interview in which he said, “First of all, from what I understand from doctors,
[pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female
body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Akin apologized for the
comment, but it was too late to stop his downfall.
By asking the public at large for
forgiveness, I was validating the willful misinterpretation of what I had said. My comment about a woman’s body shutting the pregnancy down was
directed to the impact of stress on fertilization. This is something fertility
doctors debate and discuss. Doubt me? Google ‘stress and infertility,’ and you
will find a library of research on the subject.
of research might very well show the opposite of Akin’s claims. And the fact
that, by Akin’s own admission, the subject is still debated implies there’s no conclusive
position. Akin seems to be clarifying his position only by reinforcing the pseudo-science that people were accusing him of using in the first place.
For example (completely making these numbers up), suppose 25 out of 100 unstressed women conceive, but only 23 out of 100 stressed women conceive. You could say the stressed women “experienced fewer conceptions” but they still conceived at 92% the rate of the unstressed women. Saying there’s an inverse relationship between stress and conception is a very far cry from implying that most women can’t conceive if they’re stressed. And saying there’s an inverse relationship between stress and conception doesn’t say anything about how the two factors influence each other. From WebMD:
“Stress may cause one set of reactions in one woman, and something else in another, so ultimately the reasons behind how or why stress impacts fertility may also be very individual,” says Pisarska, MD and co-director of Center for Reproductive Medicine at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.
In other words, there is no hard-and-fast rule about stress and infertility.
pregnant, but he’s also doubling down on his scientific inaccuracy. You don’t say, “Guys, scientists
are studying a link between ice cream and cancer. Therefore anyone who eats ice
cream gets cancer.” Sorry, that’s not how it works.
his new book about this incident and come to the conclusion that he was
justified in his remarks. And I’m not sure how someone like him gets onto a science committee.
So SPLers: if you felt sympathetic to Akin after he apologized, has your opinion changed?