Mary Elizabeth Williams' Guide to "Legitimate Rape"

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The latest major political misstep goes to Todd Akin, Republican Representative from Missouri, who in an interview on Sunday said, "if it's legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." People quickly came out against Akin for his comments, questioning exactly what he meant by "legitimate rape."

That's the premise of a piece Mary Elizabeth Williams just wrote for Salon. What exactly constitutes rape under current laws?


Mary Elizabeth Williams

Produced by:

Joe Hernandez

Comments [7]

Joe from New Jersey

"Legitimate Rape" Pharmaceutical Ad
Biting satire. Take a look at your own risk to your sensitivities.

Aug. 29 2012 07:58 PM
David Waldman from Staten Island, NY

Come on folks. You're NPR! A little depth to your program would be greatly appreciated. Case in point: In your comments about the Akin affair you "pointed out" the diavowal by the GOP of Akin's comments. What about the record of the GOP, in general, and Romney and Ryan specifically - on the issue of abortion and rape? Ryan coauthored with Akin the bill that - in its original form - outlawed ALL abortions. It was only modified under pressure. Romney also is on record with statements supporting a complete ban on abortions. Let's have some subtlety - a little more than we get from standard news programs.

Aug. 21 2012 09:50 AM

Ed from Larchmont is right, and he's being awfully polite to Mary Ellizabeth Williams, who was practically sneeering as she accused Republicans of "making up" the term "forcible rape."

Is there anything as obnoxious, as a preening liberal who thinks she knows better when she doesn't?

Here's the deal, Mary Elizabeth; take this back to your pals at Salon. "Forcible rape" is a legal term. It is also a separate category of rape crimes as defined by the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting statistical database, and it is a term that is regularly used by the U.S. Justice Department.

Aug. 21 2012 09:40 AM

I am completely not religious. (I wish I were - things would be simpler then.) I believe a woman is the only one who may make decisions about her body

Nevertheless, I understand the stance against abortion by many religions. I might even respect it if it did not condone dastardly actions against doctors and clinics and if the so-called pro-lifers went on caring for children after they are born.

I have always thought that by agreeing to abortions for rape and incest victims the religious argument on the issue is nullified. Anyone who advocates this is a phony.

And now, with the sub-division of the rape definition the entire "pro-life" argument becomes ridiculous. These phony pious folk make me sick. And an Ayn Rand pro-life follower is an aberration.

Aug. 21 2012 09:19 AM
Ed from Larchmont

The term 'forcible' was used by law makers to distinguish it from Statutory rape, not to distinguish between alleged types of rape where sexual intercourse had actually taken place.

Aug. 21 2012 06:55 AM

This reminds me of old myth that a woman could not get pregnant if she did not experience orgasm. Therefore if she became pregnant after can figure it out.

Yes , women's issues will outweigh all else. If Mr. Akin is that far out of touch with women's reality, how can he be trusted on any other subject.

Aug. 21 2012 06:36 AM
Bruce Simpson from Delta, PA

Yes indeed. Let's bring back the good old days of the Grand Ole Party, when women were legally forced to give birth as if they were cattle.

Aug. 21 2012 06:04 AM

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