Given the recent explosion of controversy and criticism regarding Rep. Todd Akin’s disastrous comments about “legitimate rape” and pregnancy, it is easy to forget that there is this thing called science that can generate this thing called information based on these things called data, resulting in an increase in something called knowledge.
Thanks to Kate Clancy for shedding some rational light on the question of pregnancy from rape in her post at Scientific American Blogs: “Here is Some Legitimate Science on Pregnancy and Rape”
This quote from the article provides the key point of information (amongst a lot of good discussion):
So, rape and consensual sex have the same pregnancy rate. This means that of those 64,080 US rapes in 2004-2005, minus the 15% of rapes that are of children under the age of 12 which gets us to 54,468 rapes of almost all reproductively-aged women, somewhere between 1,689 (3.1%) to 2,723 (5%) pregnancies from rape could have occurred in that year alone. Somewhere around half of those women were probably using some form of hormonal contraception, so let’s hope the numbers are even lower. Unfortunately, access to emergency contraception is still a challenge for rape survivors who go to hospitals, particularly Catholic hospitals, to receive treatment (Smugar et al. 2000).
Thanks also to Stephen McArthur in Vermont for spreading the word about this article on PreventConnect Email Group.