Recently Rep Todd Akin brought the abortion laws to the forefront of the Republican Party platform when he referenced the “Spastic tubes” theory when argued his case for changing the abortion laws for rape and incest victims. This theory is that of Dr. John Wilke which he explains in his book Abortion and Slavery. To emphasize my fear of this man and the Pr0-lifer’s that support him I am first going to give this man’s ‘credentials’. Dr. John C. Wilke is a medical practitioner who was a senior attending staff member at Providence and Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati Ohio where he worked for 40 years. Currently he is president of the Nationwide Educational Life Issues Institute, on the board of Reference Academy of Medical Ethics (AAME). For 10 years he was president of the United States National Right To Life Committee and The United States National Right To Life Federation which he founded in 1984.
He has his own radio show 5 Mins that is broadcast on 400 stations world-wide and his 1 min comment “Life Jewels” airs on over 1000 English and Spanish stations around the world.
Dr. Wilke and his wife Barbara are the authors of Abortion and Slavery, History Repeats and Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia Past and Present. In 1971 they published The Handbook on Abortion, Abortion Questions and Answers which has sold over 1,000,000 copies world-wide and translated into 21 languages. This was the first in a series spanning 25 years. In 1985 they published the 3rd book in this series Abortion: Questions and Answers, Why Can’t We Love Them Both? Dr. and Mrs. Wilke have also published 7 books on Sexual Health.
I have selected some excerpts from the Q and A in ‘Why Can’t We Love Them Both?” which contain the Doctor’s theory on why victims of rape and incest don’t get pregnant in the first place. The doctor argues that women can’t get pregnant when raped because their bodies will not allow the sperm to fertilize the egg if a woman was ‘legitimately raped, therefore there is no need legalize abortion for victims of rape and incest. He states his views as ‘scientific fact’ and mathematically concludes that women cannot get pregnant when raped or molested.
I have entered in my thoughts on each answer given in italics after each one. The questions and answers are copied word for word out of the book.
Dr. Wilke, “First and foremost this issue concerns forcible or assault rape, not consensual or marital rape”.
What exactly is consensual rape?
That is an oxymoron. And the law recognizes marital rape; only a male chauvinist would say that there isn’t rape in a marriage, only someone who believes that a woman is obligated to have sex with her husband.
Are assault rape pregnancies common?
No they are very rare.
-I don’t know where he gets this.
Are there accurate numbers?
The Justice Dept. from 1973 to 1987 surveyed 49,000 households annually, asking questions on violence and criminal acts. The results of those reported were: 1973-completed-rapes 95,934, 1987-completed rapes-82,505. The study stated that only 53% were reported to police. Accordingly the total numbers were: 1973-completed rapes-181,016. 1987-completed rapes-155,667. A more recent Justice Dept report using a study designed differently with more direct questions, returned a result of: 170,000 completed rapes and 140,000 attempted rapes.
-For starters let’s look at the years he uses for his statistics. Enough said.
And how many pregnancies result?
About 1 or 2 for each 1,000. Using the 170,000 figure, this translates into an overall total of 170 to 340 assault rape pregnancies a year in the entire United States.
One or two out of 1,000? Please explain.
There are about 100 million women in the United States old enough to be at risk for assault rape. Let’s use a figure of 200,000 forcible rapes every year. The studies available agree that there are no more than two pregnancies per 1,000 assault rapes. So much for the numbers. Let’s look at it from another angle and see if that figure makes sense. Of these 200,000 women who were raped, one-third are either too old or too young to get pregnant. That leaves 133,000 at risk of pregnancy. A woman is capable of being fertilized only three days out of her 30-day month. So divide 133,000 by 19 and 13,300 women remain. One-fourth of all women in the United States of child-bearing age have been sterilized. That drops the figure to 10,000. Only half of the assailants penetrate her body and/or deposit sperm. Cut it in half again. We are down to 5,ooo. Fifteen percent of non-surgically sterilized women are naturally sterile. That reduces the number to 3,600. Another 15% are on the p;ill or/are already pregnant. Now the figure is 3,070. Now factor in something that all adults know. It takes from five to ten months for an average couple to achieve a pregnancy. Using the smaller figure, to be conservative, divide the 3,000 figure by 5, and the number drops to about 600. In a healthy, peaceful marriage, the miscarriage rate ranges up to about 15%. In this case, we have incredible emotional trauma. Her body is upset. Even if she conceives, the miscarriage rate is higher than in a more normal pregnancy. If she loses 20% of 600, there are 450 left.
Finally, we must factor in one of the most important reasons why a rape victim rarely gets pregnant, and that is psychic trauma. Every woman is aware that stress and emotional factors can alter her menstrual cycle. To get pregnant and stay pregnant, a woman’s body must produce a very sophisticated mix of hormones. Hormone production is controlled by a part of the brain which is easily influenced by emotions. There’s no greater emotional trauma that can be experienced by a woman than an assault rape. This can radically upset her possibility of ovulation, fertilization, implantation and even nurturing of a pregnancy. So what further percentage reductions in pregnancy will this cause? No one really knows, but this factor certainly cuts the last figure by at least 50%, and probably more, leaving a final figure of 225 women pregnant each year, a number that closely matches the 200 found in clinical studies.
-I don’t even know how to respond to that. Here are some statistics I came up with
Rape-related pregnancy: estimates and descriptive characteristics from a national sample of women.
Holmes MM, Resnick HS, Kilpatrick DG, Best CL.
Source: Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston 29425-2233, USA.
OBJECTIVE: We attempted to determine the national rape-related pregnancy rate and provide descriptive characteristics of pregnancies that result from rape.
STUDY DESIGN: A national probability sample of 4008 adult American women took part in a 3-year longitudinal survey that assessed the prevalence and incidence of rape and related physical and mental health outcomes.
RESULTS: The national rape-related pregnancy rate is 5.0% per rape among victims of reproductive age (aged 12 to 45); among adult women an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year. Among 34 cases of rape-related pregnancy, the majority occurred among adolescents and resulted from assault by a known, often related perpetrator. Only 11.7% of these victims received immediate medical attention after the assault, and 47.1% received no medical attention related to the rape. A total 32.4% of these victims did not discover they were pregnant until they had already entered the second trimester; 32.2% opted to keep the infant whereas 50% underwent abortion and 5.9% placed the infant for adoption; an additional 11.8% had spontaneous abortion.
CONCLUSIONS: Rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency. It is a cause of many unwanted pregnancies and is closely linked with family and domestic violence. As we address the epidemic of unintended pregnancies in the United States, greater attention and effort should be aimed at preventing and identifying unwanted pregnancies that result from sexual victimization.
PMID: 8765248 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Why not allow abortion for rape pregnancies?
We must approach this with great compassion. The woman has been subjected to an ugly trauma, and she needs love, support and help. But she has been the victim of one violent act. Should we now ask her to be a party to a second violent act-that of abortion? Unquestionably, many would return the violence of killing an innocent baby for the violence of rape. But, before making this decision, remember that most of the trauma has already occurred. She has been raped. That trauma will live with her all her life. Furthermore, this girl did not report for help, but kept this to herself. For several weeks or months, she has thought of little else. Now, she has finally asked for help, she has shared her upset, and should be in a supportive situation. The utilitarian question from the mother’s stand-point is whether or not it would now be better to kill the developing baby within her. But will abortion now be best for her, or will it bring her more harm yet? What has happened and it’s damage has already occurred.
She’s old enough to know and have an opinion as to whether she carries a ‘baby’ or a ‘blob of protoplasm’. Will she be able to live comfortable with the memory that she ‘killed her developing baby?’ Or would she ultimately be more mature and pregnant unwillingly, she nevertheless solved her problem by being unselfish, by giving of herself and of her love to an innocent baby, who had not asked to be created, to deliver, perhaps to place for adoption, if she decides that is what is best for her baby. Compare this memory with the woman who can only look back and say, “I killed my baby”.
Considering the previous answers and his previous statements that a woman who is legitimately raped won’t get pregnant because her body won’t allow it how compassionate do you think he and his followers really are?
But carry the rapist’s child?
True, it is half his. But remember, half of the baby is also hers, and there are other outstretched arms that will adopt and love that baby.
I don’t see how she could!
Interestingly, the pregnant rape victim’s chief complaint is not that she is unwillingly pregnant, as bad as the experience is. The critical moment is fleeting in this area. It frequently pulls families together like never before. When women are impregnated through rape, their condition is treated in accordance, as are their families. We found this experience is forgotten, replaced by remembering the abortion, because it is what they did. In the majority of these cases, the pregnant victim’s problems stem more from the trauma of rape than the pregnancy itself. As to what factors make it most difficult to continue her pregnancy, the opinions, attitudes, and beliefs of others were most frequently cited; in other words, how her loved ones treated her.
-This is just bull. What an ass! If there is any truth to this at all it would be a result of how people like him treat rape victims.
But many laws would allow for this exception.
That is because many only think of the mother. But we should also think of the baby. Should we kill an innocent unborn baby for the crime of his father? Or let’s look at it this way. Do we punish other criminals by killing their children’? Besides, such laws pose major problems in reporting, and also women have been known to report falsely.
You accuse women of lying?
We don’t have to. Radical feminist guru Gloria Steinem, in a 1985 interview with USA Today said that “to make abortion legal only in cases of rape and incest would force women to lie.” The story of Jane Roe, of the Roe V. Wade decision, is well-known. Norma McCorvey (her real name) fabricated a story, that she had been gang raped at a circus, in the mistaken impression that this would permit her to obtain a legal abortion in Texas. Not until 1987 did she reveal that the baby was actually conceived “through what I thought was love.” Up until 1988, Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program funded abortions, for women who claimed they had been raped, without any requirement for reporting the purported assault to a law enforcement agency. Under this law, abortion clinic personnel issued thinly veiled public invitations for women to simply state that they’d been raped, and the state ended up funding an average of 36 abortions a month based on such unsubstantiated claims. In 1988 the legislature added a requirement for reporting the rape to a law enforcement agency, and the average dropped to less than 3 abortions per month.
-This man and his followers are obviously bias against ‘feminists’. He uses a quote from Gloria Steinem out of context. You have to look at the big picture, which I will paint after the following answer.
You said reporting was a problem?
The problem is requiring proof. If the woman goes directly to the hospital, her word is accepted. But, sadly, through fright or ignorance, she may not report it and quietly nurse her fears. She misses her period and hopes against hope that it isn’t what she thinks it is. Sometimes months ago by before finally, in tears, she reports to her mother, her physician, or some other counselor or confidante. To prove rape then is impossible. The only proof of rape then is to have a reliable witness corroborate the story, and such a witness almost never exists.
-It is unbelievable that this man assumes that every woman would do what he suggests. In tears she finally tells her mother. How could anyone accept any of this as factual information? Again, I don’t know where he gets this stuff, her word is accepted? Really? Hospital personnel cannot and do not make assessments on whether a woman is raped or not. They do a rape kit. That’s all. They can provide information on where to go for help and can offer them a way to call law enforcement. That’s it.
What proof would be needed early on?
Reporting the rape to a law enforcement agency is needed. Any hospital emergency room will handle this. If done within a day or two, she can be examined, given medicine for sexually transmitted diseases and counseled. Her word will rarely be questioned. But if it is many days later after a missed period, her word may not be enough.
-Let’s look at why rapes aren’t reported. It is not due to the reasons Dr. Wilke claims. First, her word is never enough. Rape has to be proven in court. As a rape victim I can personally attest to the treatment of rape victims by law enforcement and in court. Today it is not as bad, there has been significant improvement by the police in the attitude about rape but it is still not good. I, like most women, are subjected to their personal life being put on trial. Whether or not they are virgins, whether or not they are have had several sexual partners, even how they dress and the places the frequent. I don’t care if you are a prostitute in the middle of having sex, if at any point you say no or stop and the man does not it is rape. REGARDLESS.
What percentages of rape pregnancies are aborted?
Less than half. The balances carry the baby to term. In one study of 37 rape pregnancies, 28 carried to term.
What is her chief complaint?
Perhaps, surprisingly, it is not the fact that she is pregnant. Her chief complaint is “how other people treat her.” This should be very sobering to everyone. How is she treated? Do others understand the trauma she has experienced, and love and support her? Or, do they avoid her and act as if it was partly her fault, or worse? Just think, if all such victims were given generous love and support, many more than at present would carry their babies to term.
-I would like to know how many women feel that way, seriously. And again, he offers so much love and support.
What is she could not cope with raising the child?
We must let these women know that it is all right to feel that way. We truly understand. That does not mean, however, that the baby is unwanted. There are innumerable arms outstretched, asking for a child to love. Any number of couples will want the child. She should be supported and encouraged if she chooses to place the child in a loving adoptive home.
-Let me point out the practical here. Who is going to pay for the prenatal care?
What of incest?
Incest is intercourse by a father with his daughter, uncle with niece, etc. It usually involves a sick man, often a sick mother who frequently knows it’s happening (even if not consciously admitting it), and an exploited child. Fortunately, pregnancy is not very common. When incest does occur, however, it is seldom reported and, when reported, is hard to prove. Most pregnancies from incest have a very different dynamic than from rape and must be counseled in a very different manner.
Even strongly pro-abortion people, if they approach an incest case professionally, must be absolutely convinced before advising abortion, for abortion is not only an assault on the young mother, who may well, be pregnant with a “love object”, but it may completely fail to solve the original problem. It is also unusual for wisdom to dictate anything but adoptive placement of the baby.
When pregnancy does occur, it is often an attempt to end the relationship. In a twisted sort of way, however, the father is a love object. In one study, only 3 of 13 child-mothers had any negative feelings toward him.
In incest is pregnancy common?
No. “Considering the prevalence of teenage pregnancies in general, incest treatment programs marvel at the low incidence of pregnancy from incest. “Several reports agree at 1% or less.
How does the incest victim feel about being pregnant?
For her, it is a way to stop the incest; a way to unite mother and daughter, a way to get out of the house. Most incestuous pregnancies, if not pressured, will not get abortions. “As socially inappropriate as incest and incestuous pregnancies are, their harmful effects depend largely upon reaction of others.
-This is hard to even give a response to. There is usually a sick man involved? Really? And the presumption that there is usually a sick woman, ie the mother, who doesn’t do anything is just more evidence of his attitude towards women in general. To suggest that the victim gets pregnant as a way of stopping the incest or to reunite her with her sick mother…wow. To say that 3 out of 13 victims had negative feelings toward him? Again where does he get this stuff? Victims of incest, especially daughters raped by their fathers are confused by the entire issue. I blame Christianity and those in society who have for hundreds of years said that one should honor they father, obey thy father etc. And these victims not understanding what is happening to them because the father usually convinces them that is how fathers love their daughters, or they say it is because they are bad or they threaten harm to someone the victim loves if she tells.
-And incest can be between brother and sister and cousins, and ‘socially inappropriate’? How about unacceptable and illegal.
-This man and his large following are dangerous. When I don’t understand where they get their ideas from, and how anyone could possibly believe any of this, all I have to do is remember that they are Christians, that believe Adam and Eve and Cain populated the earth.