It was a terribly bad quote by Missouri State Representative Todd Akin, referring to the instances of pregnancy from forcible rape (as opposed to statuatory rape, by the way) and how the woman's body "shuts down" in the case of rape.
For the record, this is biologically unsound...of course pregnancy can result under the right circumstances (the rapist emits his...errr...genetic material...inside the woman and the woman is ovulating at the time). The idea that anything but this would be true makes no sense.
However, I would like to state for the record what I believe is the root of this argument from with Mr. Akin. (Yes I believe he does genuinely think that "a woman's body shuts down" as incredulous as it sounds.) I believe Mr. Akin is the type of person who only talks to people who share his beliefs. (Before you liberals get started, there are PLENTY of liberals who do this, which is why so many believe such ridiculous statements as "Republicans are declaring war on women!" (by defending the right of unborn children to live).
I believe the idea that a woman's body "shuts down" came from one such circle, this time of well meaning conservatives who are staunchly opposed to abortion, so much so that they believe even in cases of rape, abortion is wrong.
For the record, I agree with the following concept: The unborn baby has DONE NOTHING WRONG. It is still a human being and has the right to life. To do otherwise is to punish the child for the sins of the unfortunate father. It is simply saying, in short "We believe that any unborn child who has been conceived, under whatever circumstances, is a human being. Human beings have, above all other rights, the Right to Life. Ergo, it is not acceptable to destroy a human life, despite the circumstances of how it was created."
When you look at it by THAT measure, all of a sudden the "horrible, terrible" position of not wanting a rape exception to abortion isn't so horrible and terrible, now is it? It's just a lesser of two evils position that holds as it's highest ideal protection of human life. (Now I am even okay with having some sort of public service to help a woman who is impregnated under such circumstances with the costs involved, along with preferential adoption for the child.)
For those of you who don't think I get what this means to a woman, it turns out I do. I'm going to be a little bit graphic here, so if you're easily offended you may want to stop reading and come back tomorrow.
I know a woman who, it is speculated, may have been conceived from her believed grandfather having incestually raped her mother as a teenager. This woman (the child, not the mother) is one of the most wonderful, loving women on God's green Earth. She is, in fact, my own personal Rock of Gibralter and a wonderful mentor to me and many many other people. She is my grandmother. The incestually raped teenager was my great-grandmother, and the man in question was my great-great grandfather.
All of this is speculation, of course, especially because my great-grandmother (the teenager from the story above) passed away when I was a baby. This theory is the product of my mother, a licensed clinical social worker with a Master's Degree in Social Work from Syracuse University. Mom has spent more than thirty years in family social work, including fifteen years of working with children in foster care. So she has a solid basis of expertise for her theory.
The bottom line of this true illustration is this: Irregardless of how my grandmother was conceived (whether our theory was correct or if we're entirely wrong and my great-grandmother was simply impregnated out of wedlock by some high school boyfriend), my unborn grandmother was and is a human being. She had the right to live.
Today, my grandmother is less than a month shy of her 80th birthday. She married a wonderful man, my grandfather, and had three children (including my mother). She also has today eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren (so far). Three of those grandchildren and one great grandchild are through marriage, but even so, a total of NINE living, breathing people between the ages of 8 years old and 56 years old would not exist (including me) if it was for a "rape exception" to abortion laws, had my great grandmother made that "choice." Even setting aside the NINE PEOPLE who have, to-date, sprung from Gram's branch of the family tree, had that "choice" been made, one of the single most wonderful people I have ever known would not have been born.
Thankfully, back in 1932 when Gram was born, abortion WASN'T legal in Maryland, where she was born (or any other state, I think). Thank God Gram WAS born, married my grandfather, lovingly conceived and raised my mother along with my aunt and uncle; all three each got married and in agregate conceived five children, including me, and one of those grandchildren, my cousin, now has an eight year old son of his own.
Now, what I have just done is given a GOOD explanation for the conservative position that says abortion is wrong, even in cases of rape and incest. I want this to be contrasted with what Todd Akin said. Both my story and Representative Akin's had the same goal: to protect unborn children, irregardless of if they were conceived under highly unfortunate circumstances. My story explains the realities of the the abortion discussion; specifically that it's not JUST about the woman (although please don't understand me, the rape victim deserves to be considered)...it's also about the child!
Representative Akin's story, on the other hand, comes with both a bad, unsubstantiated argument AND a poor explanation of the real crux of the matter. And THAT is the problem with what Mr. Akin said. His position is more than defensible, it is admirable. He wants to protect human life. There's nothing wrong with that. Lots of conservatives think that way. However, it's time conservatives learn how to articulate our perfectly reasonable point. It's either that or continue allow liberals to present complete straw man arguments. It's our choice.