20 Aug 2014
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Wesleyan Prof: Akin's Rape Claims Sound Positively Medieval

As outlandish as the Missouri Representative's "legitimate rape" theory may be considered, ancient Greek philosophers and a physicians had similar beliefs. And it's not the first time Akin has made such pronouncements.

Wesleyan Prof: Akin's Rape Claims Sound Positively Medieval

Editor's Note: Wesleyan University history professor Jennifer Tucker penned a New York Times opinion piece Aug. 23, "The Medieval Roots of Todd Akin’s Theories," which drew parallels between the Missouri Representative's "legitimate rape" comments and theories of reproduction by Hippocrates and Aristotle.

"The now infamous beliefs about pregnancy that are held by Republican Rep. Todd Akin, ... who remarked earlier this week that the female body will try to 'shut that whole thing down' in the case of 'legitimate rape' — are obviously at odds with modern science. They are, however, in step with medieval science," she wrote.

She concludes that science has definitively proven that women who are raped or conceive under the best of conditions have no control "over ovulation, fertilization or implantation of a fertilized egg."

Tucker's essay concludes: "The female body may not be able to shut down conception, but we can at least shut down Mr. Akin’s wild claims."

Just this week, New York Magazine published "Why Todd Akin Warned of Doctors Who Perform Abortions on Women Who Aren’t Even Pregnant," referencing a video Slate dug up of Akin from the House floor in 2008 that's even more outlandish in its claims.

It it, Akin is seen "railing against 'terrorist' abortion doctors, who perform inherently evil acts in the most evil manner possible," according to the NY Mag article.

Read Tucker's full New York Times Op-Ed here.

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