Source of Rape Pregnancy Claim? Romney Endorser

In all the talk about Todd Akin’s idiotic claim that the female body has some mechanism to prevent pregnancy when they’re raped, the most influential source of that claim has been identified as Dr. Jack Willke, perhaps the most important anti-choice figure you’ve likely never heard of. Bryan Fischer, in defended Akin’s statement, linked to this article by Willke from 1999.

Every woman is aware that stress and emotional factors can alter her menstrual cycle. To get 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 that 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 who is Willke? For one thing, he was one of Mitt Romney’s key endorsers and surrogates during the 2008 presidential campaign. Romney used that endorsement to endear himself to the anti-choice religious right voters who did not trust him on the matter of abortion because he had long declared himself to be pro-choice. During that campaign, Romney said of Willke, “I am proud to have the support of a man who has meant so much to the pro-life movement in our country.” And yet now, he is appalled — at least publicly — at Akin’s comments and wants him to step down. And then he wonders why people think he’s a political weathervane.

35 comments on this post.
  1. dobby:

    Are they claiming that the woman was affected before she was raped?

  2. Michael Heath:

    I think it’s safe to assume Mr. Romney had no idea Mr. Willke held such a repugnant position back in 2008, where Romney shares abortion rights supporters’ this is a contemptible argument. I think it’s safe to assume Mr. Romney hadn’t even thought about the ramifications regarding the passage of a personhood bill when it comes how this will increase human suffering.

    This repeatedly demonstrated mundane ignorance by Mitt Romney is his biggest moral failing, and it goes virtually ignored. That he takes positions which advance his political ambitions, positions which are known to cause increased human suffering, yet he doesn’t even bother to take the time, or the time of his staff, to check-out the ramifications of taking positions popular with the conservative base. This failure in character is worse than his flip-flopping, and yet it goes ignored. It reminds me of President Bush authorizing torture prior to even considering its implications, which led to the number one reason al Qadea was able to recruit terrorists to enter and engage with U.S. troops in Iraq while also failing to provide any actionable intelligence, or worse yet – delayed and even missed intelligence opportunities.

    We see Paul Ryan demonstrating the exact behavior as Messers Bush and Romney, most ironically when it comes to his leadership on the personhood bill and other legislation which would ban in-vitro fertilization. Ironic since three of his sons and their wives have used IVF which has lead to, IIRC, at least four of Romney’s grandchildren. In this case Ryan’s behavior is even worse than Romney’s given he was a sponsor to some of these legislative efforts.

  3. holytape:

    The article has more fuzzy math than the drake equation.

    They state that a 1/3 of rape victims are too old or too young to get pregnant, without citing a source.

    They assume that already pregnant women are just as like to get raped as not pregnant women.

    They assume that there is a random age distribution to rapist.

    They divide their estimate by five for apparently no reason.

    They claim that the average miscarriage rate is 15%, but the bump it up to 20% of rape without proof. And then later they claim the miscarriage rate is actually 50%, and multiple it again. So they account for miscarriages twice and each time the state that there is more miscarriages than they give evidence for.

    The only thing that article gives evidence for is that Doctors should be required to pass a statistics class.

  4. dingojack:

    Michael Heath – ” think it’s safe to assume Mr. Romney had no idea Mr. Willke held such a repugnant position back in 2008…”

    On what basis do you hold that belief? What evidence to you have to back up that assumption?

    Curiously,
    Dingo

  5. d cwilson:

    I think it’s safe to assume Mr. Romney had no idea Mr. Willke held such a repugnant position back in 2008, where Romney shares abortion rights supporters’ this is a contemptible argument.

    Or he knew and just didn’t care because the guy’s endorsement carries clout in the anti-choice movement.

    That’s the problem when trying to parse Mr. Etch-A-Sketch’s innermost thoughts. Since he believes in essentially nothing, whenever he accepts the endorsement from someone who expresses a contemptible opinion, it’s impossible to tell whether he’s coming from ignorance or just opportunism.

  6. d cwilson:

    Wilke’s argument in a nutshell:

    1. Pregnancy can be affected by hormone changes.
    2. Hormone changes can be affected by the emotional part of the brain.
    3. Women experience traumatic emotions during rape.
    4. Therefore, women can’t get pregnant during rape.
    5. I base this on absolutely no scientific data or studies, just my gut feeling.

  7. augustpamplona:

    http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/08/22/so-where-did-akin-get-that-legitimate-rape-idea/

  8. KG:

    I think it’s safe to assume Mr. Romney had no idea Mr. Willke held such a repugnant position back in 2008, where Romney shares abortion rights supporters’ this is a contemptible argument. – Michael Heath

    That sentence doesn’t make sense, nor can it be parsed grammatically. Would you care to restate what you meant to say?

  9. John Pieret:

    And then he wonders why people think he’s a political weathervane.

    Weathervanes generally have the equivalent of a backbone.

  10. harold:

    Michael Heath –

    This repeatedly demonstrated mundane ignorance by Mitt Romney is his biggest moral failing, and it goes virtually ignored. That he takes positions which advance his political ambitions, positions which are known to cause increased human suffering, yet he doesn’t even bother to take the time, or the time of his staff, to check-out the ramifications of taking positions popular with the conservative base. This failure in character is worse than his flip-flopping, and yet it goes ignored.

    The entire Republican party platform takes positions which would massively increase human suffering.

    Every Republican politician advances ideas that a trivial analysis shows would increase malnutrition and disease in children and the elderly, drive transiently unemployed people to homeless destitution, destroy the lives of people convicted of minor offenses, continue the creation of a class of virtually above-the-law sociopaths with inherited wealth, slaughter people in nations that have not committed any act of aggression against the United States, accelerate the destruction of the common environment, destroy public education, etc, every day.

    They all either “don’t care and will do or say anything for power” or “actively want those things”, depending on the individual.

    There is no way to tell these two categories apart, and the distinction is meaningless anyway.

  11. Pieter B, FCD:

    I don’t think he’s a weathervane, but there’s another word that begins with “w” that fits. Five letters, ends in “e”

  12. thalwen:

    The “pro-life” position, Wilke’s crap was true, would be to prosecute rape victims for murder if they have a miscarriage after the rape because them being stressed over something they obviously wanted resulted in harm to the holy foetus. Also, holy crap, this guy is a doctor? What the hell were they teaching him?

    I honestly don’t think Romney thinks about issues besides him getting richer much. The rest of his positions are determined on the basis of what will get him elected or make him more money

  13. dingojack:

    CrosswordDictionary.com suggests:
    WACKE
    WAITE
    WAIVE
    WASTE
    WAYNE
    WEAVE
    WEDGE
    WHALE
    WHERE
    WHILE

    Dingo

  14. slc1:

    Re Dingojack @ #13

    Try whore.

  15. Raging Bee:

    This whole controversy should serve as a reminder that willful ignorance of women’s health issues, and outright contempt for women, are still alive and well in the medical profession, and probably haven’t changed that much since Hubert Humphrey’s doctor made that idiotic remark about “raging hormonal imbalances.” Seriously, what is it about these doctors? Do they still subscribe to Freud’s rubbish about women being “broken?” Or is it a continuation of the childhood attitude of “boys are stronger than girls, therefore girls are sick or defective?”

  16. Raging Bee:

    …This can radically upset her possibility of ovulation, fertilization, implantation and even nurturing of a pregnancy. So what further percentage reduction in pregnancy will this cause? No one knows, but this factor certainly cuts this last figure by at least 50 percent and probably more.

    In other words, “No one really knows, so I’ll just pull an answer out of my ass and no one will be able to disprove it.”

    This “doctor” isn’t just ignorant about statistics; he’s lying when he pretends he knows what he’s talking about.

  17. opyros:

    @dingojack: I’m just thankful you didn’t perform a wildcard search on OneLook.com and post the results here!

  18. Reginald Selkirk:

    FactCheck on abortion

    The Obama campaign is falsely accusing the Republican Party’s platform of calling for banning abortions even in cases of rape or incest. That’s not true. The 2012 platform is silent on exceptions — leaving that decision up to Congress and the states — just as it was in 2008 and in previous presidential election years.

    Wow, the GOP’s own platform web page doesn’t mention any exceptions, so it’s wrong to assume they don’t support exceptions?

  19. tomh:

    Michael Heath wrote:

    I think it’s safe to assume Mr. Romney had no idea Mr. Willke held such a repugnant position back in 2008

    Oh, I doubt that. Dr John Willke, now 87, is no unknown figure – he’s the father of the anti-abortion movement in the US. In 1971 he published what has become the bible of the movement, Handbook on Abortion, which has sold 1.5 million copies. He has long advocated this no pregnancy from rape theory, and still proclaims it today. He’s often invited by state legislators to testify as an expert on abortion issues, most recently last spring in Ohio, to testify and promote what would be the strictest anti-abortion law in the country. Just to assume that Romney wouldn’t know the views of such a widely known public figure is a mighty big assumption.

  20. Tâlib Alttaawiil (طالب التاويل):

    how long before someone claims that True Christians don’t get pregnant from rape?

  21. Michael Heath:

    tomh,

    My assumption was expressed with my knowing Mr. Willke’s status in the anti-abortion rights movement. I remain comfortable with that assumption knowing how casual Mitt Romney is when it comes to accepting populist conservative positions. Mr. Romney didn’t research his way to those positions in terms of the arguments of the positions – meritorious or not; but instead he researched his way to those positions relative to what he thinks is required from a successful Republican campaign.

  22. WMDKitty (Always growing and learning):

    Calling him a “whore” is insulting to women.

    I’d go with “waste”.

  23. markr1957 Inc.:

    @ #2 Michael Heath – all the words you used after ” Mr. Romney had no idea” are surplus to requirements.

  24. edmundog:

    @ #22 – I’d go with Wayne, just for the heck of it.

  25. sharonb:

    Harold (@10) – very well said, except you left out what they would do to roll back women’s reproductive health and freedom, their desire to return GLBT persons to the closet or gaol, their punitive solution to immigrations, and their war on religious pluralism.

    Truly a plan for a Dystopian future!

  26. sharonb:

    Oh, And I forgot about Republican led voter supression efforts directed at non-whites.
    That is another one to lay at their feet.

  27. democommie:

    Mittunswillards a lying, opportunistic shitweaselfuckbag; this does not rule out his also being a moron.

    The characterization of Romoroni (The Salt Lake City Treat!) as a weathervane is an egregious insult to weathervanes and weathercocks the world over. He’s more like a windsock, a giant, empty bag; outstretched to gather the political winds, yet, flaccid and empty without them, a used scumbag without the demagougic inflation.

  28. Michael Heath:

    democommie writes:

    Mittunswillards a lying, opportunistic shitweaselfuckbag; this does not rule out his also being a moron.

    The evidence is overwhelming for the former. For the latter, well . . ., you certainly have a very high standard when it comes to who isn’t a moron if Mitt Romney is. From my perspective he’s a very bright guy who has been so fortunate in life, he’s never developed much emotional intelligence when it comes to the consideration of others. So on that aspect he’s stunted, but I observe a very bright though uninformed guy.

    democommie writes:

    The characterization of Romoroni (The Salt Lake City Treat!) as a weathervane is an egregious insult to weathervanes and weathercocks the world over. He’s more like a windsock, a giant, empty bag; outstretched to gather the political winds, yet, flaccid and empty without them, a used scumbag without the demagougic inflation.

    You are describing one aspect of Mitt Romney, but another also exists. I agree this is accurate relative to his inability make a case for his policy prescriptions. However, like George W. Bush, Mr. Romney is ‘sneaky long’ when it comes to his managing his political ambitions. However I think he’s such a poor candidate his excellence in this area is not enough to beat Barack Obama; which is probably why we see Republicans fighting even harder to minimize the number of voters this Nov.

    As most regular readers know, I’m an advocate for more business people charting a career path that puts some of the successful ones with the right set of aptitudes on the course of being political leaders. Mitt Romney provides an illustrative rebuttal on why that might not be such a hot idea. My response to such a rebuttal is that he represents one of three aspects of the business world where I’m interested in another set’s population. Those three sets being:

    1) Old school business, which in the business world is an approach is quickly dying or has died in most sectors, including the auto industry. Though not some sectors, like fossil fuel and agriculture. Unfortunately this is where many of the business leaders turned politicians have come from, e.g., George W. Bush, where they practice an approach I don’t recognize given I come out of the tech sector, in spite of the fact that end also serviced the auto industry.

    2) The financial services industry, which is where I’d put Mr. Romney . It’s really stunning read the practices he did at Bain Capital. His business narrative reads like it came from a anti-business liberal creating a strawman of a business man, even a Wall Street alum – except in Mr. Romney’s case it’s true. I do think this aspect could prepare the very best candidates, but this also presents a context that could lead to getting some very successful yet shitty candidates, where Mr. Romney is our new exemplar where he takes over the mantle from Donald Trump. However I’d love to see a guy like Bill Gross prepare himself for politics along the way.

    3) Those business sectors which have embraced continuous improvement methodologies and empowered employees, where I’m thinking mostly of larger corporations – especially those with a global footprint. Ex-VA Governor and current Senator Mark Warner, along with MI’s governor Rick Snyder are two good examples. Carly Fiorina is an example of someone who failed in business and decided to take up politics. Meg Whitman is an example that just because you did well in business doesn’t mean you’ve sufficiently developed the knowledge and skills to transfer to politics and demonstrate you’re capable of governing.

  29. paulburnett:

    sharonb wrote (#25) “Truly a plan for a Dystopian future!”

    The Rethuglican “Plan For America” is based on making “The Hunger Games” come true.

  30. democommie:

    Michael Heath:

    I agree with the bulk of your assessment. I know Rmoroni is not a moron, he just acts like one a lot of the time.

    On the subject of business leaders in political office; most folks that are really good at business do business. People that are mediocre at business, but good at convincing people otherwise often turn to politics as they only have to make people happy during election cycles–that is easily done if you tell them the lies that they WANT to hear.

    At present the halls of Congress and a lot of state leges are infested with those who are not great businessman and SUCK as humans.

    I don’t know if you read this:

    http://www.unionleader.com/article/20120824/NEWS06/708249958/-1/news

    but if you did, here’s the candidates resume for the job.

    http://www.szaboforsheriff.com/clientuploads/Frank-Szabo-Resume.pdf

    As I said over at SouthernBeales blog, his “qualifications” would seem to be limited to driving a police cruiser. He certainly should NOT have a gun.

  31. Steve Morrison:

    The Cincinnati Enquirer ran an article on Willke this morning. I, unfortunately, had heard of the gentleman before this; I’m not only from Cincinnati, I actually grew up in Finneytown (a small northwestern suburb).

  32. Pierce R. Butler:

    One of the best things that Peter Jennings ever did with ABC News was, while hosting Willke as part of a large panel discussion on abortion rights, to run a tape showing an aide telling Willke how many people were attending an anti-choice rally, then Willke bounding up on stage moments later to announce a grossly inflated number.

    Later on that same panel, Willke actually had the nerve to rattle off some (dubious) statistic, and then say, “But you can believe me on this!”

    After a discreet interval, Willke was quietly replaced as head of the “National Right to Life Committee”. Betcha they wouldn’t bother to do that nowadays.

  33. Crudely Wrott:

    Idiocy, denial, gullibility and deep, abiding faith.

    None of these things is not like the others.

  34. Ichthyic:

    I think it’s safe to assume Mr. Romney hadn’t even thought about the ramifications

    that does rather sum up mittens.

    and W

    and Nixon

    and Clinton…

    hmm.

  35. Ichthyic:

    On the subject of business leaders in political office; most folks that are really good at business do business.

    it’s a very common, and dangerously false, notion in the US that those good at business, or just even making money, MUST be doing “good things” and would be good for managing the city/state/country.

    I’ve met lots of very rich real estate agents when I lived in Palm Springs.

    90% couldn’t manage their way out of a paper bag.

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