They call it the miracle of life for a reason.
A woman ovulates every 28 days. Once an egg is released from one of either two ovaries, it travels through the fallopian tubes, rich in nutrients that keep the egg in perfect condition ready for fertilization. But there’s only a 24-hour period for this to occur. If there is no sperm cell there to fertilize the egg, it disintegrates.
And as far as sperm cells go, out of the millions released there may be only one to a couple hundred that actually make it to the right location at the right time. And even then, about six of the cells will be strong enough and in the right condition to fertilize the egg. Once fertilization occurs and the combined cells begin rapidly dividing, it must travel down the fallopian tube on a four-day journey to the uterus.
Again, the conditions must be perfect for implantation inside the uterus. At that point, some of the cells start to form the placenta, which will provide nutrients and blood flow to the other cells, which are developing into an embryo.
At any point in the process, something can go wrong. A cell may be damaged. The conditions in utero may be wrong. A fertilized egg may not make it to or attach to the uterus.
At that point, the conception fails, and it will take another 28 days for the female body to prepare itself again to have the right conditions that are conducive to pregnancy.
But at no point in time can a woman will herself to either be pregnant (ask the millions of couples who suffer infertility for whatever reason) or will herself not to be pregnant because she wasn’t with the desired mate.
The conception process is a very complicated science that many doctors and technicians have studied for more than 100 years, and there are still many unknowns.
Those of us who have been through the process of trying to conceive, those of us who have suffered the great loss of a child through miscarriage and those of us who have been blessed by the birth of a child, planned or unexpected, those who have been violated in an unwanted sexual attack were horrified by statements made by a Senate candidate about conception after a woman is raped.
On Aug. 19, Missouri Republican Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin said in cases of “legitimate rape,” it was very rare that a woman would become pregnant.
“From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Akin said in a televised interview “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Science says that’s just not the case.
Akin used the misinformation to try to bolster his stance that rape victims should not have access to abortions. He explained that those who violate the woman should be punished, not the unborn life that could result from the violent attack.
He later said that his use of the words “legitimate rape” should have been “forcible rape.” He said he misspoke. But then he told CNN that he used the term because he wanted to make “the point that there were those who were making false claims (about being raped).”
But who cares what he meant when he said that? The fact that the whole science of it was wrong is the sticking point. How dare someone say that a woman, a victim of one of the worst crimes a human can commit against another, can just decide that the attack would not end with a pregnancy? That’s what had everyone from Democrats to Republicans charged about the statements.
He later apologized to victims of rape in a statement.
“In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year,” he said.
“Those who perpetrate these crimes are the lowest of the low in our society and their victims will have no stronger advocate in the Senate to help ensure they have the justice they deserve.”
But, boy, if we could just take back words with an apology there would be a lot less hurt feelings in the world.
We took the issue to our readers, who log on each week to www.timeswv.com to vote in our online poll. Last week, we asked, “A Republican Senate candidate discussed whether he supported abortion in the case of ‘legitimate rape,’ sparking a national debate. What are your thoughts?”
And here are the results:
• The Republican party was shamefully quick to drop their support of the congressman once it became controversial — 5.26 percent
• Akin has a right to voice his opinion, but his understanding of science and the human body is apparently limited — 17.89 percent
• While abortion is an important platform issue, there are clearly more pressing ones on the minds of voters when they go to the polls. Let’s move on — 33.68 percent
• Todd Akin’s statements were insensitive and disgusting to the thousands of victims of a violent crime — 43.16 percent
It is time to move on. Residents of our state cannot cast a vote for or against Akin, and there are in fact other pressing issues. Like education and the fact that only 57 percent of state schools made Adequate Yearly Progress on standardized testing. What are your thoughts? Are our children being “left behind?”
Log on. Vote. Email me or respond online.
They call it the miracle of life for a reason.
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