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Gingrey on ‘Legitimate Rape’ Comment: Do You Agree?

U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta, touched on the hot-button issue during an address to the Smyrna Area Council of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce. Tell us what you think of Gingrey’s comments.

by the now former U.S. Rep. Todd Akin last August in the midst of his re-election campaign, is one he and Republicans likely hoped most Republicans would forget last year.

Akin’s comments suggesting that victims of "legitimate rape" have a built-in defense against pregnancy likely played a factor in the Missouri Republican's political defeat in November.

While Akin’s comments became part of the political landscape in 2012, they have resurfaced in the early days of 2013, but this time in Georgia. U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta, said as he spoke to the Smyrna Area Council of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce that the former representative was “partly right.”

Here’s what Gingrey, an OB-GYN who also represents Cherokee County, said during his address, according to a report from the Marietta Daily Journal:

Todd Akin … was asked by a local news source about rape and he said, ‘Look, in a legitimate rape situation’—and what he meant by legitimate rape was just look, someone can say I was raped: a scared-to-death 15-year-old that becomes impregnated by her boyfriend and then has to tell her parents, that’s pretty tough and might on some occasion say, ‘Hey, I was raped.’ That’s what he meant when he said legitimate rape versus non-legitimate rape. I don’t find anything so horrible about that. But then he went on and said that in a situation of rape, of a legitimate rape, a woman’s body has a way of shutting down so the pregnancy would not occur. He’s partly right on that.

And I’ve delivered lots of babies, and I know about these things. It is true. We tell infertile couples all the time that are having trouble conceiving because of the woman not ovulating, ‘Just relax. Drink a glass of wine. And don’t be so tense and uptight because all that adrenaline can cause you not to ovulate.’ So he was partially right wasn’t he? But the fact that a woman may have already ovulated 12 hours before she is raped, you’re not going to prevent a pregnancy there by a woman’s body shutting anything down because the horse has already left the barn, so to speak. And yet the media took that and tore it apart.

Gingrey after the MDJ’s report issued a statement clarifying that he did not defend or stand by Akin’s comments, adding that while attempting to provide context behind the comments of Akin and another congressman, his “position was misconstrued.”

Do you think Gingrey’s comments were appropriate? Why or why not?

Share what’s on your mind with us, and then return here to see what your neighbors in Paulding, Douglas and Cobb have said.

Frank Jones January 14, 2013 at 11:55 PM
Gingrey is trying to re-write history, something that the Republicans try to do far to often. Let's be honest...there is no such thing as legitimate rape or non-legitimate rape...There is simply RAPE. Trying to justify the "rape" issue as a 15 year-old too afraid to tell the parents that she is pregnant is non-sense. Even so, if a 15 year-old isn't mature enough to face the parents, she isn't mature enough to raise a baby. Then, if the 15 y/o and the parents decide that an abortion is in order, so be it. The Republicans should not stand in the way...The decision to have an abortion is a personal decision and a right. As to justifying the argument that a woman's body can prevent itself from conceiving, that's just another lame argument. Gingrey wants you to believe that the adrenaline spike will always prevent a woman from ovulating. Rubbish! Many uptight people get pregnant. Many first time virgins with adrenaline rushes get pregnant.
centsandsensibility January 15, 2013 at 12:00 PM
Dr. Gingrey makes a valid point. He is stating that an adrenaline response CAN prevent ovulation~meaning, it's possible. There is no absolute statement. He does not say it happens every time. So are we to demonize him now for making a true statement as a professional? Any thinking person understands that Mr. Akin's original comment was meant as rape versus regret. Not that rape itself, in any context, is illegitimate. Any time we are giving some of the facts or part of the story, there is no serious dialogue. We have to expect more of ourselves than to accept part of the truth. Every politician will misspeak at one time or another. It's not a left or right thing. Have you never heard a Joe Biden speech? Or a Nancy Pelosi or a Hank Johnson? The whole context, like the whole content of a person's character, is what's important. Focus people. We will never make any progress unless you keep your head in the game. If we are distracted by half truths and outright lies, we are not solving anything. Stop letting any media do your thinking for you. And gross generalizations about either party does not help anyone. I've said it before and I'll say it again. We are all in this together.
Kristal Dixon (Editor) January 15, 2013 at 01:07 PM
I think the basic problem with talking about rape in this context is it pushes aside the sole reason behind why people rape--power and control over victims. It's reckless and dangerous for anyone to even suggest that women's bodies can distinguish between "legitimate rape" and consensual sex.
Dean Sheridan January 15, 2013 at 01:30 PM
I tell you, folks like to pile on don't they? If you all have Obama .10 % of the grief your giving old Phil here - good golly. They do have these issues in law enforcement and Phil is a doctor. Phil has many other concerns that he has to address; like consistatly voting like a conservative. If he does that - he would be a happy camper and serve his district well.
centsandsensibility January 15, 2013 at 01:49 PM
Well here is where the inconvenient partial truth about context comes into play. The original interview with Mr. Akin was a small, 'casual' interview by a reporter who was asking him about his stance on abortion and would he consider abortion in any context. For religious purposes, he does not. There was so much more of the interview than was ever reported to the general public. NO ONE is arguing that rape is a heinous, unforgivable act of power and control~rape is rape. End of story. Obfuscation is what is reckless and dangerous.
Kristal Dixon (Editor) January 15, 2013 at 02:33 PM
No one is practicing "obfuscation," as you say. And both Mr. Gingrey and Mr. Akin are more than entitled to their opinions about abortion and the protection of the life of the fetus. It's highly problematic when politicians recklessly say victims of "legitimate rape" don't get pregnant because a woman's body has a way to "shut that whole thing down," when pretty much every doctor can tell you that rape victims in fact can and do get pregnant. It's blatantly false and we should expect our political leaders not to be so careless when it comes to providing their opinions on sensitive subjects.
Jade January 15, 2013 at 02:50 PM
It makes my skin crawl everytime I hear the words "legitimate rape". Why would you keep trying to explain this? Let it go, never use it again! I agree with Kristal, rape is baout power and control- pregnancy is a byproduct of a sexual act, and can happen even when stressed, or pressured - and have a glass of wine????WTF? so drunk women get pregnant at higher rates than women who don't drink? why not go get a massage, or have a mud bath? just stop talking! your making it worse!
centsandsensibility January 15, 2013 at 03:02 PM
I certainly wouldn't want to be held accountable for every misspoken word I have said and I thank God that I am not on a national stage at every moment. These men don't believe that rape is illegitimate on any level at any time and have repeated stated so. Nor do they believe or have they stated that a woman's body will interrupt ovulation in every case. Was it an unfortunate comment? Yes. Did he apologize and re-state his belief that rape is a heinous, deplorable act? Yes. Why are we still going on about it? What more is there to do or say on the subject? There are so many, many problems in our world today. We have to come together in honesty and openness if we are to progress.
Ann A. Jones January 15, 2013 at 04:30 PM
The phrase "legitimate rape" is a misfortunate one, but I can see where someone would put those words together quickly for an interview being unable to come up with anything faster. I think that he is referring to a woman claiming that she was raped, when the act was consensual. Later finding herself to be pregnant, she claims she was raped to justify her abortion. What bothers me then is that it takes away from women who were truly raped. I can see that as being part of the thought process. Many years ago, my husband and I taught natural family planning (sympto-thermal) and we were told that when there is a lot of stress in the system, the adrenalin alters the body chemistry in a way that can shut down ovulation. The body more or less says that with all the stress you have, you don't need the extra stress of having a child. Thisi s similar to the reaction of women who are very low in fat - they will stop ovulating because the body acts on its lack of reserves - you are starving, you do not need to bear a child. The same chemical changes can also make it hard for an embryo to attach in the uterus, thus no implantation and no baby. In the case of a criminal rape, most women will have this chemical change and be unable to carry a pregnancy, as compared to a consensual act without the extra adrenalin. I think that the left has jumped on these men without understanding that pregnancy from rape is rare, and that hard cases still make bad law.
Brooke May January 15, 2013 at 05:24 PM
I agree with him completely, not every woman who claimed rape has been raped. This is unfortunate for women who have truly been raped.
Guy Bailey January 17, 2013 at 06:22 PM
Keep talking Phil. Keep reminding women that you no better about their bodies and choices than they do and they shouldn't worry their pretty little heads about such high falutin' things such as access to birth control and abortion.
Frank Jones January 17, 2013 at 07:59 PM
To the Phil and Akin fans...The AJC did a very nice job debunking Phil's and Akin's rape and pregnancy myth. As the AJC reported, virtually the entire OB/GYN community says that Phil and Akin are full of it. The "stress" that Phil was referring to as preventing ovulation & pregnancy isn't a one-time, short-term stress, but instead intense stress incurred over days, weeks and months.
Christopher Straub January 18, 2013 at 02:32 PM
I think it was the mind set that if a woman was impregnated as a result of being raped that it was not a "legitimate rape" - that is to say she was not really raped. This is absurd. If a woman is sexually abused, it's rape. While in the interest of every citizen's rights it must be discovered if there was consent, pregnancy is not a litmus test for sexual abuse. They don't choose to frame "legitmate" as legally substantiated because they lack respect for their fellow citizens. Stupidity cannot be justified and Gingrey proves this point with his defense of Akin's comments.
Patrick Thompson January 18, 2013 at 08:38 PM
This is not a man of science. This is not a happily married Christian. This is not someone who is up to date with women. This is not a legislator who represents more than half of us. This is someone who sees women as a paycheck. This is a pure politician reading a script. He's not a legitimate representative of the people.

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