Washington, DC — Recent remarks by a member of the US House of Representatives suggesting that “women who are victims of ‘legitimate rape’ rarely get pregnant” are medically inaccurate, offensive, and dangerous.
Each year in the US, 10,000–15,000 abortions occur among women whose pregnancies are a result of reported rape or incest. An unknown number of pregnancies resulting from rape are carried to term. There is absolutely no veracity to the claim that “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down.” A woman who is raped has no control over ovulation, fertilization, or implantation of a fertilized egg (ie, pregnancy). To suggest otherwise contradicts basic biological truths.
Any person forced to submit to sexual intercourse against his or her will is the victim of rape, a heinous crime. There are no varying degrees of rape. To suggest otherwise is inaccurate and insulting and minimizes the serious physical and psychological repercussions for all victims of rape.
Mr. Akin, please don’t put words in the mouths of me or my colleagues. This doctor recognizes that rape can and does result in pregnancy, that there are no varying degrees of rape, and that no woman should be forced out of making her own choices regarding her reproductive health. Proud of ACOG to quickly, concisely, and affirmatively put down any semblance of tacit agreement by issuing a statement. Mr. Akin, we’re entitled to our own opinions, but we’re not entitled to our own facts.