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Checking the medical facts of the Todd Akin rape statement

5:21 PM, Aug 20, 2012   |    comments
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Rep. Todd Akin. (AP File)

By Tracy Clemons

St. Louis (KSDK) - On Sunday, Rep. Todd Akin made comments regarding the rape, and that the female body has ways to "shut that whole thing down." Dr. George Macones, Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Washington University says there is absolutely no validity to that statement.

Dr. Macones says it's very rare for a rape victim to get pregnant, but that it does happen. He estimates that number to be around five percent.

"Obviously if the woman is on some effective method of contraception, it would be unlikely that she would get pregnant even if she were raped," he said. "If she wasn't on some type of contraception, it would have to be the right time of the cycle.

We also talked to M'Evie Mead, Director of Statewide Organizing for Planned Parenthood Advocates. She says Akin's comments did not surprise her.

"Representative Akin's statement is offensive and appalling, and it really shouldn't have happened. But we are not surprised. It tracks exactly with Representative Akin's long time history as a politician here in Missouri and in Washington," Mead said.

She and Dr. Macones say the Congressman was completely inaccurate when he said a woman's body could shut down a pregnancy if she was raped.

"There's absolutely no evidence for that whatsoever anywhere. Frankly it's a pretty uneducated thing for someone to say," Dr. Macones said. "I think it's a pretty damaging thing to do, especially for such a sensitive area such as rape. I think it's really uneducated and really unfortunate and I think damaging to women, especially who have been raped in the past."

"There's absolutely no medical research that would support what Mr. Akin said. In fact, what he just did was demonstrate exactly why politicians are the last people who should be making women's health decisions," added Mead.

NewsChannel 5 wanted to know where Congressman Akin could have come up with such a claim. We found an article on a website, PhysiciansForLife.org, that argued that the emotional trauma of being raped can upset the woman's possibility of getting pregnant.

Physicians for Life is a pro-life organization sponsored by Alabama Physicians for Life, Inc.

KSDK

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