Rep. Pete Nielsen, R-Mountain Home, told KTVB-TV over the weekend that he was wrong when he said repeatedly last week that women who are raped or victims of incest are unlikely to become pregnant. "I was in error, and I regret it," he told the station on Saturday evening. “I stand by (my comments) in this sense: that at that time, that was my knowledge and information. I have since found out somewhat different and so I may have opened my mouth when I shouldn't have." Nielsen made the initial comment during a committee hearing Thursday on abortion-related legislation; he then repeated it in numerous media interviews.
The TV station reported that physicians from St. Alphonsus said Nielsen's initial statement Thursday was not based in scientific or medical fact. Nielsen told KTVB he’s received e-mails and phone calls from across the country from people forcefully telling him he’s completely wrong; you can see KTVB’s full report here. Nielsen was absent from Monday morning’s House session.
The scientific consensus on the issue is that rape is as likely to result in pregnancy as consensual sex, and some studies suggest the rate of pregnancy is higher in rape. A 2003 study that appeared in the scientific journal "Human Nature," for instance, found that the rate of pregnancy from rape exceeded the rate of pregnancy from consensual sex by a "sizable margin."