Akin Aped in Europe

Lots of people in conservative America stand behind Rep. Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments, as has been reported. But now he is being seconded by some politicians in the most liberal country on the planet. Here in the Netherlands, Kees van der Staaij, head of the ultra-conservative Christian party, when asked to comment on Akin’s statement that “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down” in the case of rape, told a TV interviewer much the same thing: “Women seldom get pregnant as a result of rape and that is a fact.”

Reaction in the Netherlands–which is in the midst of a political campaign–was swift. There was lots of joking (“So Kees van der Staaij has kicked off the 1632 election,” said a tweeter), but also a refreshing bout of statistics. The Dutch reproductive health group Rutgers WPF published information from a government-financed study showing that 7% of women who are raped become pregnant. Applying that figure to information from the country’s Central Bureau of Statistics would mean that last year 111 Dutch women would have become pregnant as a result of rape. Of all Dutch women currently between the ages of 15 and 70, 1% have become pregnant due to rape.