The claim that rape is unlikely to lead to a pregnancy has “no biological plausibility,” said Dr. Barbara Levy, vice president for health policy at the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The claim is “not grounded in any physiology or scientifically valid data.”
Akin is not alone in his view about rape and pregnancy, however. It dates at least to medieval times, when a 13th century English legal tome called Fleta asserted that pregnancy was prima facie evidence against a charge of rape, “for without a woman’s consent she could not conceive.”
A 19th century book, “Elements of Medical Jurisprudence” by Samuel Farr, said that conception is unlikely “without an excitation of lust, or the enjoyment of pleasure in the venereal act.” That reflected the common notion that pregnancy requires a woman, like a man, to reach orgasm during intercourse.
Both early references were noted by The Guardian newspaper in a blog post on Monday.
In fact, “human … female orgasm is not necessary for conception,” explained a 1995 paper in the journal Animal Behaviour, one of many studies reaching the same conclusion.