herald

Tuesday 25 July 2017

Youth Defence in U-turn over rape claims backlash

PRO-life group Youth Defence has removed information from its website stating that pregnancies from rape are rare.

Details contained on the webpage under the title Pregnancy As a Result of Rape had come under scrutiny, particularly in the light of controversial views expressed by US senate candidate Todd Akin.

However, the Irish anti-abortion organisation has now taken down the link.

In its place, it has uploaded new information on sexual assault, stating, Rape -- A terrible crime.

Republican politician Akin caused a huge storm of controversy in the US when he argued "legitimate rape" rarely leads to pregnancy.

He came in for strong criticism from US President Obama among others.

The information on the Youth Defence website was accessible until Tuesday night.

It claimed women's "natural defence mechanisms" reduced their chances of becoming pregnant following sexual assault.

It added: "Trauma from the rape may bring into play some natural defence mechanisms that reduce the likelihood of pregnancy, such as hormonal change and spasms of the fallopian tubes, which inhibit ovulation or fertilisation.

"The chance of conception resulting from a single act of unprotected intercourse even between consenting fertile individuals has been estimated at only 2pc to 4pc."



Controversy

The statement was subsequently removed.

The controversy in the US began when Mr Akin said on a TV show: "From what I understand from doctors, (pregnancy as a result of rape) is really rare. If it is a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down."

He added that, if the victim does become pregnant, the punishment should be "on the rapist and not attacking the child".

Youth Defence has insisted it did not support the views of Mr Akin.

comurphy@herald.ie

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