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Phil Gingrey, Georgia Congressman, Explains Concept of “Legitimate Rape”

Phil Gingrey, a Republican Congressman from Georgia, has brought back up the topic of “legitimate rape.”

The term was broached by Todd Akin – a losing candidate for Congress in Missouri who drew MAJOR fire last year for saying a woman’s body “shuts down” in the face of this type of act – and Gingrey tried to defend the point yesterday at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

“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.’

Continued Gingrey, who has served as an OB-GYN:

“That’s what he meant when he said legitimate rape versus nonlegitimate 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.”

He is?

“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?”

Well, no, for the reason that Gingrey himself then outlines: a woman doesn’t know when she is going to be raped.

“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.”

As you might expect, Gingrey was then forced to backtrack from what appeared to be a semi-defense of Akin’s position, releasing the following statement today:

“I do not defend, nor do I stand by, the remarks made by Rep. Akin. … In my attempt to provide context as to what I presumed they meant, my position was misconstrued.”

The lesson, as always: politicians are best served by not bringing up the topic of “legitimate rape.”

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