Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What Todd Akin really meant!

Estimating liberally to include not only "legitimate" rapes but also unsuccessful perceived attempts compiled by advocacy groups with the stated purpose of stamping out sexual assault, 1 in 6 women will be victimized at some point during their lives. Not all of these will occur during the period of a woman's life when she's fertile, but with the aim of overshooting if anything, for the sake of argument assume they do.

There are a few days every four weeks when a healthy woman aged ~14-45 is capable of becoming impregnated. About 75% of these fertilizations something will go awry--sperm will lose its way, the egg will shut sperm out, or the body will reject the fertilized egg before or after implantation, etc. One-quarter of the time, a baby will be on the way.

From the CDC, about 4 in 5 sexually active women (according to the GSS, about 1 in 10 women in this age range are not sexually active at any time during the year) of reproductive age use pill-based contraception. Again for sake of argument, disregard other less widely used methods like depo-provera and the today sponge.

So, starting from the top: 1/6 = .1667, 3/28 = .1071. Multiply these to get .0179, and then multiply this by .25 (the successful one-fourth of fertilizations). We get .0045. Finally, multiply this by .28 (the one-fifth of women not using the pill from the 90% of at least marginally sexually active women plus the one-tenth who, not being sexually active, are presumably not on birth control, ignoring that it has other non-procreative uses) to get .0013, or 0.13% of women--1 in 750, with liberal estimation parameters--for whom the question of "legitimate" rape will be a pregnancy-inducing concern.

Getting that out there is worth forfeiting the opportunity to retake the Senate, isn't it?

GSS variables used: AGE(18-45), YEAR(2000-2010), SEX(2), SEXFREQ


Anonymous said...

Good work. Are there numbers on the percentage of rapes that lead to viable pregnancy?

Jehu said...

The fraction of abortions that are due to rape or incest is really small---as in sub 3% by a fair margin. That's likely what Akin was getting at.
The probability of getting pregnant due to a stranger rape is very small, especially if you consider the emergency contraception that is typically part of a rape kit.

Anonymous said...

The problem with allowing rape exceptions is that it is too hard to administer. First, how many rapes that are reported within 48 hours also result in pregnancy and subsequent abortions? This number may actually be discoverable, at least statistically. Now, how many women who ask for abortions and cite rape as a reason also reported the rape within 48 hours? This is a consideration in evaluating unreported rapes if nothing else.
Okay, a third and really unexplored angle is this, what about a woman who is in a sexual relationship, who is then raped by someone else? This would describe most women right? I mean most women are sexually active either in a marriage or not. So, how could they be sure that the conception was the result of the rape and not their other recent sexual activity? Well, that is a problem in more than zero cases.
Now with all these confounding elements being very common, it makes a rape exceptions pretty pointless in general.

Rather than answer stupid questions about exceptions for rape, savvy politicians will seize the opportunity to bring up the intransigence of their opponents on late term abortions on healthy babies with healthy mothers. They need to just skip over the stupid question and answer the question they wish they had been asked by addressing the unpopularity of late term abortion of healthy babies. You never see democrats actually answer questions they don't like or aren't perfectly framed to facilitate agreement with their position. They just boldly change the subject and rattle on about whatever they want.

Free air time is free air time. Who the hell cares what you were asked? Say what you want to say, you stupid wimp!

Jokah Macpherson said...

Heartiste linked to a study here but I don't know how reliable it is. Sadly, no one in the mainstream media, at least no one that I saw, bothered to cite any statistics on the incidence of pregnancy from rape, so I had to get that from a blog on how to pick up girls. For most of the news stories, it was just point and sputter.

No one has pointed out either, that scientific misunderstandings aside, this is the coherent "pro-life" position. I think that a lot of people are not actually pro-life but more pro-"responsibility not to fuck around indiscriminately" and do not realize it themselves.

And it may be stating the obvious, but at <1% of cited reasons for abortions, this is nearly irrelevant to the larger abortion debate, which largely hinges on the group I describe in the paragraph above.

Anyways, thanks for doing this analysis.

[Joke: A lot of feminists heard the comment about 'legitimate rape' and thought, "So that's why it's so hard for married people to get pregnant."]

Noah172 said...


You live in Missouri, right? What's your take on this kerfluffle -- do ordinary Missouri voters care, and hate Akin now, or is this all just inside-the-Beltway hyperventilating? Given the state's recent drift rightward, do you think that he can hang in?

My perception is that this is all garbage, like that manufactured drama over Trent Lott at Strom Thurmond's birthday party. It's a shame that it would sideline an otherwise better-than-average non-neocon Republican.

Aeoli Pera said...

I'm not pro-choice by any stretch, but this upper bound is less convincing than you seem to think. 1 in 750 women in America is still approximately 200,000 women.

Imagine if a lefty got their hands on that number: "Conservative blogger admits that 200,000 women...etc."

Aeoli Pera said...

A more constructive thought: the initial assumptions (like 1 in 6 women, for instance) are probably far weaker than they look. This is feminism we're talking about.

Plus, we know anecdotally that people rarely get raped by strangers. So we may as well stop talking about rape and incest separately, as they're almost the same thing.

August said...

This stuff is driving me nuts.
What I think I know in terms of biology makes me think the guy is right and he just flubbed the line with the term 'legitimate rape'- a term most of us who lived through the 90s who in our heads because of the feminists happily expanding the concept. He meant consent. Approach the subject from the fertility side of things and then come back around, and the likelihood of rape resulting in pregnancy seems really low, probably lower than the percentage you threw out, and definitely lower than 32,000, unless they are ascribing the bulk of that to statutory rapes. And then we know both the CDC and feminists are happy to pad the numbers on rape...
Is there actual biology that contradicts Akin? So far I've seen a few references to long discredited agenda driven tripe, but the bulk of the commentary is just assertions that seem to me to have no basis in reality.

Anonymous said...

Audacious Epigone,

I often hear libtards go on about how white women are the biggest beneficiaries of affirmative action. Is there any truth to this and what statistical data is this based on, if any?

Anonymous said...

There was an empirical study conducted in 2006 indicating that white women benefit far less from affirmative action than blacks or Hispanics. This business about white women benefitting is nothing more but mindless liberal propaganda spouted by negroes and their stool pigeons.

Anonymous said...

I think "legitimate rape" means "forcible rape". As opposed to, for instance, statutory rape. Or even a lot of "date rape" where the woman willingly sleeps with the guy and only decides in retrospect that she's been "raped".

Anonymous said...

There was an empirical study conducted in 2006 indicating that white women benefit far less from affirmative action than blacks or Hispanics. This business about white women benefitting is nothing more but mindless liberal propaganda spouted by negroes and their stool pigeons.

I'm delighted to hear it. That being the case, white women won't object to ending "affirmative action" for them, will they?

Audacious Epigone said...


Not that I'm aware of.


Yes, probably. The delivery was awful, though--as pointed out above, Akin apparently used "legitimate" went he meant "forcible". Not only is that loaded with insinuation, it also makes it sound like he doesn't think statutory rape should be a legally legitimate concept, which plays into the patriarchal man with the barefoot wife in the kitchen conception.


From the perspective of someone opposed to abortion in all cases, the rape exception probably seems to be on the same "slippery slope" as the "health of the mother" exception does.


I don't understand why pro-lifers deviate focus from the fetus/unborn child, most especially in the context of rape. Emphasizing the woman in any capacity is mostly going to backfire, isn't it?


Kansas City on the Kansas side, but I'm in Missouri several times a week.

For what my anecdotes are worth, it really did get a lot of 20-something women in a huff. My 21 yo girlfriend actually called me when she heard about it, and she doesn't follow politics or live in MO, either. But I'm not sure how many of these types of people will actually carry it forward a couple of months if/when they vote. My bet is McCaskill will be reelected because of it. He was running ahead and now he's ~10 points down, plus no money.

Dahlia said...

If he hangs in there for a few more days, I think everyone will come around and the money will flow. His fundamental problem is that he's put himself in a bubble with people who have the same views he does and they sustain each others' beliefs with the same rationals, understood premises and language, etc. I bet he was startled at the reaction and had to be told what was wrong. Akin probably knows no misogynists/rape denialists nor women who have dealt with those men.

A kindly old man, father of six, who just wants to save babies... This is the republic's greatest menace? This is who all the "conservatives" at Hotair and Conservative Inc. keep treating like human waste, calling him names like "idiot" rather than stand by and support him? THEY'RE TERRIFIED OF THE FEMINISTS WHO HAVE BILL CLINTON WITH HIS RESPECTABILITY AND VISIBILITY?!

I'm not one to indulge much the alpha/beta classification, but if any group every needed to be called betas, it is Conservative Inc.

I've been on the fence about whether to do some volunteer work for the campaign which I hadn't done since GWB and between this and the shut out of Ron Paul, I've made up my mind not to. I expect Romney will win, but, no.

Musc said...

There is a money bomb at Akin's website and he is very close to meeting the goal.

Much ado about nothing against a Godly man, whether you agree with all his views or not.

Anthony said...

Clayton Cramer posted about Akin, and posted links to several studies on the subject, here: