Today’s Course in Home-Schooled Women’s Biology

Republican Senate Nominee: Victims Of ‘Legitimate Rape’ Don’t Get Pregnant [TPM]

Update: Los Angeles Times, August 6:

The dilation of pupils in response to erotic stimuli may be the most accurate objective measure of an individual’s sexuality, researchers reported Monday…

The findings support the idea that sexual response has different biological functions in men and women. For men, an important function is to facilitate erection and penetration. For women, the function is to stimulate lubrication and prevent genital injury in case of penetration — a response that may have developed early in evolutionary history in response to episodes of rape by males.

The study, by Gerulf Rieger and Ritch C. Savin-Williams of the department of human development at Cornell, is from PLoS One journal, August 3:

Among heterosexual participants, substantial sex differences in pupil response were found. Compared to heterosexual men, heterosexual women showed a more equal sexual response to male and female stimuli. This sex difference is consistent with previously reviewed theoretical writings and documented sex differences in genital response. Baumeister argued that the sexes evolved to differ in their sexual responsiveness, and this is an adaptation to the sexual behavior of the other sex. One hypothesis related to Baumeister’s proposal is that sexual response has different biological functions for men and women. For men, an important function is to facilitate erection and penetration; for women, to facilitate lubrication and prevent genital injury in case of penetration. Support for this hypothesis is derived from both cross-species and cross-cultural comparisons. Forced copulation in several species and in most human societies indicate that it may have occurred throughout human evolution. Because forced copulation can lead to genital trauma, the female response to any sexual stimulus may have evolved in part to mitigate this risk.

If our hunch is correct about Todd Akin’s ultimate source, the point of the article is not that women’s bodies can resist impregnation in cases of rape, but that they have evolved to cope with it. But the coping does not affect fertilization.


Those doctors he was referencing should have their licenses revoked.

If raped, my body will prevent a fertilized ovum from implanting in the wall of my uterus?

Birth control — I’m doing it wrong.

@JNOVjr: I bet those doctors don’t have medical degrees, kinda like Dr. Laura started off with a Ph.D. in physiology (IIRC), but was marketed as a psychologist/psychiatrist. That’s what the radio stations who aired her program wanted people to believe, and they did nothing to dispel that misunderstanding.

You may call me Dr. Mom, but I can’t set your broken arm.

Well, our esteemed Smithers was a proponent of limiting the right to abortion to only women who were victims of “forcible rape,” so this ass-hat is in good company.

@SanFranLefty: Oh, so rape is no longer a violent crime?

Todd Akin sits on the House science, space, and technology committee. But you already knew we were doomed.

@nojo: Wow. Maybe it is best for me to ignore who is where.


I’ll wiki him.

Scott Mackenzie died, and I have no idea who that is.

I think I found the source, based on an LAT article two weeks ago.

@nojo: Pupil dilation affects ovulation? Pupil dilation as an indicator of sexual preference sounds like a load of horseshit as well.

Pupil dilation usually means I’m in a bar.

I have noticed that pupil dilation and mirroring of behavior are somewhat indicative of sexual attraction, but, meh.

@JNOV: If I have the right source, and I’m reading it correctly, I think the point wasn’t that it prevents rape, but helps the body cope with it.

As strict research, you can make sense of it, whether or not you agree. As politics, you can see how it would be quickly and conveniently misunderstood.

@nojo: I skimmed the hypotheses and headers. I didn’t see rape mentioned, but now I’ll search for the term.

Of course the “Needs MOAR Research” IOW, “Fund another study, pleeeeze?” jumps off the page.

@JNOV: Post updated with the relevant journal passage.

I’m completely guessing that this is what got twisted by Akin. But the way he referred to it, his position on the House science committee, and the recent publication and publicity, prompted a quick Google hunt. It’s not a sure bet, but a reasonable hunch.

The fucked up part, in my mind, is that even if solid science did back him up, he’s still implying that if a woman got pregnant through rape, it was because she wanted it. It smacks of the whole “Well, if she didn’t want to get raped, she shouldn’t have worn that skimpy dress” argument.

I would have been skeptical about this, too, but that was before I learned that Adam and Eve kept a pet dimetrodon in the garden of Eden.

@SanFranLefty: Shorter non-apology: “Oh, fuck.”

@SanFranLefty: This guy is a jackass. In what way did he misspeak? He didn’t say A when he really meant B. He didn’t word his argument in such a way that it could be taken out of context. He said something that is factually incorrect in the hopes that it would support his position on an argument that he shouldn’t have been allowed to participate in in the first place. He’s not guilty of having misspoke; he’s guilty of having been flat-out WRONG.

Welcome to MSM’s GOPer enabler land.

a response that may have developed early in evolutionary history in response to episodes of rape by males.

I call bullshit on this. Who are these idiots? Are they creationists? Because that’s the only way to explain their conclusion.

@karen marie still has her eyes tight shut: “This research was funded by the American Institutes of Bisexuality ( and the United States Department of Agruculture’s Federal Formula Funds (​fm) given to Cornell University for project NYC-321421.”

The Poison Secretion Theory was sited back in 1988 by another wingnut.
Here is a handy compilation of other pregnancy after rape theories.

@texrednface: That might be a better guess than mine. I was figuring that Akin recently mis-heard something third-hand, but for all I know it’s been making the rounds for a long time in Wingnuttia.

This is the article you will want to read on where Stephen Friend learned his pregnancy/rape theory.
It just gets even worse:

In a 1972 article prepared for a publication called Abortion and Social Justice, which was paid for by a group called Americans United for Life, Mecklenburg said “medical research” linked stress and ovulation. Mecklenburg is an obstetrician and gynecologist working in Washington.

“In Germany, during World War II, the Nazis tested this hypothesis by selecting women who were about to ovulate and sending them to the gas chambers, only to bring them back after their realistic mock-killing, to see what effects this had on their ovulatory patterns,” Mecklenburg wrote.

According to the study, wrote Mecklenburg, 64 percent did not ovulate.

@texrednface: See, this is why I’m sorry he backed down. I was really looking forward to the explanation.

@JNOVjr: Yeah — her body sent out the “Rape me! I wanna baby!” vibe.

@nojo: I still call bullshit. Physiology did not evolve because of rape*. That’s just about the stupidest thing I’ve read this week, and I’ve read a lot of stupid shit this week.

*Unless you consider every act of intercourse by every creature who engages in such to be rape. If that’s the case, the word “rape” is meaningless.

@texrednface: What type of torture did the Nazi’s NOT conduct? Christ!

I’m still not cool with the biological coping business. There’s often a lot of vaginal bruising and tearing. I think that part of the pupil study is crap.

@texrednface: Freind is not our Friend.

It may be significant that Fred Mecklenberg is/was married to Marjorie Mecklenberg, and they were founders of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life. Marjorie was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs in the Reagan DHHS.

Any argument is fair game for the anti-abortion crowd, without shame.

@stickler: I am confused is the Fred Mecklenberg of MCCL and Dr Fred Mecklenberg the OB/GYN in Virginia cited in the Philly newspaper articles the same person? His medical title never seems to precede his name when his affiliation with MCCL is mentioned. Is that odd?

add/ the mosquito spray plane just flew over my house.

@texrednface: Oh yes the “juices won’t flow” line – I had blotted that out of my memory. Best comment re: Akin on the Grey Lady:

A woman is being raped and he refers, “off the cuff”, to her as an “it” – it being “the female body”, not her as a person, simply a body, which can “shut that thing down”. “That thing”? “It” “the female body” “that thing.” Can a man get more uncomfortable about women? Or more ignorant? He thinks women and/or their bodies have supernatural powers, including the power to shut a pregnancy down through some mysterious internal process? If he lived in Salem he’d be the chief justice sending ordinary women to burn to death as witches.

Does he think a woman can emotionally “shut that thing down.” too? That thing being rape? Or does he not believe women are people, merely bodies, animal instinct? “It” seems to sum up his anachronistic view of women: property, possessors of mysterious powers, child bearing machines which must be controlled by the rational gender. I do not live in Missouri but I can and just did donate to McCaskill’s campaign.

Meanwhile, in other wingnuttery news, Pat Robertson advises his followers to not adopt abused children because they might turn out “weird” and why “take on the United Nations” with adopted children from foreign countries.

@SanFranLefty: This is all just too much. I got another kitten this weekend, and I think I’m just going to ignore the news for awhile and watch Ophelia and Tybalt frolic.

@Mistress Cynica: Good plan.

And congrats on the new kitty ; )

Heh! Flippin’ posted an excellent article on FB: Uterus Facts, and one of the commenters linked to an article that perfectly explains Akin’s confusion: Female ducks fight back against ‘raping’ males.

This all suggests that Akin hasn’t ever, you know, dealt with women. Like, at all.

@IanJ: For the most hilarious/surreal explanation of duck sex, let us look to Isabella Rossellini.

@flippin eck: For the most hilarious/surreal explanation of duck sex, let us look to…

…my college years.

@nojo: Rossellini went to college in Eugene?

@Dodgerblue: What happens at the Mill Race, stays at the Mill Race.

@texrednface: I’ve been adding to the confusion because I have been spelling it Mecklenberg, instead of Mecklenburg. Almost as easy as misspelling Freind as Friend.

And yes, Dr. Fred probably had an ob/gyn clinic in the VA/DC area when wife Marjorie joined the Reagan administration.

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