Rape and Pregnancy- Plus Update

Here I go again, asking to be stoned to death.

In the 1980s, I was a consultant on some important judicial issues. My role was confined to statistical analysis. This small role did not make me a lawyer or a criminologist. Nevertheless, I read quite a bit on and around the topic of serious crimes. These include rape, of course.

I was intrigued to read that rape was often difficult to prove through what was then the beginnings of DNA analysis because rapists often did not ejaculate inside their victims. I believe the writer was a feminist author. Like many feminists of her day she was intent on demonstrating that rape has little or nothing to do with sexual pleasure but that it is a mode of affirmation of men’s domination of women.

I tucked away this surprising piece of information without bothering to verify it because it was peripheral to my purpose. It did not seem all that far-fetched; I thought it was plausible. In large part, I thought it was plausible because I accepted to some extent the embedding idea that rape often has little to do with men’s sexual enjoyment. I could certainly buy the notion that rape is sometimes a crime of coercion alone: If you can’t even protect the inside of your body, you are truly helpless, rape says.

At this point, I don’t know whether there is any truth to the idea that rapists fail to ejaculate. In principle, this idea is verifiable. Somebody may have done the research. It’s doable although a little difficult. I am concerned about the strong scholarly bias against negative findings. Journals don’t like to publish papers that say: “It’s usually thought that …but our research shows there is nothing to this belief.” (Been there, done it!)

I am embarrassed and frankly disturbed by the speed with which prominent republicans rushed to lynch campaigning, anti-abortion Todd Akin. I agree he chose an unfortunate way to present his anti-abortion stance. It’s true that he was not as clear as he should have been. It’s unfortunate that he said “legitimate” rape although any one with a brain and an honest heart understands that he meant “real rape, forcible rape” rather than, say a small misunderstanding between two drunk undergraduates neither of whom really rememebers what happened the night before. Yet, something essential is missing in the universal Republican expressions of horror.

What’s missing is a clear statement of the reasons for the condemnation: Is it that his statement was misinformed ? Or is it that he should not have made it, no matter what. I suspect the real criticism is the latter. The Republican reaction also pre-supposes that female voters are generally morons. It leaves little room for the possibility that a spontaneous comment by a single Republican candidate says nothing about the Party’s respect for women. The condemnation does not allow for the possibility that local women will vote for Akin in spite of what he said, because there are other, wider considerations.

Furthermore, I smell a piousness in prominent declarations condemning Akin. How -they say – can you deny that raped women also become pregnant? This is like denying a fraction of the horror of rape. Of course, it is liberals who habitually trivialize the violent crime of rape by including many behaviors that normal women as well as normal men above eighteen know are not rape. I see Republicans hastening unseemingly to prove their political correctness. It’s a little disgusting.

What do I think myself about the truthfulness of the matter? I don’t know; I am not well informed on this. I think that many who are well-informed and keeping mum. Intellectual terrorism often works. I do think I remember however hearing recently on one of the respectable, left-leaning scientific television channels the statement that the female orgasm appears to facilitate conception. It’s not absurd to jump from the idea that women who enjoy themselves sexually are more likely to become pregnant to the hypothesis that women who abhor a particular sexual encounter are less likely to become pregnant. It’s just a hypothesis, one that’s not absurd on the face of it. It’s not irrational to propose it. It may be absurd to affirm it. I don’t know. Again, others who know better than I are not contributing what they should. Many women who also have something to contribute are not speaking loud enough on Mr Akin’s gaffe.

What happened with Mr Akin is becoming familiar territory: Liberals invite us to bitch-slap ourselves and we oblige them.

For the record: Like most Americans I am in favor of legal abortion. Like President Clinton, I think it should be legal, safe and rare. I believe it’s big evil but a necessary one at this point. And I deplore the absence of an exception for rape in the statement of the platform of the Republican Party regarding abortion, as I write.

Update: Carl Bialik does his usual good job summarizing research and pointing out the obstacles to research on the topic in the Sat-Sun issue of the Wall Street Journal , 25-26th 2012. ” Pregnancies from Rape Hard to Count.”

 

 

About jacquesdelacroix

I am a sociologist, a short-story writer, and a blogger (Facts Matter and Notes On Liberty) in Santa Cruz, California.
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52 Responses to Rape and Pregnancy- Plus Update

  1. Terry Amburgey says:

    “It’s not absurd to jump from the idea that women who enjoy themselves sexually are more likely to become pregnant to the hypothesis that women who abhor a particular sexual encounter are less likely to become pregnant.”
    I disagree.

  2. They maybe less likely to become pregnant simply because they don’t want to have sex often enough to become pregnant, while a woman that enjoys sex gets pregnant maybe not easier but is more likely to if she’s having sex more often.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Good thinking, southerngirl but the argument was over the likelihood that a woman will become pregnant as a result of an act of rape.

      This is important because some extreme anti-abortion conservatives will not make an exception for rape. Others think that abortion should be allowed when the pregnancy results from rape. That’s to avoid a situation where a woman has to raise a child she may hate because of the manner of is conception.

  3. jimkress says:

    5% or less of rapes result in pregnancy. Why do those children deserve to die just because they were the product of a violent act over which they had no control?

    Mr Akin’s gaffe is a mistake you don’t make once. Especially in today’s political and social climate.

  4. Terry Amburgey says:

    We’ll let P stand for the aggregate statistical probability of pregnancy resulting from vaginal intercourse. You posit an positive increment to P if the woman has an orgasm. Seems unlikely but let’s assume that it’s true. We’ll call this T [for Terry] the orgasm factor. On the flip side let’s define the ‘lady parts shut this stuff down’ as DA [the Delacroix-Akin discount], a negative increment to P. If we assume that orgasmic sex leads to P+T as the probability of pregnancy what is the probability of non-orgasmic sex leading to pregnancy? It’s absurd to say it’s P-DA. It’s not absurd to say it’s P.

    As for Mr. Kress, he’s free to believe what ever nonsense he wants, including the belief that a fertilised egg is a child. The rest of us don’t have to believe such rubbish.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Prof. Terry: The Ps and the Ts offer a good opportunity for self agrandizement. (And God knows, I don’t blame you or anyone for this!) Yet, I don’t see that you have explained away in any way the symmetry of effect between sexual enjoyment and sexual horror about which I speculated.

      No need to be mean to Jim. I am more or less on your side about legal abortion but remember that Jim is going to vote no matter how harshly you treat him. In fact, he may become more likely to vote if you piss him off. In my observation, people do many things because they are angry that they would not do for love.

      I don’t deserve to have my name attached to a hypothesis about the relationship between rape and pregnancy. I just reported what I knew a bit tentatively. You can be completely sure that I don’t affirm things lightly even if I cannot give a reference on the spot. I heard of the orgasm/conception connection on a respectable scientific television program recently. I want to say it was on Nova but I am not certain. For sure, it was broadcast through lefty PBS

      Of course, the news made me shudder retrospectively for the life trajectory of the young man I used to be.

      • Terry Amburgey says:

        There is no basis for a symmetry. Let’s assume the orgasm/conception you mention is true. The lack of a bonus does not imply a penalty. Even if orgasm increases the probability the lack of an orgasm only implies the base rate not the base rate minus some penalty.

        You need to get back to doing research to knock some rust off. Got any interest in organizational networks?🙂

    • jimkress says:

      It’s Dr. Kress and you can believe any fantasy you wish.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        What’s your point, Dr Kress? You seem to be commenting on something someone said on this blog but I don’t know what it is. I doubt anyone else does. Please. tell.

    • jimkress says:

      Unlike you, and the people like you who promote the religion of abortion, I do not force my views on anyone. Peoples actions are a choice they make to be decided between themselves and whatever god they worship.

      In the case of those who believe in abortion, that god would be Moloch.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Dr Kress. Here also, I don’t know who you are addressing. I hope, you don’t mean me, J.D. I sure as hell do not “promote” abortion and it sure as hell wouldn’t be my “religion” if I had one. I have said carefully and repeatedly that legal abortion is currently the lesser of two evils. It’s an evil. No doubt about this. It demoralizes our society in subtle, unregistered ways. The alternative – which I remember from my own lifetime – is worse.

      • Terry Amburgey says:

        Dr. Kress, I am very glad you do not force your views on others. That certainly separates you from the Republican party which is intent on forcing Christian theology on everyone. Moloch would only be appropriate for those who believe that fertilised eggs are children. BTW you seem to believe everyone worships a god. You might want to get up to speed on that.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Terry, Terry: The Republican Party is trying to force its theology on me as well as on you? I had not noticed. Good thing you have my back! (This is a silly assertion. No, I don’t say this often.)

      • Terry Amburgey says:

        You hadn’t noticed? I believe the Republican platform is going to be released today. Check it out.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Prof. Terry: I am sad to have to say that, as is often the case, you are jumping from pismire to parliament.

        The Republican platform will include restrictive views on abortion. The restrictions in question may indeed have a theological foundation. There are other bases to arrive at the same positions. I don’t want to re-iterate twenty years of philosophical debate on abortion but you must be aware of the fact that there are vigorous opponents of this deadly practice who are atheists. I, for one, think that a six-cell fertilized egg is not a human being but a creature in a woman’s womb that comes six months later certainly is. And, by the way, the usual pro-abortion argument of the lack of capacity of a fetus for independent existence is simply silly. It hardly deserves mention. Pro abortion arguments are usually silly.

        Incidentally, I am against medical experimentation on chimpanzees. Can you guess why? Is it a theologically based opposition, do you think?

      • Terry Amburgey says:

        http://www.gop.com/2012-republican-platform_We/

        Here you go Jacques, the teapublican foundation for an American theocracy.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Thank you, Terry. Party platforms are invariably boring because they serve little purpose except to get people like you who are conscientious to a fault excited. I think hardly anyone reads them. This Republican platform is probably no exception. Please, don’t make me read it. I have little interest in it in general. Why not guide us directly to the part that shows a “theological” basis for condemning abortion?

        Small thing but the word “Teapublican” is silly. What behavior is it supposed to make one ashamed of? I am a supporter to the Tea movement (not as “party” at all). I am fairly well educated , as you know. I am rarely irrational since I stopped taking illegal substances, a long time ago. It should be obvious that I am not especially evil either. So what is it that I have done that deserves the word?

  5. jacquesdelacroix says:

    Prof. Terry: The lack of bonus does not logically imply a penalty but the symmetry is plausible. Once you acknowledge that there exists a mechanism that opens the door wide, you have to consider that there is also a mechanism to close it tight

    What the man said was poorly expressed but it was not outrageously stupid or anti-women. It was not anti-women like the silent complicity of American liberals with respect to the gross, daily mass abuse of women in the Muslim world, for example.

    The loud reaction of the left to what is at worst a gaffe has everything to do with the fact that the routine horror of abortion has taken on a sacramental quality for much of the left.

    Thanks for the invite. I am flattered but I believe I have switched for good to other activities. One is teaching my choice of topics at times of my choice with I do better on the Internet than I have ever done in a classroom. The second activity is the writing of short stories. I am looking for an agent. (That’s really hard. You need an agent to find an agent, it seems.)

    • Terry Amburgey says:

      I think I tracked down the documentary you mentioned, I believe it was The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris. More interesting is a peer-reviewed article in a good scientific journal with [indirect] support for your orgasm hypothesis. Human sperm competition: ejaculate manipulation by females and a function for the female orgasm. RR Baker, MA Bellis – Animal Behaviour, 1993. I say indirect because they don’t evaluate pregnancy but sperm retention. There is, of course, a book by an academic competitor with a scathing review of sample selection, analysis et cetera. I read it and it certainly looks ok.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Prof. Terry: The documentary about female orgasm and pregnancy I saw in the past five months on PBS. It’s not the Naked Ape, for sure. What you mention is not what I saw. I a simply a convergent argument,

        I don’t understand what you said about sample selection as applied to this discussion.

      • Terry Amburgey says:

        The sample selection criticism was about the Baker & Bellis article. I don’t take it too seriously given the difficulty of getting couples to copulate in a laboratory setting, with diaries, and collecting multiple sperm samples.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Professor: Do everyone a favor and explain how sample selection is a problem for the study of that which concerns us here. The reference to the article is secondary. What you do from the top of your head will be fine.

        A significant number of people who “hate statistics” have changed their minds on this blog. It’s an opportubnity to do secular good.

      • Terry Amburgey says:

        Sample selection is an issue if it results in a non-random subset from the population of interest because it can produce bias in statistical analyses. In other words, the results we see are not accurate. The critique of the Bellis & Baker paper seems to revolve around self-selection into the survey in the UK and the selection of subgroups

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Thank you, Prof. Terry. Please, remind us of the relevance of this matter to any discussion on this blog. (Or, are you having a dialogue with yourself, a practice that is often healthy but sometimes, a proof of insanity)?

      • Terry Amburgey says:

        I’m confused. It’s relevance is based on your request that I proffer a brief explanation of sample selection bias. Right up there…^^^

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        I am sorry. Even I have forgotten the relevance to what discussion we are having. A quick reminder would have been useful. Thanks anyway.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Thank you.

      First link: According to the abstract (only) of this article in the Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, rape (defined I don’t know how) results in 30,000 pregnancies annually. I am surprised by how large this number is. I think it’s not trivial.

      The second link is to a piece in Townhall. I did not find the 1% figure in it. It does not matter because Townhall is a dismissible source in this case for being extremely partisan and for not having reported on an actual study one could review.

  6. carola kloppers says:

    wow, a majority (95%) of men fighting over abortion and rape… but only about women’s guilt… never about men’s role in these things ? obviously abortion legislation is not directed in the interests of unborn children… the pro-life story, but for the total control of women… now after being raped she also has to have an unwanted child…..always the woman left with the burden… the rapist is probably not even convicted of rape, much less paying child support. focus on the male perpetrator for a change, how are you going to enforce responsibility on the raping man, and the deserting man. Without them there would be no rape to argue over, and there would be much less abortion. There is a man involved in these things it isn’t just the woman’s problem… let us argue for 50 years about how men are going to pay for what they do to women… and when men have been controlled and tamed, and every rapist pays compensation and child support if needed, and every man who deserts is brought to heel, then we can adress female guilt again.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Carola: You have a strange view of rape. First, it will get the rapist easily 25 years to thirty years in most states, not exactly a slap on the wrist. (I refer to forcible rape.) Your idea of making the rapist pay child support is strange, to say the least. Do you mean that the woman victim of rape should be helped by her victimiser in raising a child that is the result of rape? Or do you mean forcing rapists to support their children in some other way. Did you notice how unsuccessful the same idea has been when it applied to men who married a begat children with willing women within what they all thought was a loving relationship?

      The feminist cant that men have no say in abortion does not stand to examination: Many abortion opponents believe (rightly or wrongly) that abortion is murder pure and simple. With this belief, does anyone advocate that this particular kind of murder should be discussed exclusively by the half of the population that is female? Are there some other categories of murders that should be the exclusive province of some restricted social category?

      Note that I did not affirm that abortion is murder. I am just showing the absurdity of any female claim of exclusivity of judgment in that area.

      Yes, it’s a real problem of equity that women are much more affected than men by the results of this discussion. Don’t blame men for this inequity. Blame that bitch, Mother Nature!

  7. carola kloppers says:

    well this is fun… because men just refuse to be held accountable the law should dump its full might on women instead, who having reported the rape, are sitting in the clutches of the police and the state…. good thinking… oh so rape inevitably gets 25 years in your country, in mine the attrition rate is about 6%, so most of the time rapists get their dinner brought to them by the victim, not a prison officer. You know enough about feminist cant to use this dismissive description, no doubt. The thing that makes me wonder, is why someone using a stance so unempathic to women is so interested in their debates ? Where does your particular interest and resentment lie ? Are you ‘disinterested’ or is it some kind of ‘self defense’ ? You say that no other form of ‘murder’ is judged to be so or not by its ‘perpetrators’ yet you wish a sentence to be passed on that group, in which the co perpetrator that gets off scot free, the accomplices to the murder (male deserters and rapists) determine the sentence (carry my child to term and raise it for life and to hell with your material needs) If you can explain to me what obscure knots make your argument into logic, and can remain lucid and civilized, without getting personal, it would be interesting to dissect your words. The response I am expecting from you is utter dismissal…wait and watch… because you cannot answer me coherently….you will ask me to leave the group or point out that it is for men only !!!!!

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Carola: Untruths quickly make me lose interest:

      “…in which the co-perpetrators get of scot-free.”

      I don’t know what your country is. In mine, rapists do go to jail for a long times when they are properly convicted by a court of law acting lawfully.I am sensitive to the poetry of some of your words, however

      “…so most of the time rapists get their dinner brought to them by the victim, not a prison officer.”

      I wish I had written that line.

      To answer your question: My first interest in the matter is that women include my mother, my wife, my sister and my daughter, and also, my grand-daughter (who is only three, however). My second interest is the same I have in the murder of any human being I don’t know by another human being I also don’t know.

      I don’t understand much of what you say: What “resentment” ? Women have always treated me wonderfully. I am a spoilt man; you should have been able to tell. And, no, I don’t need to be held accountable personally for anything. I have never raped anyone. It never crossed my mind. Like almost all men, I associate sex with affection.

      And yes, here is your dismissal. If you want a discussion with rational people, you have a to avoid having your words carry you away from boring reality. I am not “excluding” you. You don’t make much sense by ordinary standards. Feel free to keep writing. You can be completely sure I will not censor you.

      • carola kloppers says:

        The attrition rate in the UK is 6% for rape, and in South Africa too. You imply when you say that rapists in the US get long sentences that the rate of conviction is 100% … am I correct ? In your country how many reported rapes lead to a conviction ? and by the way, if I am better at expressing myself, that is hardly a weapon you can use against me !

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Carola: I don’t know what you mean by “rate of attrition.”

        “Reported rape” is not a trustworthy quantity especially since the definition of rape increasingly trivializes the word in the USA. As I said before, it now includes what happens between two undergraduates during a night of drunkenness. Of course, authorities often decline to charge in such cases, (They don’t decline often enough, I think.) And, finally convictions depend on the jury’s assessment of the facts, fortunately. Juries sometimes decline to convict because the case is frivolous, not because the rape of women is dear to the heart of the ordinary citizens that are jurors.

        Of course, I don’t know what happens in South Africa. It’s a more complicated situation, with racial tensions and the usual lack of respect for women in the Third World. Rapid urbanization must make things worse.

        As for the women who serve coffee to their rapist, here is my advice to all women:

        Don’t marry violent men. Don’t make children with violent men. Don’t have sex with violent men. Don’t talk to violent men. Don’t even look at violent men. (The latter because a murky side of many women’s hearts is attracted to violent men.)

        Your writing talent is a danger in the following manner: Possibly, you are sometimes charmed by your own phrasing which causes you to suspend the exercise of your critical faculties.

        Where are you writing from?

      • carola kloppers says:

        please, let us stop playing with semantics. I would like to know how many rape charges lead to conviction, and I am not too interested in how relevant these charges are to you because, in both the UK and SA there will have a similar number of cases you would consider ‘frivolous’ which are factored into the statistics, so your prevarication is irrelevant. I would love you to answer my question in a straightforward manner. I choose not to respond to your closing remark, it verges on mudslinging and if we are to communicate at all such things must be avoided. I live in South Africa as you previously mentioned.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Carola: I don’t know the answer to your question. It’s not worth researching for reasons I explained well enough in my previous answer to you. There is no particular reason why I should research this question because all the relevant info is public. The FBI Uniform Crime Statistics is a good place to start. Once you have found your answer, I will be glad to put it up here with any reasonable emphasis you might request and with your commentary.

        I still don’t know what you mean by “rate of attrition.” I know what a rate of attrition is in general; I don’t what what it means in the manner you use it. None of what I told you boils down to a semantic game. I think I am completely straightforward. I suspect you are not listening.

      • Terry Amburgey says:

        Hi Carola. Protip: Jacques will hardly ever do his own homework so get used to having it dumped in your lap. He used to be a world-class researcher but then retired🙂

        You need a numerator and a denominator, # of rape convictions/# of rapes. Both are a pain-in-the-ass but the denominator is least bad. You can go to the FBI’s UCR preliminary report for 2011 and for ‘forcible rape’ it gives a total of 27590 for 2011 with some caveats. Seems a bit small doesn’t it? What’s the problem? Taken from wikipedia

        “According to United States Department of Justice document Criminal Victimization in the United States, there were overall 191,670 victims of rape or sexual assault reported in 2005.[7] …Some types of rape are excluded from official reports altogether, because a significant number of rapes go unreported even when they are included as reportable rapes, and also because a significant number of rapes reported to the police do not advance to prosecution.[8]”

        “Rape prevalence among women in the U.S. (the percentage of women who experienced rape at least once in their lifetime so far) is in the range of 15%–20%, with different studies agreeing with each other. (National Violence against Women survey, 1995, found 17.6% prevalence rate;[4] a 2007 national study for the Department of Justice on rape found 18% prevalence rate.[5])”

        What about the numerator? Good luck with that. Except in very rare cases the states have jurisdiction so you’ll have to look at 51 sets of info and try to find some way to aggregate. You could probably do it with Lexis-Nexis if you have access through a University.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Dr Terry: Well, I don’t really understand why everybody in the world with an axe to grind should be in a position to give me a research assignment. Does it make sense to you, Professor?

        Second: It’s good for people like Carola to be induced to check their fantasies against facts. If I had done the research and reported that 60% of rape complaints resulted in convictions, do you think she would say, “Oh, well, I stand corrected” ?

        Third thanks to Internet sources, simple research is 100 times easier than when you were young, in the last century.

  8. bruce says:

    According to Interpol, South Africa is the rape capital of the world. I can understand Carola’s fear in a country where it’s said women are more likely to be raped than educated. The April 20, 2012 story:
    http://www.news24.com/Multimedia/South-Africa/SA-named-world-rape-capital-20120420
    Carola, if you can’t move out of SA, I recommend the following:
    1. Get a concealed carry permit and purchase a weapon you can handle, say a well made and reliable compact Sig Sauer or Walther with hollow points. Go to the firing range every day for a month with a qualified person who can train you. Train, train, train. In high stress life threatening situations, you will not rise to the occasion, you will default to your level of training.
    2. A big can of wasp spray for the front door and a small can for your purse. It works much better than any pepper spray product you can get.
    3. Get a dog, maybe an AMSTAFF (American Staffordshire Terrier) or similar breed.
    4. Take a self-defense class, one that focuses on quick and violent physical response to attack. Not one that is more like a yoga exercise class. Decisive blows to the eyes and groin striking.
    5. I know you’re gona hate me for saying it, but I recommend getting a man. Sorry, but there’s really no substitute.
    Hugs!

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Bruce, ( Carol) All good advice. Where does one buy wasp spray? I would like to hand out cans as gifts.

      Carola began on this blog with a strong expression of indignation that rapists presumably don’t pay for the harm they have done. This takes us a long way from the current US discussion about reducing the legality of abortion and of the legitimacy of exceptions for rape.

      As I have told her clearly Carola is welcome on this blog but I may not pick up much on what she says. For one thing I don’t understand much of what she says, probably because of my relative ignorance of the South African context. Plus, taking an interest would drive me too far afield , including to the role her cousins’ apartheid regime had in creating lawlessness in South Africa. (Her”cousins” because Carola has an Afrikaner-sounding name.)

      Secondly, Carola’s communications indicate that she does not not know American society well. (Not surprising, of course.) In particular, she does not understand the all-powerful role of juries in American judicial proceedings. I don’t want to spend my time helping people who read English understand better because there is already plenty of material on the market in English. I spend some time doing it in French where it’s much needed. That’s enough to earn me a place in Heaven, I would think!

  9. Terry Amburgey says:

    @Bruce. I want to second Jacques comments. The info on wasp spray is especially appreciated.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Terry is actually wondering if it’s strong enough to keep overeager lady professors away from his luscious body.

  10. David says:

    Very intriguing conversation here. I’ve enjoyed reading it, now I have a few minutes to throw my two cents around. In my not-remotely-professional opinion, 5% of rapes resulting in pregnancy seems a bit high. From personal experience in engaging in non-protected sex, I’ve a less than 1% success rate at impregnating women. (2 children out of several hundred separate encounters.) I suspect that there has to be other factors playing into that figure (or any figure close to it); including, but not limited to, rapists have a “sixth sense” for when a woman is ovulating (in heat, so to speak) and unconsciously (or deliberately) target women who are “ready” to carry a child, or perhaps a woman’s body responds to the strength of the man, indicating a biologically worthy specimen (regardless of the mental/emotional/physical violations occurring), through some unknown process. (G-spot anyone?)

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      David:Interesting but very speculative. You realize the guy who gave the 5% figure wanted to argue that rape seldom results in pregnancy, right?

      • David says:

        I do in fact realize that is what he is arguing, which seems odd to me, I wonder how many children he has. In my experience pro-abortion activists glomp onto the “what if she gets pregnant from her rapist?” argument as a reason for defending abortion, I have gotten the feeling that many of these people believe the ratio of pregnancies to incidents of rape is much much higher than 5%. Those that I have talked to have seldom given me specific figures less than 25% when I’ve asked them to pin it down specifically. (I’m reasonably certain none of those people knew where their information came from, I speculate it came out of nowhere.) None of these figures seems accurate to me. In my opinion, 5% seems like an awfully high percentage, or perhaps my sperm just aren’t well-equipped to the task of finding the egg to fertilize, given my success rate. Otherwise there must be some outlying information/processes that account for the rape to pregnancy ratio being, allegedly, so high.

        Also, another piece of information to consider, how many women, who are biologically capable of breeding, actively take some method of birth control? Given the recent hoop-lah over forcing companies to pay for contraception services via the health care law I suspect many women are already on or wish to be using some form of birth control. In my mind that would make the likelihood of a pregnancy from rape to get even smaller. Of course that would depend on the actual reliability of those figures. The odds of finding a random woman who wasn’t on birth control, and was ovulating within the 24-48 hour window for fertilization to occur and be able to rape and impregnate seems quite small to me. If unprotected sex resulted in pregnancies even as often as 5% of the time, I’d think we’d have a lot more babies running around. And damn near every female college student ought to be pregnant. ( I suspect that most college women are on birth control of one sort or another.)

        Mostly just food for thought on this discussion. I rarely see any discussion on the finer points of this subject, especially on the national scale. When pundits are discussing it they usually say “exepct for cases of rape, incest and saving the life of the mother…” and it seems to indicate that pregnancies resulting from rape/incest are relatively common. Rather than discussing the actual data that back up those assertions.

      • Thanks, David. Please, give your source.

  11. David says:

    side note, a cursory google search came up with a figure in the neighborhood of 2.75% that one random unprotected vaginal sexual encounter between two fully functionally sexual individuals would result in a pregnancy. which doesn’t account for differences in fertility, sperm viability, female birth control (i.e. the pill), or processes that aren’t fully understood (i.e. orgasm increasing chances of fertility).

    • David says:

      http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_are_the_odds_of_getting_pregnant_if_you_had_sex_only_one_time

      This source is almost identical. (I suspect one was plagarized by the other save for the actual percentage.) The source I specify here states that the random rate of pregnancy is between 3-5%, as opposed to the 2.75% that I stated earlier.

      For those nit-pickers out there, I am in fact aware that this data was obtained less than scientifically and not necessarily reflective of reality, but, as I said earlier, it was procured from a cursory google search, intended to give a ball park figure. And the figures I mentioned were among the smallest percentages I could find. There were other sources claiming more than 5% rate of pregnancy, in particular regarding rape.

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