Yet Another Republican Thinks Rape And Incest Can’t Result In Pregnancy

Robyn Pennacchia | March 1, 2016 - 10:00 am

Like many of you, I assumed that the myriad refutations of Todd Akin’s theory that women can’t get pregnant from “legitimate rape” would have “shut that whole thing down” by now.

ALAS, NO.

Because last week, when discussing a bill that would “require women seeking abortions to be given a list of providers of free ultrasounds, and to be told they have a right to such a procedure and to hear a fetal heart monitor,” (which does not include exemptions for rape and incest victims) Rep. Pete Nielsen trotted out that claim again, and this time claimed that it also applied to incest!

Via Idaho Spokesman-Review:

During the hearing Rep. Pete Nielsen, R-Mountain Home, said, “Now, I’m of the understanding that in many cases of rape it does not involve any pregnancy because of the trauma of the incident. That may be true with incest a little bit.”

His comment was directed to Angela Dwyer of Stanton Healthcare, a crisis pregnancy center, who was testifying in support of the bill. Dwyer told Nielsen that her center had treated two young rape victims and that one chose to keep her baby while the other offered her baby for adoption.

Nielsen stood by his remarks after the hearing, saying pregnancy “doesn’t happen as often as it does with consensual sex, because of the trauma involved.”

Asked how he knew that, he said, “That’s information that I’ve had through the years. Whether it’s totally accurate or not, I don’t know.”

He added, “I read a lot of information. I have read it several times. … Being a father of five girls, I’ve explored this a lot.”

The idea that women can’t get pregnant from rape stems primarily from a 1972 text by anti-choice activist Fred Mecklenberg, which states that a rape is so traumatic that the woman “will not ovulate even if she is ‘scheduled’ to”–based on the fact that long-term stress can affect how and when a woman ovulates. However, as literally anyone with half a brain has pointed out, the immediate stress of being raped cannot somehow stop ovulation that is already in progress. That’s just not how the human body works. At all. For any reason.

There’s a more insidious reason this view lives on than just opposing abortion and wanting to not look like the jerk that would deny an abortion to a woman who was raped or the victim of incest. It’s that many of these people view unwanted pregnancies as a righteous punishment from God for a woman having non-procreative sex, and women who have abortions as vicious Jezebels who are thumbing their nose at God and refusing to take their prescribed medicine. If the woman is pregnant due to being a victim of a crime, then they can’t argue that she deserves that punishment.

That mode of thinking is, in fact, the whole problem with “exemptions” for rape and incest victims in the first place–as they codify the idea that women who have simply gotten pregnant by accident don’t deserve the same right to end their pregnancies, and should thus be forced to “deal with the consequences.”

[Mother Jones]