[Content note for rape.]
This appears to be a tough one.
The whole thing about how rape does result in pregnancy.
(I’m guessing that has something to do with a lack of comprehensive sex education. That’s why it’s important, y’all.)
But lawmakers, officially, for the record, in case it comes up in the future and you absolutely can’t resist your better judgment not to talk about it: Rape does result in pregnancy.
With “significant frequency,” according to the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
I know you’re probably blinking hard, Idaho State Rep. Pete Nielsen, since you recently said that, to your understanding, “in many cases of rape, it does not involve any pregnancy because of the trauma of the incident.” And that it might also “be true with incest a little bit.” (Out of curiosity, what constitutes “a little bit” in that situation? I probably don’t want to know.)
I know it’s “information that [you]’ve had through the years,” and you’re not sure “whether it’s totally accurate or not.” Let me help you become sure: It’s not totally accurate, nor is it accurate at all.
Because, in fact, rape does result in pregnancy.
Former Rep. Todd Akin, did your ears just perk up? Welcome back! You may also need a refresher course, since it was back in 2012 that you said that “victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant,” because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” (“Because it’s an act of violence,” you said. “Because the body is traumatized.”) Just in case you’ve forgotten, or in case you covered your ears and didn’t listen the first time: No, the female body doesn’t have any such ways. It can’t shut that kind of thing down.
In the end, rape does result in pregnancy.
Former Georgia Rep. Phil Gingrey, you had Akin’s back when he said that. You used your experience as an OB/GYN to point out that when a couple is having trouble conceiving, it could be from being “tense and uptight because all that adrenaline can cause you not to ovulate.” Tense and uptight like a rape victim. I get it. That said, notwithstanding your prescription of a glass of wine as a fertility drug, the mechanism is slightly different for rape victims.
To the end that rape does result in pregnancy.
(I don’t think we even need to kick it all the way back to former North Carolina Rep. Henry “the juices don’t flow” Aldridge or former Pennsylvania State Rep. Stephen “secretes a certain secretion” Freind. If they haven’t yet learned that juices and secreted secretions have nothing to do with it, they’re never going to learn.
That rape does result in pregnancy.)
So here’s what Am J Obstet Gynecol (as we in the know like to call it) — they’re doctors and stuff — has to say about it, after doing, like, a ton of research, and just as a lead-in, they say that rape does result in pregnancy:
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.
Big words, I know, but what they mean is that rape does result in pregnancy.
In fact, a study published in the journal Human Nature indicates that, likely due to factors like contraceptive use, it might actually be more common that rape does result in pregnancy:
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.
Ohmygodscarynumbers, for sure, but they mean that rape does result in pregnancy.
Now, you can legislate however you want. My feeling has always been that it’s best to do it with compassion, understanding, and accurate information (and a willingness to defer to someone with actual knowledge of a subject before you talk out of your butthole), but you’re going to do it your way regardless. If you want to oppose abortion because you think Jesus says to, or because you think a fetus is more important than a grown woman, or that a fetus is more important than a terrified child, or that a fetus is more important than an entire family, or that pregnancy is God’s punishment for being a slut, or that you’re just overall a compassionless, subhuman meatsack in a necktie, I’m probably not going to be able to fact-and-logic you out of it. (That’s because facts and logic had nothing to do with you getting into it in the first place.) But at the very least, when the subject comes up of exceptions for rape and incest, and you’re about to make a decision based on the idea that rape doesn’t result in pregnancy — that an actual, human person, with life and value and humanity, can’t become actually and life-alteringly pregnant because someone has physically violated her — you can put that one to the side. Because rape does result in pregnancy.
(Also, rape does result in pregnancy.)
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