoscience is apparent only after you know the numbers. Hence, my request for the numbers, and a definition of what we consider ‘rare’ . As he was hinging part of his argument on that part, I wanted to examine that part.

                Now that we have the real numbers, we know he was incorrect. Plenty of us were happy to jump to that conclusion without knowing the numbers. I wasn’t.Report

              • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to MikeSchilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Cancer can be cured by eating two bags of double-stuffed Oreos a day, being careful to eat the filling before the cookie part. Now, I expect you to research this thoroughly before disagreeing.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to MikeSchilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Can I do this research by eating two bags of Oreos a day? Because if so, I’m totally on this.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to MikeSchilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Tod,

                Yes, but you have to get cancer first. I recommend you go straight to the cookies and skip the actual “research” part.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to MikeSchilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Come on Mike, you know that’s not fair. Plenty of things that sound like they can’t possibly be true, are, when it comes to Mother Nature. Zombees. Parasites that control behavior. Sperm competition. Ducks and their corkscrew penises.

                Is the idea that stress, which has deleterious effects on most all body systems, might negatively impact fertilization/implantation really so ridiculous on its face? Or that the human immune system responds negatively to anything it sees as ‘foreign’? These seem as likely as ‘aether’ to you?

                I guess nobody needed to do the studies that got linked here today then, since you already knew how they’d turn out. So rape may increase, not decrease, the incidence of pregnancy. Am I surprised? No. Would I have been surprised if it went the other way, or had no effect at all? No. I simply didn’t know, and asked to know.

                Seriously, be honest, turn the jokes off for a minute. You knew the facts of it, before you knew the facts of it? (and, if you knew the facts of it, howzabout throwing a brother a link before he alienates the entire League?)

                Or, you didn’t like the conclusions, so you assumed you knew the facts?Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to MikeSchilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Wait, zombies are real?

                Cite!

                My 11 year old claimed just last week that zombies not only could happen, but that the zombie apocalypse WOULD happen someday. I scoffed, but perhaps I was wrong?Report

              • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to MikeSchilling
                Ignored
                says:

                I can’t speak for anyone else. I read it, and it sounded like complete bullshit, and the place I read it had links saying it was complete bullshit. To be sure, I did a little Googling, and yup: complete bullshit. Yes, it’s particularly easy to Google right now, but it wasn’t impossible three days ago, particularly if you have a staff of people who can look things up for you, the way a congressman does. I honestly don’t care whether some people find it to have a certain surface plausibility or not. Because it’s, you know, complete bullshit.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to MikeSchilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Zombees! “Flight of the living dead”!

                It’d be awesome, except for that whole colony collapse disorder business.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to MikeSchilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, you had a head start on me (yesterday was the first I heard of this whole thing) and my brief googling last night, which I posted the parameters & results of here, didn’t lead me immediately to it. So I asked for help in determining whether the assertion was correct or not, and did not see the links here confirming that no, it was not, until this AM; by which time I had already ticked most everyone here off, apparently in large part simply by making the request.

                I say this not to excuse Akin’s ignorance; as noted elsewhere, he should’ve known better. Nor am I trying to excuse my own – but I had never before heard the assertion nor considered in toto the argument he seemed to be making, and I wanted to give it and him as fair a shake as possible (that benefit of the doubt thing, which seemed to be severely lacking); but lack of time for focused research & attention is what it is.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to MikeSchilling
                Ignored
                says:

                That was to Mike, obvs.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to MikeSchilling
                Ignored
                says:

                You don’t owe anybody an apology or a tapdance for anything, G-man. We could use a couple of more like you.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to MikeSchilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Tom, it’s not a tapdance or an apology (well, I apologize for not getting to the nub of whether rape is more/less/identically-likely to result in pregnancy via my own googling last night).

                I just don’t like seeing it when everyone appears to be jumping to the absolute worst conclusions about anybody. Humans all say stuff that isn’t fully thought through, all the time. It is possible to be wrong (that is, incorrect); or evil; or wrong and evil; and it behooves us to attempt to determine which case it is. Attempting to divine what someone really means, and generally giving them the benefit of the doubt is the way to go, IMO.

                But that also means that all the people here, I give them the benefit of the doubt too, and assume good faith and reason on their part. At least some of people coming at me from all sides here presumably had their reasons beyond pile-on, and it behooves me to attempt to understand where they are coming from too, as I hope they did me (and some did).

                Mike’s never given me reason to believe he’s less than fair, so I wanted to get past the snark for a minute and explain where I was coming from, since it seems so many didn’t understand it, despite my best efforts to be precise and transparent.

                Anyway, I may have to sit the next few serious topics out, melee-style commenting like that takes a surprising mental/emotional toll (though getting absolutely no sleep at all last night due to kids probably did not help).

                I am definitely gonna try to avoid wading into any abortion-related threads anytime soon.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to MikeSchilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Not a problem, Glyph. Knowing from the first that it was c.b. certainly colored my reaction to it.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to MikeSchilling
                Ignored
                says:

                James, when I read this:

                http://www.gatech.edu/newsroom/release.html?nid=138621

                I assumed it was the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. I mean, it’s even in Atlanta! I haven’t changed my mind.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to MikeSchilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Peace, Brother Glyph. That the thing you most want right now is to get away from the meat grinder is a sign of mental health. I enjoyed your coming out of the shadows and actually speaking your mind. But there is always hell to pay.

                Seeya next time around, if there is one.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to MikeSchilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Glyph, how old are your kids? I remember well the no sleep years.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to MikeSchilling
                Ignored
                says:

                The boy is 3 and the girl will be 1 in a few days. She still wakes up every 4 hours (she likes to eat) and he is old enough that he can get out of his own bed now, so he does, a lot; he is a high-energy kid and getting him down is only the first part of the battle, sometimes lasting until 11 or so, and last night he then woke up with bad dreams twice.

                I got maybe 2 hours total, if that, between dealing with the two of them.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Glyph
                Ignored
                says:

                It was about what the numbers actually *are*, and what number constitutes ‘rare’, for the purposes of toting up various ‘victims’ in a utilitarian calculus under the proposed exemption.

                Glyph, this is sorta tangential to the main theme of the discussion, but what makes you think Akin is making a utilitarian argument in the above clip? It strikes me as deontological. Robustly so.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I sort of assumed it from his ‘you don’t punish another innocent’ conclusion. I may be off-base there.

                That is, I understood him to be saying that he sees rape + abortion of the resulting fetus as = 2 victims of harm (the raped female, and the fetus), not one victim (the raped female). Therefore, more total people get hurt if we allow the exception.

                Then I went off on the tangent about the possibility of false accusations being used to obtain the exemption, noting that to me, those falsely accused of rape can also be considered victims (though on reflection, these doesn’t really change utilitarian numbers at all, since the falsely-accused male simply replaces the non-raped female, so 2 people still get hurt, just in different ways and by different parties).Report

  10. Avatar Will Truman
    Ignored
    says:

    My RSS reader uses the formatting Comment on [Post title] by [author] without anything in the way of quotation marks, brackets, or parenthesis.

    So all day my RSS reader has been saying “Comment on Leading Missouri senate candidate to women: if you get pregnant you weren’t really raped by [Author]”

    This one will read Comment on Leading Missouri senate candidate to women: if you get pregnant you weren’t really raped by Will Truman

    I find this more amusing than I should.Report

    • Avatar BobbyC in reply to Will Truman
      Ignored
      says:

      That’s Onion-quality stuff!Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Will Truman
      Ignored
      says:

      Hmmm… a couple of possible responses…

      “You did have sex with Will Truman, but you indeed wanted it.”
      “Will Truman couldn’t have raped you… brother man’s got bad swimmers.”

      And with that, I’ll be catching the next bus directly to hell.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m not going to make the joke I was thinking of, so I’ll tell a slightly different joke.

        Rocky Marciano is having a few cold ones in a local bar, when a wannabe tough guy comes up and starts harassing him:

        “Mr. heavyweight champion, huh? Mr. big-time boxer? You’re nothing. Marciano. I could take you, any time, any place. You want a piece of me, ‘champ’? Huh? You got the guts to take me on?” And he raises his fists threateningly.

        “Look,” Rocky responds. “You know I could squash you like a grape. And I will, if you hit me. And I find out about it.”Report

    • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Will Truman
      Ignored
      says:

      Given that at least one front-pager has had a vasectomy and has been very open about that fact, he might want to use that claim in his own defense, if ever it came up.Report

  11. Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto
    Ignored
    says:

    …anything remotely related to reproductive health or minority rights seems to rev our commentariat into overdrive of showing why our readership isn’t as diverse as it could be.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Nob Akimoto
      Ignored
      says:

      + 1 billion

      Can I do one billion +s? Am I allowed? Are we budgeted for that?

      + 1 billion, then.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Nob Akimoto
      Ignored
      says:

      You mean a bunch of white dudes isn’t the preferred demographic for getting the most comprehensive discussion on issues relating to women and minority groups?

      I call bullshit.Report

      • Avatar BobbyC in reply to Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        Are there in fact zero women in this forum?Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to BobbyC
          Ignored
          says:

          In this particular conversation, I don’t know how many posts I’ve seen from the folks I know to be women (I don’t know the gender of everyone here). There are a handful of regular female commenters and one female blogger.

          My comment was said with a bit of hyperbole, but as a group, we are largely white and male.Report

          • Avatar Anne in reply to Kazzy
            Ignored
            says:

            Bobby C There are women here

            Nob +1 you are correct

            Cause you know, women really shouldn’t complain, if they are “legitimately” rape (hey no problem) you won’t get pregnant. What you think that comment is misogynistic? There is no misogyny there you must be a man hating b*** sorry for the sarcasm

            What offends me the most in some of the comments is the “you are just trying to find the misogyny because you hate republicans” No looking at how rape victims have been historically treated and are still being treated today.

            Not to mention the patronizing idea that women can’t make moral or ethical decisions about their own bodies. some women don’t but I believe those are the rare cases. According to some of the arguments I have read here we shouldn’t legislate based on the rare case.

            I will get off my soap box now sorry for the rant but hits pretty close to home. But hey I’m one of the lucky ones apparently I’m legitimateReport

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        This feels like a pattern of the following:
        1. White male (often straight but not always) politician or opinion maker says something absolutely indefensible about women, minorities, voting rights, etc.
        2. League member makes front page post condemning said actions.
        3. Most of commentariat agrees with front pager.
        4. Handful of commentariat and others begin nitpicking front page post and telling us how the person from part 1. is the REAL victim of all these attacks.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Wasil ibn Ata
      Ignored
      says:

      Thanks for the link, Wasil.

      Reading Ryan’s position gave me a thought I hadn’t previously considered with regards to abortion exceptions for pregnancies that post a risk to the woman…

      …suppose a woman became suicidal over an unwanted pregnancy. Should this constitute sufficient risk to the woman that would justify taking advantage of such an exception (assuming a world where such exceptions were the only means to secure a legal abortion)? I really have no idea… but it is an interesting question to ponder…Report

      • Avatar Wasil ibn Ata in reply to Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        Speaking for myself, as a pro-life conservative type, I think no. While life of the mother is a standard exception among pro-lifers(me too!), that exception usually requires the pregnancy itself to be the cause of the mother’s death. In the case of suicide, there is an intervening cause, that is, the mother killing herself, the pregnancy was justification for the act, but not the cause itself.Report

  12. Avatar CK MacLeod
    Ignored
    says:

    semi-OT/Btw – not sure why anyone would expect a blog with “Gentlemen” right up there in the masthead, and what looks to be 24 out of 24 men on the masthead to attract even an average for subject matters ratio of women to men. Don’t know how the gentlemen break down ethnically, but the name as well as the graphics likewise evoke nostalgia for a cultural moment, an imperial moment, during which white men ruled. Hosts mostly polite, thoughtful, across-the-spectrum conversations though. Seems to be a bit of a study in “gently” stabilizing conformity on some axes in order to increase tolerance for diversity on others. Not that I’d have anything against new approaches.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to CK MacLeod
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      says:

      Is Rose not on the masthead?!?!Report

    • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to CK MacLeod
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      says:

      Don’t know how the gentlemen break down ethnically, but the name as well as the graphics likewise evoke nostalgia for a cultural moment, an imperial moment, during which white men ruled.

      We tried putting Erik in a sari. It wasn’t flattering.

      If I were to take your comment any more seriously than that, I’d start getting angry. So I won’t.Report

      • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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        says:

        Putting Erik in an unflattering sari might be a step forward, or anyway a step, in the deconstruction of the word “gentlemen,” whose older and original sense of “well-born man,” politically and economically powerful man of the right or same race or clan, is carried forward in the contemporary usage, sort of the etymological iron fist under the velvet “gentle,” a reading reinforced by the graphics. And, yes, I do understand that the site name was also an ironic response to to the title of an Alan Moore comic series and unsuccessful 2003 film.

        You make take these comments as an impolite attack on the site by a guest, but the initial questions were posed by others on this thread, and can be found on other threads especially when it is believed that the presence of a larger number of women and possibly of other not-exactly-gentlemen would have been beneficial to discussion. My point was that expecting anything else than what is actually produced and re-produced on the site would be highly unrealistic. If such examination makes some people angry, that might be a good sign.Report

        • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to CK MacLeod
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          says:

          FWIW, the possible limiting repercussions of the site name is something that has not escaped us. The lack of any change has less to do with lack of desire, and more to do with lack of consensus about what such a change might and should look like. So know that there’s a lot of truth to that observation, and it’s something we’re actually working to address.

          That being said…

          I’m pretty sure I know where you lost Jason. But since I can’t speak for him I’ll let you know that where you lost me personally: It was your suggesting that – despite the content of what I write about and argue at this site – the little graphic of a man in a bowler is all you needed to unlock my deep dark secret, which is that I am – how did you put it? – yearning for a world where white men ruled.

          Dude, seriously?Report

          • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Tod Kelly
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            says:

            What I actually said is a scroll or two right up there, so no need to paraphrase. I wrote, “the graphics likewise evoke nostalgia for a cultural moment, an imperial moment, during which white men ruled.” I stand by the analysis, actually a very simple observation based on readily apparent, constantly “refreshed” evidence.

            You admit that you, or some of you, feel concern about the site’s name, which concern is about what the name does: produce “limiting repercussions.” The graphics and format can point to movement beyond the connotations and limiting repercussions of the name, or they can reinforce those connotations and point in the opposite direction. I think it’s obvious that they reinforce them and were chosen to do so – in a perfectly normal, but not inevitable, approach to design and illustration.

            Evolution to a different sensibility, to the site doing something different, might begin with an ironic and polyvocal rather than amplificatory and univocal design concept. Instead of abandoning the name, you would insistently subvert it. However you approached the question, if you want to include and invite more women and non-white-men – IF – then do so, for instance by actually including more women and non-white-men, and by countering and undermining the exclusive connotations of the site name and its staff and history.

            It would be normal if resistance to change is more firmly based in unexamined ideological and emotional commitments. Still, I don’t see how you can think or emote your way around the very basic notion that if you don’t want a site that implicitly or subtly privileges white males of a certain type, then you should prevent your site from implicitly or subtly privileging white males of a certain type – in every way you can, but starting with how the site really, objectively, presents itself to its audience.Report

            • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to CK MacLeod
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              says:

              I wrote, “the graphics likewise evoke nostalgia for a cultural moment, an imperial moment, during which white men ruled.” I stand by the analysis, actually a very simple observation based on readily apparent, constantly “refreshed” evidence.

              An observation that would apply to pretty much every nostalgic aesthetic. My wife’s fondness for 1940s fashions could evoke nostalgia for an era of white, male domination, my fondness for blues records could evoke an era of white, male domination, and on and on. At what point can we take someone’s fondness for a particular aesthetic at face value? Or should we all have to do as George W.S. Trow said and wear our fedoras with “a protective layer of irony?”Report

              • Avatar Ryan Noonan in reply to Rufus F.
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                says:

                I’d say it’s at least plausibly important to include markers that point in different directions. Your wife being a woman and (presumably) a large number of those blue records being by non-white men is a helpful indicator that what’s going on isn’t motivated by any kind of imperialism.

                That’s not to wholly defend CK’s position, in that I don’t honestly know where the line can be drawn. Rejection of sexism and racism at the roots is very difficult, in that (as you and CK both point out) they infuse almost every cultural moment we can think of.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Ryan Noonan
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                You realize what will happen, though, the moment we re-brand the site:

                “They’re all a bunch of sexists over there. They just didn’t want anyone to know about it.”Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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                says:

                Maybe we can just put that in the “About” section.Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Ryan Noonan
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                says:

                Yeah, I’m asking because I don’t know either where the line can be drawn. For instance, I know some people that are really gung ho about rockabilly music. I love those old records too, but I know people who dress like Bettie Page or rockabilly “cats,” drive old cars, and really identify with those 50s aesthetics. Incidentally, I would agree with them that the 1950s were a high point in terms of design. Now, do those people have to subvert the aesthetic because the 1950s were not a high point for racial or gender equality? Do the rockabilly women get a pass? And what if they really are nostalgic for some of the gender norms of that era? Because, in my experience, many of them are. My point is that it’s not easy to slice it and I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt if they seem reasonably intelligent.Report

              • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Rufus F.
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                says:

                Do you live in Japan and hanging around Harajuku on Sundays?

                More seriously, I know what you mean, there does seem to be a subculture that goes along with a rockabilly look to varying degrees. I even think there is a chain of stores called “Bettie Page” that sells 1950s styled dresses.

                I’ve wondered about this and had it explained to me that the dresses from the 1950s are good for women with hips and curves.

                That being said you bring up an interesting issue about how much of embracing the aesthetics of an era or culture is also am implicit embracing of the worst parts of an era.

                My mom hates Mad Men and thinks it glamorizes all of the racism and sexism of the 1960s especially in the pre-hippie parts. My friends who were born way after the 1960s seem to embrace the show and aesthetic. I’ve never been to one but have seen lots of photos of Mad Men parties on the web at sites like OKCupid. Women seem to think it is a selling point to show pictures of their Mad Men parties.

                I personally find it interesting that a lot of hipsters are now embracing tattoo subculture because hipsters tend to be progressive but many of the mid-century tattoo artists that they lionize like Sailor Jerry were far-right reactionaries.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Rufus F.
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                says:

                a parasol crossed with an umbrella might make an interesting graphic.
                Or a buggy whip crossed with a riding crop.

                Both convey ordinary gentlemen…Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Kimmi
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                says:

                I’d be okay with making the graphic an image of David Bowie for the androgyny.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Rufus F.
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                says:

                If we did that wouldn’t we have to change the name from THe League of Ordinary Gentlemen to The Guild of Calamitous Intent?Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Tod Kelly
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                says:

                Alternates:

                Evil League Of Evil
                The Blue Blaze Irregulars
                The Bookhouse Boys (this one is probably out for the same reason Gentlemen is)
                The World Crime LeagueReport

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Tod Kelly
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                says:

                Glyph: “The League of Ordinary. No, Just Ordinary.”Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Tod Kelly
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                says:

                The League of Ordinary Gentle(wo)menReport

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Tod Kelly
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                says:

                TVD,
                Apparently your wife and all the other conservative women are here already.
                However, like good conservative women, they’re busy being not seen AND not heard.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tod Kelly
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                Ah, but we have you, Kimmi, my rare and beautiful flower, filling a much-needed void.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Rufus F.
                Ignored
                says:

                … the implication of the entirely of this commentariat being part of Bowie’s harems… is distressing. also amusing. in equal parts.Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Kimmi
                Ignored
                says:

                Tod- I was thinking of either the Cygnet Committee or League of the Diamond Dogs, but that’s much better.

                Kimmi- Some of us are patiently awaiting the day we get the call…Report

              • Avatar Anne in reply to Kimmi
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                says:

                Bowie’s harem has opening???!!! sign me upReport

              • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Kimmi
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                says:

                @Anne: Not Sam Bowie.Report

              • Avatar Anne in reply to Kimmi
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                says:

                Duh I’m talking Ziggy, the Thin White DukeReport

              • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Kimmi
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                says:

                Well, I knew you were a big hoops fan …Report

              • Avatar Anne in reply to Kimmi
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                says:

                Plus dude, he played for U of KReport

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Kimmi
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                says:

                A much more knowledgeable hoops fan than me 🙂Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Rufus F.
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                says:

                There has been extensive discussion of the meaning or meanings of the aesthetics of nostalgia, and for that matter of the similar and often overlapping retreat to irony. Nietzsche already defined the implicit statement of the ironic pose as “I am a latecomer in the world”: Nothing for me to do; I’m neither responsible for what is, nor able to effect change, so instead I will construct a reserve where criticism of culture and membership in good standing, rather than contradicting each other, confirm each other. It is an ideology appropriate to a culture in decline, learning to identify its decline as its just desert. On the way to nadir – which we fearfully sense will not be merely an experience of the sensibility, but entail real material costs – of course the ’50s aesthetic is attractive to us. It’s an aesthetic of world-historical victory and its material and emotional spoils, including self-confidence in the values taken to have been proved by that victory,and in their future, congealed in the typical styling of consumer objects, houses, hair styles, etc. To declare them completely unattractive would be to declare oneself immune to everything this world has to offer, like saying you’d rather be picking through the rubble of Hiroshima or Hamburg or hauling coffee beans through the mountains somewhere or working on an assembly line or tank crew on the other side of the Iron Curtain. ’40s styles offer a different kind of “value security,” and similar patterns of nostalgia or borrowed nostalgia for the earlier British or European order is particularly prominent in “steampunk” and other “retro-future” styles. Eventually ANY earlier aesthetic will strike us “at face value” as superior to our own, since all will by definition imply a future that we, the latest latecomers, lack.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CK MacLeod
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                says:

                You know who else quoted Nietzsche…Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Oddly, I was just thinking, “I know other people who’ve misused Nietzsche’s words” (which, it should be noted, were not even Nietzsche’s words, in this case). In fact, I’m not entirely certain CK hasn’t used Nietzsche to basically say the precise opposite of what Nietzsche said.Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Chris
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                Nietzsche said all sortsa stuff. Dont’ have time to track down all relevant passages, but here’s one the Use and Abuse of History that my old professor may have had in mind when he used to shout “I am a latecomer in the world!”

                What the Florentines did under the influence of Savonarola’s exhortations, when they made the famous holocaust of pictures, manuscripts, masks and mirrors, Christianity would like to do with every culture that allured to further effort and bore that memento vivere on its standard. And if it cannot take the direct way—the way of main force—it gains its end all the same by allying itself with historical culture, though generally without its connivance; and speaking through its mouth, turns away every fresh birth with a shrug of its shoulders, and makes us feel all the more that we are late-comers and Epigoni, that we are, in a word, born with gray hair. The deep and serious contemplation of the unworthiness of all past action, of the world ripe for judgment, has [Pg 68] been whittled down to the sceptical consciousness that it is anyhow a good thing to know all that has happened, as it is too late to do anything better. The historical sense makes its servants passive and retrospective. Only in moments of forgetfulness, when that sense is dormant, does the man who is sick of the historical fever ever act; though he only analyses his deed again after it is over (which prevents it from having any further consequences), and finally puts it on the dissecting table for the purposes of history.

                http://www.gutenberg.org/files/38226/38226-h/38226-h.htmReport

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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                says:

                CK, he talks about late comers (he doesn’t say he is a late comer) throughout that essay: late comers to the age of historical consciousness (that is, the Hegelian age), late comers to history itself (that is, in true Christian fashion, but in Hegelian trappings, that we are at the end of the world), late comers as “epigones,” that is, as mere followers of the historical greats (particularly, since we’re talking about Germany, Goethe and the like), and late comers in the sense that, overfilled with history (that is, historical knowledge), be become cynical about the future. This is the ironical stance Nietzsche talks about in the essay: the overfilled, the present-denigrating and future-denying stance. It has nothing to do with the alternatives that the past presents but did not fulfill, and the nostalgic return to the past is only because it inevitably leads to us (this is something he repeats throughout the essay as well, as part of the problem with being overfilled with history, as his age was).

                Nietzsche’s point is that the only people who can judge people are those who live, which is to say, those who create the future, because this is what history is for: life, living, cre