Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Tara K. E. Brelinsky

8/24/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The incidence of pregnancy conceived in rape is low, but irregardless of that statistical number, a child has the right to life

While I do not wish to jump into the political fray over whether or not Senator Akin should stay or go, I think it is important to clarify the point he was trying to make.  Rape is rape, there is nothing to debate there, but the female body does indeed have the ability, when under duress, to delay ovulation.

Rep. Todd Akin

Rep. Todd Akin

Highlights

By Tara K. E. Brelinsky

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/24/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: NFP, Natural Family Planning, Akins, Tara K. E. Brelinsky, ovulation, conception


ZEBULON, NC (Catholic Online) - Much ado has been made over the recent comments of Senator Todd Akin from Missouri, but it isn't about nothing.  The Senator, when discussing the incidence of pregnancies conceived from rape, is quoted as saying, "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

Certainly, the Senator's comments were insensitive and caused real injury to some women.  I make no attempt to excuse his lack of forethought and empathy.  He has come out in the public square to beg forgiveness and to take full responsibility for his lack of tact.

Rape is rape.  The words legitimate or illegitimate serve only to promote the false idea that such an act of disrespect and violence against women is in some cases permissible or at least understandable.  That is wrong.  And rape survivors deserve better than to have their integrity further violated or their honesty called into question.  There is no legitimate circumstance in which a man may rightly engage in an intimate act with a woman without her complete, conscious, informed and continuing consent.

So while I take no issue with the public outcry against the Senator for his callous vocabulary choice with regards to the crime of rape, I understand the point he was trying, but not succeeding, to express when he stated the female body attempts to "shut down."

The talking heads in the news media world, conservative and liberal alike, have been spewing all manner of questionable facts and opinions with regards to the female body's ability/inability to thwart a conception.  It is no surprise that in this age of contraception, when the majority of females' fertility cycles are influenced by artificial hormones, hardly an informed voice can be heard crying out in this anti-life wilderness.

As any teacher of Natural Family Planning can tell you, the female body exhibits an awesome power each cycle.  Women can easily learn to read their signs of fertility and infertility, which is how we are clearly able to discern that stress and trauma indeed have the potential to inhibit ovulation in a given cycle. 

A short biology lesson:

The pituitary gland initiates the secretion of the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) shortly after menstruation which stimulates an ovarian follicle, then leading to the release of estrogen.  Estrogen cause the endometrium to build up, the cervical crypts to secrete mucus and the cervix position to change.  The latter two results can be detected by the woman. 

As the estrogen increases in anticipation of ovulation, the cervical mucus will change in quality and perhaps quantity.  It is this fertile type mucus that extends the parameters of a woman's fertile phase since the egg, itself, is only viable for about 24 hours.  This type of mucus provides not only a swimming medium for the sperm, but it allows the sperm to remain viable inside of the female for up to five days after intercourse. 

The woman, who is taking her basal body temperature every morning will record a generally steady lower range of temperatures under the influence of estrogen.

The pituitary gland now secretes the luteinizing hormone (LH) which stimulates the release of the egg from the ovarian follicle.  Estrogen levels fall and the corpus luteum, or follicle that was responsible for releasing the egg, secretes the hormone progesterone. Progesterone's job is to maintain the lining of the uterus, suppress further ovulations, increase the basal temperature, dry-up the cervical mucus and change the position of the cervix again.

The woman practicing NFP can detect the mucus dry-up, see a noticeable temperature shift and feel the cervical changes.

With the help of a microscope, doctors have been able to witness the incredible characteristics of fertile/non-fertile type mucus.  The former type can be seen to have open channels running through the mucus.  Those channels serve to allow sperm to pass through while also sifting out defective sperm that are misshapen.  The latter type have closed channels.

Stress and the hormones it triggers, like cortisol, can disturb this delicate hormonal interplay and delay ovulation.  Stress can be bodily or psychological in nature.  Rape, indeed, would induce an extreme form of stress on a woman to which her body may potentially react by delaying ovulation; thereby, reducing the chance of pregnancy.  Additionally, stress increases the incidence of miscarriage should a conception take place.

When we teach NFP to the newly engaged we remind them that it is not uncommon to experience extended cycles due to delayed ovulation during the time of wedding preparation.  If preparing for a wedding can cause enough stress to delay ovulation, then it is easy to see how severe stress, like that suffered after rape, can do the same. 

NFP practicing, women have concurred this to be a fact by recording the changes in their mucus, temperature and cervix.  They have verified seeing prolonged periods of mucus which did at times shift back and forth between more, less, and then more fertile.  There are documented charts that exhibit extended days of lower range temperatures, which the individual women noted as uncharacteristic for their cycles and as occurring during cycles in which they experienced unusual stress.

So, while I do not wish to jump into the political fray over whether or not Senator Akin should stay or go, I think it is important to clarify the point he was trying to make.  Rape is rape, there is nothing to debate there, but the female body does indeed have the ability, when under duress, to delay ovulation.

Of course, no one can know ahead of time how the body will react.  There are indeed circumstances when a woman has been raped and still her body ovulated and conceived a child.  Perhaps, she was already at the day of ovulation when the attack occurred.  The how and the why are unknowns, suffice it to say, that a woman's body can indeed delay ovulation when under stress/trauma, but sometimes it does not.

The incidence of pregnancy conceived in rape is low, but regardless of that statistical number, a child has the right to life.  Truly, that is the fact which we should not lose sight of in the midst of this debate.

-----
Tara K. E. Brelinsky is a home schooling mother of seven living children with six more heavenly ones who intercede.  Married to her childhood sweetheart, they make their home in North Carolina where they teach Natural Family Planning, grow a garden, raise two dogs, a cat and a bunch of chickens.  Tara studied journalism a lifetime ago in college, but now she writes for the the glory of God.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

The man behind the mess of Obamacare wants you to encourage abortion! Watch

Image of John Gruber, the man behind Obamacare, is an ardent supporter of abortion.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The architect of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), John Gruber, has made a fool of President Obama and the Democrats in his administration once again. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Gruber has been recorded numerous times admitting that the ACA was written and ... continue reading


Should Obama be able to use the IRS as a weapon to target conservative opponents? Watch

Image of President Obama has used the IRS as a weapon to target Tea Party and conservative opponents.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It should come as a surprise to no one that fraud and power abuse is rampant in President Obama's White House, and the new scandal fall on the heals of the old IRS tax scandals of the last few years. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Treasury Inspector ... continue reading


Medicare, Social Security - all for illegal immigrants, thanks to Obama Watch

Image of In other words, those who work, which includes payroll taxes -- also known as FICA, as they are collected under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In President Obama's new plan to protect millions of illegal immigrants from deportation, many of these same individuals will be eligible to receive Social Security, Medicare and a wide array of other federal benefits. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Obama's war on America continues with secret Thanksgiving regulations dump Watch

Image of President Obama is going to release a new set of regulations over the Thanksgiving holiday, when many Americans are unlike to notice.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Not content to listen to the voice of the American people after the 2014 midterm election, President Obama is set on continuing his power grab, and forcing his will whether Americans like it or not. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The White House is getting ... continue reading


Sen. Graham: Benghazi report misses information and is 'garbage' Watch

Image of Sen. Graham said he will take a 'hard look' at the new report.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has blasted the Benghazi report recently released by the house Intelligence Committee. Graham says the report, released on Friday, is inaccurate, and called it "full of crap." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Saying he thought "the ... continue reading


Seventh terrorist suspect released from Guantanamo in two weeks; Republicans protest Watch

Image of Muhammad al-Zahrani, became the 13th prisoner released this year and the seventh in just two weeks.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Saudi Arabian man has been released from the terrorist holding facility Guantanamo Bay. He was the seventh such suspect in two weeks to have been transferred from the United States to another nation. The practice has created a great hue and cry among Republicans, who ... continue reading


The Immigration Conflagration and the Dangers of a Benevolent Dictator

Image of

By Keith A. Fournier

There is no question that comprehensive immigration reform is needed. Most people acknowledge this as a fact. However, the truth is President Obama could have participated in such reform, and he knows it, by working with the 114th Congress which will soon be sworn ... continue reading


Running out the door, Republicans too busy with Thanksgiving to address laws Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With Thanksgiving turkeys dancing in their heads, many Republican lawmakers are running out the door in lieu of considering a plethora of new legislation. Republican members have discussed resolutions of disapproval and censure. One unnamed lawmaker was ... continue reading


The TOP 10 list of countries where slavery is most prevalent. DO YOU BENEFIT FROM SLAVERY? You might be shocked! Watch

Image of Poor Haitians are commonly enslaved by wealthier family members.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Last week it was announced that some 36 million people around the world live in slavery, a number that is higher than at any time in history. While most Americans feel that slavery is a distant problem, which has little or no effect on their lives, the sad fact is that ... continue reading


Raking in the dough: Obamacare 'architect' worth millions Watch

Image of Jonathan Gruber has a lucrative connection with the Department of Health and Human Services.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Jonathan Gruber's good fortune would make lots of college students change their majors to economics. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, along with his firm Gruber Microsimulation Model has raked in millions. Gruber's chief function is estimating the ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9
1 After this, I saw another angel come down from ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:2, 3, 4, 5
2 serve Yahweh with gladness, come into his presence ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:20-28
20 'When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 27th, 2014 Image

St. James Intercisus
November 27: James was a favorite of King Yezdigerd I of Persia and a ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter