When Todd Akin first scoffed at the notion that rape victims can get pregnant, he defended himself by pointing to the medical judgment of someone named Dr. John Willke, former president of the National Right to Life Committee, who has been pushing this argument for many years.
Indeed, just this week, Willke told the New York Times rapists don’t impregnate their victims because, “This is a traumatic thing – she’s, shall we say, she’s uptight. She is frightened, tight, and so on. And sperm, if deposited in her vagina, are less likely to be able to fertilize. The tubes are spastic.”
Biologically, this is deeply stupid and wholly rejected by physicians, but politically, it’s also become rather important – and not just because of Akin.
The main exponent of Todd Akin’s theory that rape victims don’t get pregnant … claims that he got a private meeting with Mitt Romney as recently as late last year.
The claim comes in an article just out from The Daily Telegraph (for what it’s worth, it’s the same pub and reporter who wrote the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ piece a few weeks ago which provided the inglorious kick off to Romney’s European tour). As reporter Jon Swaine explains, Willke was an official surrogate for Romney back in 2008. Willke claims that he got a private meeting with Romney as recently late last year and told Willke “we agree on almost everything” about the pro-life cause.
To reiterate something Rachel mentioned last night, I generally think it’s wise to take reports on U.S. politics from U.K. newspapers with a grain of salt, but in this case, we’re dealing with easily-checkable claims, some of which we already know to be true. Willke really was, for example, a Romney campaign surrogate during his most recent campaign.
So, did Romney meet with Willke in October as he claims? And if so, why? The same Telegraph article goes on to say Willke also met with Paul Ryan “several times.” What did the two chat about?
For its part, it’d be easy for Team Romney to simply deny the meetings ever took place, but at this point, the campaign is simply not commenting, which only makes this more interesting.