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Duly Noted

Sunday, Aug 19, 2012, 2:23 pm

GOP Senate Nominee: Victims Of ‘Legitimate Rape’ Don’t Get Pregnant

By Lindsay Beyerstein

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The Republican senate candidate from Missouri believes that pregnancy from rape is a lot like trial by ordeal:

Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri who is running against Sen. Claire McCaskill, justified his opposition to abortion rights even in case of rape with a claim that victims of “legitimate rape” have unnamed biological defenses that prevent pregnancy.

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

It all comes down to traditional values. If you throw a suspected witch in the river and she doesn't drown, she was a legitimate witch. If she drowns, she wasn't legit after all. Oh, well. We didn't value her anyway.

Akin has this it figured out: If you got pregnant, it wasn't legitimate rape. Ergo, so-called "rape victims" don't deserve abortion exemptions.

Lindsay Beyerstein is an award-winning investigative journalist and In These Times staff writer who writes the blog Duly Noted. Her stories have appeared in Newsweek, Salon, Slate, The Nation, Ms. Magazine, and other publications. Her photographs have been published in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times' City Room. She also blogs at The Hillman Blog (, a publication of the Sidney Hillman Foundation, a non-profit that honors journalism in the public interest.

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