It appears some of our duly elected representatives skipped a biology class or two somewhere along the way. Missouri Congressman and senate candidate Todd Akin believes it’s unlikely a woman who has been “legitimately raped” can become pregnant (implying a woman who does get pregnant has not been legitimately raped, whatever that means). Representative Steve King says he’s never heard of a girl getting pregnant from statutory rape or incest.
Apparently there is a long and storied history of people believing a bunch of bologna about how the female body works, so I’m offering a public service to those who may need a refresher course in middle school biology. Here you go…
How a Girl Gets Pregnant: (The true facts. Some may find them icky)
To get pregnant, you need healthy cervical mucus, which is copious a few days before and during ovulation, and does not dry up when sudden stress occurs. That would include the stress of an unwanted, brutal invasion like a rape, whether legitimate or not. The presence of fertile cervical mucus is not dependant on arousal, as the presence of some other vaginal fluids may be. This cervical mucus, which is often referred to as EWCM, is either present or it isn’t.
Pregnancy is also reliant on ovulation, a process which does not halt when one has been violently assaulted, despite the confluence of hormonal interactions responsible for popping an egg from an ovary. Some women do not ovulate every month due to health-related mitigating factors, but brutal assault is not one of the factors that inhibits ovulation.
A woman may become pregnant if a man — whether a rapist or a loving partner — ejaculates sperm into her vagina during her fertile time period. That sperm travels through the cervix, into the uterus, then into the fallopian tubes. There, the sperm may meet an ovulated egg, and individual sperm will try to fertilize it. This fertilizing ejaculation can occur up to five days before ovulation occurs, through to the day of ovulation, and – less common – the day after ovulation. Ovulation is a biological event that occurs whether a woman has had sex, made love, been raped, or is celibate (unless she has other health concerns that impede the process).
Ovulation is biology.
Long-term stress may occasionally delay ovulation. A single, violent incident will not. If you have sexual intercourse with anyone, for any reason, during your fertile window, you may become pregnant. Period.
Biology doesn’t respond to hopes or wishes, as many an infertile couple will tell you. A pregnant woman whose child is the product of rape will confirm biology is also deaf to begging, bargaining, and praying. Biology doesn’t pay attention to politics, either. Biology is biology.
Professor Petrie has left the building.