(TRENTON) – Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer) will introduce a resolution condemning violence against women and denouncing the reckless and sorely inaccurate remarks made by Rep. Todd Akin suggesting that “legitimate rape” rarely results in pregnancy.
“As a woman and mother, I was offended by such an irresponsible and inaccurate assertion made in reference to one of the most heinous acts that can be committed against a woman,” said Watson Coleman. “There is just so much wrong with that statement, I don’t know what’s worse; categorizing rape as “legitimate”, as if to imply there is any other kind of rape, or spreading the falsehood that rapes rarely result in pregnancies. It’s truly unfortunate that in this day and age, we have individuals in positions of power who can speak such mindless rhetoric. It is an affront to all women, especially those who have been victimized and who may have conceived a child through rape.”
Akin, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from Missouri claimed during an interview that women who are victims of “legitimate” or “forcible” rape rarely get pregnant. Akin went on to say that “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” implying that women who are victims of “legitimate” or “forcible” rape have biological mechanisms that prevent pregnancy.
The resolution admonishes the assertion that women have biological mechanisms that can prevent pregnancy during “legitimate” or “forcible” rape, and condemns violence against women and the sexual victimization perpetrated by rape.
According to the resolution, two leading experts on reproductive health, Dr. Michael Greene, a professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School, and Dr. David Grimes, formerly with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and currently a clinical professor in obstetrics and gynecology and the University of North Carolina, have dismissed these claims concerning rape and pregnancy. The resolution also mentions a 1996 study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology that estimated that five percent of rapes result in pregnancy, and rape-related pregnancies are closely linked with family and domestic violence.
“Rape is rape. To describe some rapes as “legitimate” sends a terrible message about what constitutes rape and downplays the severity and the consequences of this violent act on its victims,” said Watson Coleman. “Women who have been victimized have endured enough without having to worry about how a male elected official from Missouri chooses to define rape.”