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No Truth to Candidate's Claim That Rape Hinders Pregnancy, Experts Say
Date:8/21/2012

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Health experts are strongly refuting the assertion by a Republican Congressman that pregnancy is much more unlikely if a woman is raped.

"That is absolutely false," said Dr. George Attia, director of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), which counts 56,000 members, also called the remarks "medically inaccurate, offensive and dangerous."

At issue is a comment made recently by Representative Todd Akin (R-Mo.) that women who are victims of "legitimate rape" rarely get pregnant. By "legitimate" Rep. Akin apparently means "forcible."

"If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," said Akin, who is in a race to unseat Missouri's Democratic senator in the upcoming election.

Akin's remarks have unleashed a flurry of condemnations, including from Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who has indicated that Akin should step out of the senatorial race, according to The New York Times.

While Akin's views on rape and pregnancy may come as a surprise to many, it is commonly cited in anti-abortion circles and stems at least partly from the writings of Dr. John Willke, former president of the National Right to Life Committee. He put forth the view in a book originally published in 1985.

Willke this week summarized his views to The New York Times, saying, "This [rape] is a traumatic thing -- she's, shall we say, she's uptight," he said of a woman who is being raped. "She is frightened, tight and so on. And sperm, if deposited in her vagina, are less likely to be able to fertilize. The tubes are spastic."

Willke also contended that pregnancy is unlikely because half of rapists "do not deposit sperm in the vagina," either b
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