Thursday, August 23, 2012

Republican Kitty Out of the Bag, Todd Akin Part 2

U.S. Representative for Missouri's 2nd congressional district, Todd Akin on "Legitimate Rape"

President Obama on Legitimate Rape

Robot Chicken on Legitimate Rape

   Some would have us believe there are two different kinds of people in the United States (or the world); Democrats and Republicans, pro life and pro choice, religious and non-religious, men and women, on and on. I suppose to a degree it's true, or appears to be true.
   But so what? I don't care what you believe. You may think aliens from the planet Tralfamadore where the flying saucers come from, visit us every second Tuesday of every third month to teach us to become unstuck in time. I don't care. It certainly doesn't hurt me in anyway if you believe that, unless of course you insist I become unstuck in time with you and I happen to like a linear progression toward the future. It becomes a problem when you try to force your ideas onto me.
   For the most part our country has always been a two party nation, and politicians discovered a long time ago that by manipulating vast portions of the population by using the concerns and beliefs that are important to that population, they could be controlled, or at least pointed in a particular direction.
   This is nothing peculiar to the United States. It happens all of the time everywhere else too.
   In modern times the Republican Party has associated itself as being the party of family/Christian values, fiscal responsibility, strong foreign policy, limited government, and a strict pro life stance (ironically, and tragically, the Republican policies of allowing business interests to prosper at the expense of the rest of the country has increased social pressures on the population to explore alternative ways of making a living, such as involvement in illegal activities like out right crime such as robbery, burglary, investment banking, drug manufacturing and distribution (the AMC program "Breaking Bad" comes to mind), and involvement in the pornographic industry and prostitution that otherwise would not appeal to our young women, all of these activities certainly not in accordance with the Christian/family values the Republicans say they adhere to and which are so important to them, but which prosper under their current policies).
   The Democrats are associated with social values, looking out for the middle class, the common good, innovation, and people over business, etc.
   Yet political stances have real repercussions in the real world. Suicides and homicides tend to increase during times when Republicans are in power, and decrease when the Democrats have control.
   Lately, especially since Barack Obama, a black man, won the presidency, the Republican right has shifted so markedly to the right that they appear to have abandoned the real world altogether in order to embrace a fantasy world better suited to the 12th century rather than this time of nuclear weapons, the Internet, and climate change.
   In other words they've gone quite insane, literally and certifiably so.
   And they tend to reinforce their own fantasies and insanity, making them easy targets for politicians who are controlled by huge powerful monied interests, for manipulation, the goal being to control the government, all adding fuel to each other's insanity.
   This is a pretty big problem for us who are not insane and who don't want those who are to have power over us.
   Last Sunday Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, alerted me to the fact that her opponent in her upcoming reelection bid, U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, said what he said in the first clip above.
   I read a transcript of what Akin said, and thought, wow, this guy's an idiot.
   But I'm used to Republicans making idiotic statements all of the time. Michelle Bachmann exists!
   So I really didn't think a whole lot about it other that I thought that Claire had  a much better chance at being reelected than she had the day before. Her opponent had apparently self-destructed along the lines George Allen's "macaca," moment, Sue Lowden wanting to trade chickens for health care, and Anthony Weiner showing off his tallywacker on twitter.
   But then comes Monday morning and it seems the Republican world exploded due to Akin's remarks, women, the target of his remarks understandably outraged, and women have a lot of power if they so chose to wield it. Women had been the target of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Republican controlled state legislatures, in what is known as the Republican War on Women (despite House Speaker John Boehner's recorded tantrum, where he vehemently denied the existence of a War on Women, while at same time blaming the Democrats for it), so I guess a breaking point had finally been breached, followed by universal condemnation.
   My own lovely and demure cousin, Janet Joyce, who lives in St. Louis,  was prompted by Akin to make this statement on Facebook: "I can only hope he has opened his mouth and inserted his big stupid foot for the last time. 'Legitimate Rape' and a woman's body knows when she is being raped and 'shuts down' to prevent pregnancy. Really? What century is he living in?"
   Her friend Kathy was even more outraged:    "AAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!" she eloquently mused.  
   Prominent Republican and Democratic leaders began to call for Akin to cease his bid for the Senate. The President made the comment in the second clip above. All hell broke lose.
   I was delighted.
   Not because of what Akin said, which of course was truly despicable and filled to the brim with ignorance, but with the chance this incident now provided for the Democrats to retain the Senate, which is vital in the November election.
   And the revelation of what Akin had inadvertently provided, a look into the depths of the far right Republican world view that was the real reason why the Republicans were so mad. Akin had opened a window into their shadowy, secretive world which no one other than Republicans were supposed to know about.
   Let's examine shall we?
   If you can stomach it that is. Feel free to retch anytime you need.
   What got Akin in trouble:
   "It seems to me first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, uh, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something... You know I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment outta be on the rapist, and, and not attacking the child." 
   68 words, if you count "uh" and "outta."
   The first thing that got him into trouble was an inference that pregnancies resulting from the act of rape are rare: "from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare." He backs up this inference with this statement which really, really got him into trouble: "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
   This revelation inspired feelings of surprise in our good friend, Current TV and radio host, Stephanie Miller, who lamented that she had been unaware of her magic vagina with the superpowers described by Rep. Akin.
   Well, are pregnancies resulting from the act of rape rare? Only if you consider approximately 32,101 pregnancies a year in this country that are a direct result of rape among victims of reproductive age (aged 12 to 45), or 5 percent of all rapes, according to the National Institute of Health, as being rare. Personally I consider 32,101 a significant number.
   I suppose if you consider there are approximately 6 million pregnancies a year in the United States (resulting in 4,058,000 live births, according to This adds up to 1,995,840 pregnancy losses, caused by miscarriage, termination (1,200,000 of those), ectopic, molar, and stillbirth pregnancies ), 32,101 could be considered rare.
   However, one of the doctors that Akins cites, and who is now being credited as one of, if not the originator of the idea that the stress of being raped automatically ceases the process of  fertilization within the female body, a Dr. John C. Willke, M.D. 87 years old, writing for Christian Life Resources, estimates after a long and tortured calculation, "we have a final figure of 225 (or 370) women pregnant each year."
   This seems to be at odds with the NIH's conclusion, which is this: "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."
   32,101 versus about 300. So who do we wish to believe, one doctor who is advancing an untested theory of his own,
   (which happens to be this by the way:  ...factor in what is certainly one of the most important reasons why a rape victim rarely gets pregnant, and that's physical trauma. Every woman is aware that stress and emotional factors can alter her menstrual cycle. To get and stay pregnant a woman's body must produce a very sophisticated mix of hormones. Hormone production is controlled by a part of the brain that is easily influenced by emotions. There's no greater emotional trauma that can be experienced by a woman than an assault rape. This can radically upset her possibility of ovulation, fertilization, implantation and even nurturing of a pregnancy)
   ...or the National Institute of Health, which is the primary agency of the United States government responsible for biomedical and health-related research.  
   Huuummm. Let me think about this for a while...

   Still thinking.

   After careful consideration I think I'll go with the NIH.
   As a matter of fact Dr Willke's assessment and conclusion is a great example of what is known as "pseudoscience," which is defined by Wikipedia as " a claim, belief, or practice which is presented as scientific, but does not adhere to a valid scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status."
   Some call this "junk science."
   Examples of pseudoscience are astrology (that's right dear readers, astrology is not real), ufology, psychic reading, or all forms of fortune telling, intelligent design, climate change denial (supporters of climate change denial try to turn the tables by declaring valid scientific research in the meteorological or climate sciences as "junk science"), crop circles, extrasensory perception, on and on, even lie detection is considered by most scientists as a pseudoscience (take that F. Lee  Bailey!).
   So if we use the NIH's estimate over Wilke's we've disproven Akin's inference that pregnancies resulting from rape are rare. As far as Wilke's other assertion that the stress of rape results in few pregnancies, this has been reviewed by other authorities on the subject with these results:
   "There are no words for this — it is just nuts," said Dr. Michael Greene, a professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School. "Yeah, there are all sorts of hormones, including ones that cause your heart to beat fast when you’re frightened." But he added, "I'm not aware of any data that says that reduces a woman’s risk of getting pregnant."
   "That is absolutely false," said Dr. George Attia, director of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
   The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), which counts 56,000 members, also called the remarks "medically inaccurate, offensive and dangerous."
   Dr. David Grimes, a clinical professor in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina, said, that “to suggest that there’s some biological reason why women couldn’t get pregnant during a rape is absurd.”
   Absurd. That's pretty strong language for an obstetrician.   
   "This man Wilke is obviously an ideologue in search of a rationalization which allows for fewer abortions being performed in total, regardless of whether the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest. If pregnancies cannot be caused by being raped then there is no reason to make any exceptions toward a complete ban on abortions," states Dr. Alfred E. Neuman, Chairman of the Department of Gynecology, Endocrinology,  Obstetrics, and Tomfoolery at Mad Magazine.
   I've just been watching Cenk Uygur on Current TV's "The Young Turks," discussing Dr Wilke. Cenk is telling us of a couple of other theorys of the doctor's; one being that half of rapists tend to be infertile, and the second... that fifty percent of rapists have a preference for rectal intercourse rather than vaginal.
   Where did Dr. Wilke happen to gather these particular gems of wisdom which he calls facts?
   You guessed it... he pulled them straight out of his own, well, where half of rapists have a preference.

To be continued

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