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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

Plan to defund Planned Parenthood fails in the Senate Watch

Image of Pro-life rallies to defund Planned Parenthood, entitled

By Matt Hadro, CNA/EWTN News

The Senate failed to bring a bill to block federal funding of Planned Parenthood to the floor on Monday evening, in a much-anticipated vote. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - Senate Republicans introduced the bill to defund Planned Parenthood on July 28. An effort ... continue reading


'Enough is enough': Comedian Amy Schumer tearfully joins cousin Senator Schumer for advocacy on tighter gun control after 'Trainwreck' shooting Watch

Image of Amy Schumer joins advocacy in promoting tighter gun policies.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Comedian Amy Schumer joins cousin, New York Senator Charles "Chuck" Schumer to call for legislative moves over tighter gun control policies. She joined her cousin, as the senator revealed his three-part plan to create stricter rules over gun ownership. MUNTINLUPA CITY, ... continue reading


Democrats overthrow Senate's attempts to defund Planned Parenthood after scandalous hidden-camera videos Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Senate Democrats were successful in defeating recent attempts to invalidate taxpayer funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business by blocking the bill and preventing a vote on it. They were successful in getting Republicans unable to secure the 60 votes needed ... continue reading


Under Obama, black people 'are worse now than just about ever,' Donald Trump declares Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump claims that he commands a large percentage of the Hispanic vote. He now says that African-American people are also on his side after U.S. President Barack Obama has let them down. Trump gave his customary ... continue reading


Greenhouse emissions cut down even more under Obama administration Watch

Image of President Barack Obama says. "Not anymore."" title=""Climate change is not a problem for another generation," U.S> President Barack Obama says. "Not anymore."" class="img-responsive img-thumbnail pull-left spacer-right">

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Far more drastic cuts on factory greenhouse emissions are coming; United States President Barack Obama has vowed to impose more cuts. The president, now in his concluding months of his presidency vows that these steps will be the most significant step in ... continue reading


What TOP-SECRET information is the Obama Administration keeping from you? Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It seems as though the Obama administration is trying to bury significant materials away from the public. Seventeen unclassified Iran deal items have been placed away in ultra-secure facilities that are normally used solely for top secret evidence. MUNTINLUPA, ... continue reading


SEVENTEEN VERY SCARY SECRETS: Obama administration keeping details on Iran nuclear deal hidden Watch

Image of Important facts are being kept from the public, just as Congress is deciding whether to support or oppose the Iran deal.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Obama administration is keeping details of the Iran nuclear agreement close to the vest. To date, only one aspect of the agreement has been made public. Seventeen other points made in the agreement is being kept secret with the exception of a few lawmakers. ... continue reading


California lawmakers run to the aid of communities suffering the worst in drought Watch

Image of The new legislation focuses on obtaining federal funding to get costly water projects off the ground. Feinstein and Boxer's bill pinpoints 26 promising desalination projects in California.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As the record-breaking California drought stretches into its fifth year, lawmakers are passing legislation intended to help the communities hardest hit by water shortages. California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer have both introduced emergency drought ... continue reading


Why two religious Republican presidential candidates weren't invited to a major Christian event Watch

Image of The reason is not as controversial as many speculated.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Some were left puzzled as to why two Southern Baptist presidential candidates from the GOP were left out of a major Christian event; the reason was not as bad as some speculated. According to the official statement from the organizers of the event, the two candidates ... continue reading


Judge threatens to hold IRS chief John Koskinen in contempt for failing to turn over Lerner emails Watch

Image of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was threatened with contempt charges by a federal judge this week.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was threatened with contempt charges by a federal judge this week. Koskinen failed to produce, by decree, newly recovered emails of former IRS official Lois Lerner. U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan had ordered the IRS at ... 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, Numbers 13:1-2, 25--14:1, 26-29, 34-35
1 Yahweh spoke to Moses and said,2 'Send ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 106:6-7, 13-14, 21-22, 23
6 Like our ancestors, we have sinned, we have acted ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 15:21-28
21 Jesus left that place and withdrew to the region ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 5th, 2015 Image

St. Addal
August 5: A disciple of Christ sent by St. Thomas to the court of King ... 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