Rep. Phil Gingrey: Todd Akin Was 'Partly Right' About 'Legitimate Rape'

The Georgia Republican, an OB-GYN, boldly steps into territory that brought down two Senate candidates in the 2012 elections.

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Rep. Phil Gingrey has waded dangerously into the "legitimate rape" debate that helped derail two Republican Senate candidates in 2012.

Gingrey, a Georgia Republican, defended Missouri Republican and former Rep. Todd Akin's controversial suggestion last year that women who endure a "legitimate rape" have biological mechanisms to " shut that whole thing down" and prevent pregnancy.

Gingrey, citing his work as an OB-GYN and helping deliver babies for decades, told the Marietta Daily Journal that Akin "was partially right" and that "the media took that and tore it apart."

Here's the relevant part of the interview, as printed in the Journal:

"And in Missouri, Todd Akin ... was asked by a local news source about rape and he said, 'Look, in a legitimate rape situation' -- and 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.' That's what he meant when he said legitimate rape versus non-legitimate 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."

"And 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? 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."

Presented by

Shane Goldmacher is a congressional correspondent for National Journal.

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