I have to admit that I am kicking up my heels with glee at the prospect of Republicans being newly embroiled in an internal struggle to silence the crazy rightwingers who have reared their head once again, this time a short week before they are to meet at their national convention.
It all started by a startling revelation from Congressman Todd Akin, running to take Senator Claire McCaskill’s seat, that women who are raped have a natural defense mechanism that prevents them from becoming pregnant.
The obvious inference is that pregnant women who say they were raped are either lying or grossly exaggerating the facts.
All of this led me to wonder who, or what is behind this pseudo-scientific conclusion. How is it that it has become such a widely-held belief among anti-abortion politicians.
Well as it turns out it seems to all come from one guy, Dr. Jack Willke, who is himself an anti-abortion activist. He has put out a couple of papers that have made this very case. Here is some of what he says and the mainstream support he has gotten.
“Willke is a proponent of the concept that rape victims rarely get pregnant, stating in a 1999 article that ‘There's no greater emotional trauma that can be experienced by a woman than an assault rape. This can radically upset her possibility of ovulation, fertilization, implantation and even nurturing of a pregnancy’ and that by his calculations "assault" rape pregnancy is extremely rare and about four cases per state per year. In an interview on August 20, 2012, following the Todd Akin rape and pregnancy controversy, he said: ‘This is a traumatic thing — she’s, shall we say, she’s uptight. She is frightened, tight, and so on. And sperm, if deposited in her vagina, are less likely to be able to fertilize. The tubes are spastic.’ These assertions were disputed by a number of gynecology professors. A study published in 1996 by the Medical University of South Carolina estimated that there are approximately 32,000 pregnancies from rape in the United States each year, a pregnancy rate of 5% per rape among victims of reproductive age.”
“Mitt Romney's 2007 campaign embraced Willke as “an important surrogate for Governor Romney's pro-life and pro-family agenda”, and Romney expressed is pride to "have the support of a man who has meant so much to the pro-life movement in our country.”
You know what this reminds me of? Lysenkoism. Trofim Lysenko was a Russian agronomist in the 20’s and 30’s who developed his own notions of botany and a process he called “vernalization” not from genetics but from questionnaires provided by peasant farmers. His notions were so politically correct at the time that they became strict doctrine in national agricultural planning, and served to produce disastrous crop failures year after year in Russia.
The result was that Russia, for many years, suffered from under production and many thousands of Russians died of starvation because of a reliance on this charlatan of science.
This is what we have here, in the new charlatan of science, Dr. Jack Willke. Only this time the result could have some very positive repercussions in this election in that Willke’s crackpot ideas are being identified as just that, and those that adhered to them are quickly running for cover. All of this just in time for the 2012 election.
In the Holy Bible we learn of Jesus and the miracle of the Loaves and Fishes. In 2012 we have another miracle in the making, and we have none other than Dr. Jack Willke to claim the credit.