Bryan Fischer wants to know why Sarah Palin won’t admit her body has magical powers. Palin, of course, is one of those who has told Todd Akin to quit, though she was uncommonly nice about it: “Bless his heart, I don’t want to pile on Todd Akin, because in some respects, I understand what he’s trying to say here, in standing on principle, that he doesn’t want to be perceived as a quitter, but you got to know when to hold them and know when to fold them. Missouri is a must-win state.”
She wants Akin to “take one for the team.”
Fischer wants women to take one for the team the team; all women, including Sarah Palin, for he team of white male patriarchs. He claims on the basis of an article in the Daily Mail that Todd Akin is right about rape and the magic sperm killing abilities of women who are raped. This article, which is not about rape but titled “Stress may be causing infertility in women,” says that “scientists [have] found that [women] with high levels of a stress hormone stop ovulating and are therefore unable to conceive.” In Bryan Fischer’s warped mind therefore, it is Todd Akin who is being raped, calling criticism of his extremist pal a “mindless…freakish…frenzied, forcible assault.”
Watch, courtesy of Right Wing Watch:
He says that if Akin loses it will not be his fault and blames not only the GOP ” poobah’s” but their allies in the conservative “punditocracy,” saying “they are just going to hand this thing to Claire McCaskill.” And it’s not Democrats he is talking about but Republicans:
Fischer: Now unfortunately for the nattering nabobs of negativism who have dog-piled on Akin it turns out the London Daily Mail today…
Now I’m going with Todd Akin on this one. I’m going with the European Society for Human Reproduction . How about you? How about you Sean Hannity? How about you Rush Limbaugh? How about you Mark Levin? How about you Sarah Palin? Are you going to side with Todd Akin and modern science or are you going to side with the jackals who are trying to put this guy out of the Democrats’ misery?
Even Sarah Palin. Oh Sarah, I remember when you were Esther reborn, protected by the mystical powers of witch hunters. Now you’re just some nattering bimbo who won’t admit her body possesses magical powers.
It’s hard not to laugh when you see Bryan Fischer claim modern science is on his side. You can’t exactly call him a Luddite because he embraces technology in general (he appears on the radio and on the web, after all). His problem is more with the science that technology represents. This, of course, does not set him apart from the Republican Party at large, which is vociferously anti-science while claiming to champion science. We have to remind ourselves that Bryan Fischer is a symptom, not the disease itself, albeit a particularly noxious and irksome symptom.
Fischer claims to have modern science on his side, but an ABC News report shows that doctors don’t agree with Bryan Fischer’s inexpert analysis. Doctors Swati Shroff and Tiffany Chow write that “There are…numerous studies regarding rape and pregnancy. Some data show that rape can not only result in pregnancy, but it may even lead to higher rates of pregnancy than consensual sex.”
A 1996 study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology reported that “among adult women an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year.” This study said the rate of becoming pregnant after sexual assault is considerable, estimating that “the national rape-pregnancy rate is 5.0 percent per rape among victims of reproductive age (aged 12 to 45).”
To make matters worse for those embracing the idea of magic sperm-killers “the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) released a statement on Monday: ‘Each year in the U.S., 10,000-15,000 abortions occur among women whose pregnancies are a result of reported rape or incest.'”
That’s a lot of pregnancies from rape considering women who are raped don’t get pregnant, isn’t it? And Drs Shroff and Chow moreover point out that “the statement said this is a fraction of the total number of rape-pregnancies, given that ‘an unknown number of pregnancies resulting from rape are carried to term.'”
If Fischer wants more evidence:
A 2003 study using data from the United States National Violence Against Women survey found that the rate at which women get pregnant after an incident of sexual assault is more than double that of a single act of consensual sex. In this report, published in the journal Human Nature, the per-incident rape-pregnancy rate was 6.42 percent, and as high as 7.98 percent with statistical correction. Of women having consensual sex, the per-incident pregnancy rate was 3.1 percent.
ACOG make no bones about it: science is not on Fischer and Akin’s side: Akin’s words are not only “medically inaccurate, offensive, and dangerous” but “A woman who is raped has no control over ovulation, fertilization, or implantation of a fertilized egg (ie, pregnancy). To suggest otherwise contradicts basic biological truths.”
But Bryan Fischer read an article in the Daily Mail that is not about rape and pregnancy so he knows more than the doctors.
But in the end this isn’t about science. It’s about power and control. It’s about an age-old patriarchy reacting to a loss of privilege. Eve Ensler, author of the Vagina Monologues, wrote an open letter to Akin published in HuffPo, “Dear Mr. Akin, I Want You to Imagine…”
“The underlying assumption of your statement is that women and their experiences are not to be trusted. That their understanding of rape must be qualified by some higher, wiser authority,” she wrote, before imploring him to imagine someone “violently, hatefully forcing themself into you so that you are ripped apart.”
I have often said that the Republican plan is to return us to the 13th century. I’m apparently not alone in holding that opinion. CNN reports that “Under a column entitled “Mistake of words and of the heart,” the BBC’s North America editor Mark Mardell asked why a U.S. politician was peddling pregnancy rape theories which dated back to the 13th century.”
“Mr Akin may have many admirable qualities which recommend him to the voters of Missouri, but it seems strange that a 21st century politician is willing to legislate on the grounds of old wives’ tales. Perhaps he should be explaining that, rather than his clumsy use of language.”
Indeed he should, since it is not the clumsy use of language that got Akin in trouble but the beliefs behind his words that have now sparked outrage in every corner of the globe. It is not only Akin’s embrace of pseudo-science that is troubling but the need, as Ensler writes, to have a woman’s experience ” qualified by some higher authority” – white, male, conservative Christian authority to be specific. This is not the first or only instance of insufferable conservative Christian males seeking to ” protect” women from themselves and it won’t be the last even if Akin himself is exiled to political oblivion because this attitude it rife within Republican ranks and will be as long as conservative Christianity controls the Republican platform.
Women don’t need men to validate their existence or their experiences; women don’t need men to make decisions for them about their own healthcare. They do need men to show at least a modicum of common sense and compassion in dealing with them, to recognize that women are a legitimate species even without male validation, and that wishful thinking won’t change facts. That is apparently too much to expect from a conservative male in 21st century America, and even Sarah Palin, whether she realizes it or not, deserves better than that.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.