Huffpost Politics

Phil Gingrey Defends Todd Akin's Rape Comment: 'He's Partly Right'

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Former Senate candidates Todd Akin (R-Mo.) and Richard Mourdock (R-Ind.) may have lost their respective elections over their controversial comments about rape and abortion, but Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) made the point clear on Thursday that they are not alone in their beliefs.

Gingrey, a former OBGYN and co-chair of the House GOP Doctors Caucus, defended the two men at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast in Georgia on Thursday morning. He said he believes that they are at least "partly right" in what they said about pregnancy and rape, the Marietta Daily Journal reported:

In Missouri, Todd Akin ... was asked by a local news source about rape and he said, "Look, in a legitimate rape situation" -- 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.

Akin said in August that victims of "legitimate rape" rarely get pregnant, because "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." He later apologized and acknowledged that his comment was factually wrong. Recent studies have shown that rape and consensual sex have the same pregnancy rate.

Gingrey also defended Mourdock, who said in October that he opposes legal abortion without an exception for rape victims because if a woman conceives from rape, "it is something God intended to happen."

“Mourdock basically said, 'Look, if there is conception in the aftermath of a rape, that’s still a child, and it’s a child of God, essentially,'" Gingrey said. "Now, in Indiana, that cost him the election."

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