Here is Some Legitimate Science on Pregnancy and Rape

Unfortunately, it is rather normal to be a survivor of sexual assault if you are female. One out of six women in the United States have been the victim of rape or attempted rape, and that is using a rather tight definition that does not include many kinds of assault victims can experience. 64,080 women were raped in the US between 2004-2005. Sixty four thousand and eighty. That’s tens of thousands, not just thousands. In one sample of college-aged men, one in sixteen men admitted to raping women they either knew were too intoxicated to give consent, or they used physical force. Among these men who readily admitted to rape but had never been arrested or convicted, they committed an average of six rapes each and proudly described their sexual exploits to the interviewer (Lisak and Miller 2002).

How frequently do raped women get pregnant? It would seem from Akin’s comment that this is a very rare occurrence. However, current evidence suggests it is the same as the pregnancy rate for a single act of intercourse. Ergo, pregnancy from rape occurs as frequently as pregnancy from consensual sex.

A lot of people are citing the Holmes et al (1996) paper that found a 5% pregnancy rate among rape survivors from 12 to 45 years of age. This is a great study that performed several telephone interviews with 4008 participants over three years to determine rates of rape (413 individuals experienced 616 completed rapes, a lifetime incidence of over 13% in this sample) and rates of pregnancy from rape (20 were reported from 19 individuals, or 5%).

In a separate study, Wilcox et al (2001) draw from their amazing prospective dataset from the 1980s where they asked women who were trying to conceive to collect urine every day. They were able to detect hormones, and thus pregnancies and fetal losses, because of these daily urine collections. Work on this dataset from Wilcox, Baird, and others represents the gold standard for our understanding of early pregnancy, fetal loss, and the timing of implantation in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. In this paper, the authors are able to show what the possible pregnancy rates are for a given day in the menstrual cycle, taking into account the normal variation many women experience in the length of their cycle and timing of ovulation:

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