Political demagoguery Replacing Science

Missouri Republican senatorial candidate Todd Akin was “thrown under the bus” by most Republican Party leaders terrified of Democrats for making the following statement:

From what I understand from doctors, that’s (conception as a result of rape)really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, 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, I think there should be some  punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.

Jane Orient, M. D. , executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeon, in an exclusive statement published by WND.com tends to support the maligned candidate.

Dr. Orient concluded that: “Akin’s phrasing became a convenient pretext for raising a disproportionate clamor as a diversion from the real problem. Those politicians and commentators who are calling for Akin’s head have signaled where their priorities lie.”

She added: “Politicians who claim to be pro-life are often adamant about preserving an exception for rape or incest. This exception is a fig leaf over the reality of what an abortion is.”

Dr. Orient quotes textbook studies that estimate the incidents of pregnancy in force\able rapes is ‘very low’ and no more than 2 to 5 percent.

She said, “All decent people, including U. S. Senate candidate Todd Akin, agree that forcible rape is a heinous crime” and “All reasonable people, including Todd Akin, agree that pregnancy can result from forcible rape, but there is scientific disagreement on how likely it is.”

Dr. Orient explained that the process of fertilization, implantation and maintenance of pregnancy is an intricate one, “highly dependent on hormonal signals. Stress is conceded to make miscarriage more likely by disrupting the hormonal milieu. What could be more stressful than forcible rape?”

She stressed that rape “is painful and causes harm, not just physical injury but often lifelong, serious emotional distress; flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, depression, difficulty forming normal relationships and even guilt.” Abortion can produce similar outcomes.

Dr. Orient said Todd Akin simply “gave a layman’s restatement of the point made by some pro-life physicians that the female body has some defense mechanisms against pregnancy in cases of rape.”

She concluded: “The intensity of the media outrage against Akin’s remark shows that this is not a scientific dispute about numbers, or the definition of ‘really rare’. Medical science is being replaced by political demagoguery about the issue of rape.”


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Mike Scruggs