Rob Brooks, Professor of Evolutionary Ecology; Director, Evolution & Ecology Research Centre at University of New South Wales, articulates the issues nicely in

Shutting that whole thing down: Todd Akin, rape, pregnancy and abor....


Akins' "pseudo-medical contention that “the female body has ways to try shut that whole thing down.”

That is an assertion that strays right into my research specialty: the biology of sexual conflict.

...the fact that the way in which women discriminate against men whose children they do not want to carry is by not having sex with them in the first place. A measure of the extent to which a society deserves to consider itself civilized can be gained from the extent to which its citizens recognize this fundamental and inviolable right.

To suggest that some forms of rape earn that name more legitimately than others is to deny women this right and to defend the agenda of the rapist.

What strikes me about the anachronistic attitudes of evangelicals and their Republican puppets to abortion, contraception, family planning, female economic empowerment and feminism in general is just how unambiguously male these attitudes are. All of these issues are informed by what suits men’s evolutionary and economic interests. Or more precisely by what suited the interests of men, especially rich and powerful men, before the industrial revolution.

An entire political party in one of the most advanced and educated countries on earth has become a caricature of the most basal evolved insecurities about masculinity. They seem terrified of losing control over the means of reproduction and petrified of cuckoldry. [emphasis mine]

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Prof. Brooks is incisive and eloquent!

And thanks, Ruth, for the levity:

"It seems to me, first of all, from talking to Meteorologists, that if it's a legitimate hurricane the Republican Convention has ways to shut that whole thing down."

A perfect parody of Akin's 13th-century stupidity!

(And if it were true, the Republican Party would have been using weather control for the benefit of Big Agriculture long before the convention! :)

On further reflection Rob Brooks missed a lot by lightly dismissing "the largely irrelevant biology of whether women can, somehow, discriminate against the sperm of a rapist."

The notion that women are capable of shutting down a pregnancy if what happened to her was really rape resembles the logic of witch water tests. A woman with bound hands and feet was thrown into a body of water. If she drowned, that proved she was innocent of witchcraft. If she didn't drown that proved she was guilty, and deserved to be burned at the stake.

Pregnancy is the ultimate proof a rape victim has of her accusation. If she failed to get pregnant, she lacks this proof and it becomes he said/she said, so her claim is easily ignored. Pregnancy disproves the "I didn't have sex" defense and the "It was some other guy" defense, but - how convenient - to Aikins it proves she wasn't legitimately raped after all. It must have been consensual, so she's to blame.

Aikins ludicrous biology assertion isn't about biology at all, it signals a value system that justifies terrible persecution of women. The biology claim is like a patina concealing blatant evil, which would be easily recognized.

I hadn't thought of it that way Ruth - I was giving him too much credit for just being ignorant on biology - but I think he does have a hatred for women.

Misogyny in all it's forms.

I love the picture with "You can fix stupid" - that's great.

Thanks for that wonderful article - I'm going to follow the link and read it more thoroughly.

Republicans have been trying to redefine rape to exclude statutory rape.

Todd Akin, Paul Ryan, and Redefining Rape

Last year, Akin, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and most of the House GOP cosponsored a bill that would have narrowed the already-narrow exceptions to the laws banning federal funding for abortion—from all cases of rape to cases of "forcible rape."

Pro-life advocates believed they needed to include the word "forcible" in the law to preempt what National Right to Life Committee lobbyist Doug Johnson called a "brazen" effort by Planned Parenthood and other groups to obtain federal funding for abortions for any teenager by (falsely) claiming statutory rape. Abortion rights groups, Johnson warned, wanted to "federally fund the abortion of tens of thousands of healthy babies of healthy moms, based solely on the age of their mothers." [emphasis mine]

So just because you're a pregnant 12 year old you shouldn't be entitled to get an abortion, statutory rape doesn't count.


That's scary!

To the pro-lifers, an embryo has more rights than a living, breathing girl or woman.

Here's a paradigm I read about for asserting the right to abortion access, unaffected by any supposed "personhood" of the embryo: pregnancy causes such significant changes to a woman's body and liberty (with a 60% chance of complications requiring medical attention) that a pregnancy not consented to is a serious attack, and a woman has a right of self-defense against that attack. It doesn't matter whether the attacker is or is not a "person": you have the right to defend yourself if you're attacked by a man with a knife just as much as if you're attacked by a rabid dog.

Abortion Rights After South Dakota, Eileen McDonagh


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