Todd Akin’s rape comments may have been born in Minnesota

Where on earth did Rep. Todd Akin get the idea that rape victims rarely get pregnant? Right here on earth, probably — Minnesota.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch says Akin may have gotten the information from a 1972 paper authored by Dr. Fred Mecklenburg, a former professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School.


In Mecklenburg’s original article, he wrote that pregnancy resulting from rape “is extremely rare,” and cited as an example the city of Buffalo, N.Y., which had not seen “a pregnancy from confirmed rape in over 30 years.” Other cities — Chicago, Washington, St. Paul — also had experienced lengthy spells without a rape-caused pregnancy, Mecklenburg wrote.

The reasons were numerous: Not all rapes result in “a completed act of intercourse,” Mecklenburg wrote, adding that it was “improbable” that a rape would occur “on the 1-2 days of the month in which the woman would be fertile.”

Mecklenburg’s third reason seems to have been picked up by Akin.

A woman exposed to the trauma of rape, Mecklenburg wrote, “will not ovulate even if she is ‘scheduled’ to.”

(h/t: Matt Sepic)

  • Beth-Ann Bloom

    Important to note Fred and Marjory Mecklenburg are best known for their partisan work in the anti-abortion and abstinence movements.

  • Bob Collins

    Yes, that’s in the STLPD article.

  • Suzanne

    A: That makes one more uninformed idiot in this discussion, even if his comments were 40 years ago;

    B: I think the views of Akin and Mecklenburg are the same by coincidence, because Akin does not seem like the type of person who gets information from actually reading anything.

    C: I can’t wait until he is gone from the senate race and out of the news.

  • David G

    I wonder if they rely on 40 year old medical journals for treatment of heart attacks, or cancer as well.

  • Suzanne
  • jon

    One of my college friends was majoring in bio medical engineering… he had to do a walk through on what reproduction looked like from that perspective.

    Given the mechanical complexities of reproduction, it appears we are all statistical anomalies by the fact of our mere existence.

    but then again, so is Mr. Akin…

  • Disco

    Here’s what I think is interesting. The political and intellectual discourse in this country has gone so far off the rails that we are now discussing whether women can be impregnated by forced sex.

    You have to admire the ability of the GOP to drag the definition of “sane” to the right with each passing day.

  • John O.

    Each passing day, it seems we are devolving to a society based on the premise that if it is on the internet, it must be true.

  • Bob Collins

    The Internet had little role to play in this. The paper was written in 1972 and incorporated into a book. This was all taking place shortly before Roe v. Wade.

    This myth spread the old fashioned way.

  • Robert Moffitt

    One has to wonder about any physician who would cite Nazi studies (shudder) as proof of his now-widely discredited theories.

  • Lindsay

    I love how this “study” didn’t consider A) the possibility of a woman being raped by her husband and getting pregnant (I’m guessing they wouldn’t have considered that rape…some people still don’t) or B) the possibility that women may have kept it hidden and didn’t report it or seek medical attention during pregnancy. Rape is still a difficult issue for people to understand. I can only imagine what it would have been like to have been a rape victim when this asinine articile was published.

  • Bonnie

    I can’t believe we are even talking about this.

  • Beth Royalty

    The more interesting, and perhaps more unexplainable question to me is: why are these guys so interested in talking about rape?

  • watcher13

    I say as a registered Republican that this is what should scare Americans. The Reagan Revolution drove all reasonable, moderate Republicans underground. Our founding fathers, Washington, Adams, and so on, believed in moderation, and made no secret of it. “All things in moderation”, said Franklin.

    But today’s Republican party is run by money worshipers who really don’t care anything about social issues. But they know they can keep the ignorant, hateful, and fearful radicalized through the work of mouthpieces like Limbaugh, Beck, etc…. And I don’t believe these charlatans care about social issues either. They just want radio ratings and politicians in office who will lower their taxes, hopefully, for them, to zero.

    The problem is that once you open the Pandora’s box of crazies, it’s hard to get them back in. So you end up with Todd Akins, and Sarah Palin’s bumper sticker speeches without a single coherent sentence, and Michelle Bachmann’s absurdities, like her slaughtering of the Boston Tea Party, and the attempts in Kansas to ignore all scientific progress in the schools.

    To quote that famous saying from 1986’s “The Fly”: “be afraid, be very afraid”.

  • http://www.shawnotto.com Shawn Otto

    Asinine as that is, not it is not the source. The source is Physicians for Life. See my blog post on this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shawn-lawrence-otto/todd-akin-legitimate-rape_b_1811482.html

  • Sarah

    Mr. Akin comments are so uninformed! I was too livid to comment when I first heard your report about his comments as I was one of the many who experienced rape (in 1971) and got pregnant as a result. Funny to think there could be a link between Akin’s stupid remarks and Dr. Mecklenberg who eventually became my obstetrician.