We’ve been waiting for this. Last night at the Center for Reproductive Rights’ Inaugural Gala, comedian Tina Fey addressed Missouri senate hopeful Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comment. She wasn’t the first female comedian to give her two cents on his remarks but in my opinion, her words were the best. From her speech:
“Todd Akin claims that women can’t really get pregnant from a legitimate rape because the body secretes hormones. Now I can’t even finish this sentence without getting dumber; it’s making me dumber when I say it—but it’s something about the body not being able to get pregnant when it’s under physical stress. Mr. Akin, I think you are confusing the phrase ‘legitimate rape’ with the phrase ‘competitive gymnastics.’”
Tina brought up the fact Akin was hardly alone in thinking that men have the right definition of rape. The gist of the idea is that when a woman is truly being assaulted, she becomes so flooded with stress hormones, or some magic chemical, that implantation can’t occur. In 1998, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that a Senate candidate claimed rape victims couldn’t get pregnant because of “God’s little protective shield.” (So when the body spontaneously prevents implantation, it’s God’s work, but when Plan B does it, it’s murder.) Sheppard points to several fringe pro-life websites that claim that pregnancies from rape are incredibly rare. Enough people believe this that Planned Parenthood felt the need to address the question on its FAQ page, which says that more than 5% of all rapes result in pregnancy. And more recently, Republican Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock set off a political firestorm when he suggested that if a woman becomes pregnant after a rape “it is something God intended to happen.“)
“I wish we could have an honest and respectful dialogue about these complicated issues,” Fey said. “But it seems like we can’t right now. And if I have to listen to one more gray-faced man with a two-dollar haircut explain to me what rape is, I’m gonna lose my mind.”
“I watch these guys and I’m like what is happening? Am I a secretary on Mad Men?” Fey joked.
The Center for Reproductive Rights is a global legal advocacy group dedicated to advancing and defending reproductive rights, and Fey was tapped to open up last night’s program, which honored extraordinary leaders who have blazed new trails for women.