Rep. Todd Akin, the Missouri Republican Senate candidate, is all over the news since his comments on a Sunday news show about women having the ability to “shut that whole thing down” and not get pregnant in cases of “legitimate rape.”
PhillyNow.com points out that such theories have been around for a while among anti-abortion politicians:
Last year, Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey was the primary sponsor (and several Pennsylvania Republicans and Democrats were co-sponsors) of a woman-shaming bill oddly dubbed the “No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act.” It sought to redefine rape so that those who receive Medicaid, and who were raped, could only get an abortion if said rape could be proven to have looked like a violent scene out of Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange.
But that’s not all. Or new. Former GOP state Rep. Stephen Freind of Delaware County noted in a 1988 debate that the odds of a rape victim becoming pregnant are, “one in millions and millions and millions.” He claimed women have the power to “secret[e] a certain secretion which has a tendency to kill the sperm.”
In 1979, Federal Judge James Leon Holmes said: “Concern for rape victims is a red herring because conceptions from rape occur with approximately the same frequency as snowfall in Miami.”