Rep. Todd Akin seems to be ever so slightly misinformed. As stated in this interview with the Jaco Report, he seems to believe that rape cannot result in pregnancy. Rather, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
But, y’know, I think he’s really going somewhere with this “legitimate” distinction. Bodies apparently know the intent behind various kinds of physical trauma, and react differently depending on that context. Did someone try to slit your throat? Well, if it were a LEGITIMATE throat-slitting, your body has ways of clotting the blood and shutting that whole thing down! If you find yourself bleeding out after your throat’s been cut, well, there’s just something wrong with you then. You must have wanted them to do it.
You may have just been sliced ear to ear by a stranger, a jealous lover, or a drunk friend; who did it and how is vital to determining whether they actually slashed you, or if you just FEEL like they slashed you. Some kinds of throat-slitting are just more real than others. For instance, it’s a legitimate throat-slashing if a knife-wielding stranger jumps out of a bush as you walk home. But were you asleep, or drunk, or even slightly intoxicated, and when you came to, you were bleeding profusely from the neck? Or maybe you only found the scars a while later? Well, you might have been “slashed,” but you probably weren’t SLASH-slashed.
It’s also important to know how much you fought back. Were you so scared of the knife-wielding aggressor making threats against your body that you froze and couldn’t run away? Did you think trying to fight would only make them cut you even worse? Did you forget to say “NO” in a loud clear voice, so that they would know you didn’t agree to have your throat cut? Well, maybe he was just following his natural instincts.
Needless to say, it’s a completely illegitimate throat-cutting if you went out wearing a low-cut top: a thick wool turtleneck would’ve protected your neck much better! You think you can just show off your soft, fleshy neck in public, or even in private with a friend you thought you knew, without inviting exactly this kind of thing? You should have known better, and the fact that you’re bleeding out right now is proof that you actually wanted this to happen. Your body would have defended against it otherwise. It’s science. I understand it from doctors.
So, don’t try to make everyone else pay for your bad deisions! Cover your necks, say NO, and just remember: if you didn’t want this to happen to you, your body would have kept it from happening. That’s more than reason enough to limit the kinds of medical choices you should have available.
…Oh wait – you mean he misspoke? He was able to make a complex statement and try to justify it as being information he got from doctors, but it was all just a slip of the tongue? Somehow, that sounds like a very difficult flub to make.
So here’s the compromise: either he didn’t know it was wrong when he said it, which displays a staggering and abhorrent level of scientific illiteracy as well as failings in fundamental human empathy… or he knew it was wrong and said it anyway, which is a little thing we like to call a “lie.”
It wasn’t misspoken. He didn’t leave out a “not,” or confuse a subject and an object, or make any error in his manner of speaking. The error was in the content of what he said, and in what he thought. He could have said he learned something today. He could have embraced the chance to move forward with a better understanding. But no, it’s easier to simply brush it off as a simple little flub, that he misspoke, that everyone should have understood what he meant.
The only thing that isn’t legitimate here is his apology.
Oh – and the interviewer’s journalistic integrity.
“Mmhmm. Okay, let’s go on to the economy.” Let’s not, Jaco. Let’s take the opportunity to teach something, instead.