COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The discredited notion that a woman’s body can resist conception in a sexual assault has persisted in anti-abortion circles for decades, largely because of the efforts of a Cincinnati obstetrician who is considered a godfather of the movement.
Dr. John C. “Jack” Willke founded the National Right to Life Committee and wrote the influential 1971 “Handbook on Abortion,” which has shaped the thinking of generations of anti-abortion activists.
Rep. Todd Akin’s comments this week on rape and pregnancy reflect ideas that Willke began peddling many years ago.
To anti-abortion activists, the 87-year-old Willke is a revered figure. To abortion-rights activists, the one-time sex education lecturer perpetuates myths and ignores science. Fellow physicians say his ideas are pure fiction.