“Legitimate rape” is back. Just a couple months after former Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) famous use of the phrase helped contribute to a double-digit loss in the 2012 Missouri Senate race, a Republican congressman and medical doctor said at a breakfast Thursday that Akin was “partly right” when he said it.
Rep. Phil Gingrey, an ob-gyn and chairman of the GOP Doctors Caucus, explained to the audience at the Cobb Chamber of Commerce breakfast Thursday in Smyrna, Ga., that Akin wasn’t far off on the science when he said rape victims rarely get pregnant because their bodies have “ways of shutting that whole thing down.”
“I’ve delivered lots of babies, and I know about these things. It is true,” Gingrey said, according to the Marietta Daily Journal. “We tell infertile couples all the time that are having trouble conceiving because of the woman not ovulating, ‘Just relax. Drink a glass of wine. And don’t be so tense and uptight because all that adrenaline can cause you not to ovulate.’ So he was partially right wasn’t he?”
“But the fact that a woman may have already ovulated 12 hours before she is raped, you’re not going to prevent a pregnancy there by a woman’s body shutting anything down because the horse has already left the barn, so to speak,” Gingrey continued. “And yet the media took that and tore it apart.”
Audio, shared with TPM by the Marietta Daily Journal:
Gingrey also defended Akin’s theory that women who claim to be rape victims are often lying about it.
“‘Look, in a legitimate rape situation’ — and what he meant by legitimate rape was just look, someone can say I was raped: a scared-to-death 15-year-old that becomes impregnated by her boyfriend and then has to tell her parents, that’s pretty tough and might on some occasion say, ‘Hey, I was raped.’ That’s what he meant when he said legitimate rape versus non-legitimate rape,” Gingrey said. “I don’t find anything so horrible about that.”
Gingrey also addressed the campaign season comments by GOP senate nominee Richard Mourdock in Indiana, who said that pregancy from rape “is something that God intended.”
“Mourdock basically said ‘Look, if there is conception in the aftermath of a rape, that’s still a child, and it’s a child of God, essentially,” Gingrey is quoted as saying Thursday.
Gingrey noted that the comments by Akin and Mourdock were “part of the reason the Dems still control the Senate” after the 2012 elections. He defended Mourdock as well.
Asked to expand on the comments by TPM Friday, Gingrey’s office pointed to a statement sent to to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In it, Gingrey claims the quotes are being unfairly used by his political enemies.
“At a breakfast yesterday morning, I was asked why Democrats made abortion a central theme of the presidential campaign. I do not defend, nor do I stand by, the remarks made by Rep. Akin and Mr. Mourdock,” Gingrey said, referring to the Indiana Senate candidate who lost after saying pregnancies from rape are “something that God intended.”
“In my attempt to provide context as to what I presumed they meant, my position was misconstrued,” Gingrey said.