Gingrey needs to get his ownhorse back in the barn
by Dick Yarbrough Columnist
January 19, 2013 02:15 AM | 2312 views | 8 8 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dick Yarbrough
Dick Yarbrough
Members of Congress can do the darnedest things. Witness recent efforts by Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta) to explain to a group of his constituents what two losers from Missouri and Indiana meant to say about rape.

I like Phil Gingrey. I consider him one of the good guys in Congress and one of the most accessible. But I was drop-jawed when I read reporter Jon Gillooly’s account in the Marietta Daily Journal last week in which the Congressman saw fit to tell a Cobb Chamber breakfast in Smyrna that former Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri, who blew a sure seat in the U.S. Senate was “partly right” when he asserted that women’s bodies can avoid pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape.”

Gingrey told the group, “What he (Akin) meant by ‘legitimate rape’ was just, look, someone can say I was raped: a scared-to-death 15-year-old that becomes impregnated by her boyfriend and then has to tell her parents, that’s pretty tough and might on some occasion say, ‘Hey, I was raped.’ That’s what he meant when he said ‘legitimate rape’ versus ‘non-legitimate rape.’ I don’t find anything so horrible about that. But then he went on and said that in a situation of rape, of a legitimate rape, a woman’s body has a way of shutting down so the pregnancy would not occur. He’s partly right on that.”

Gingrey, who has been an OB/GYN for almost 40 years, continued, “I’ve delivered lots of babies, and I know about these things. It is true. We tell infertile couples all the time that are having trouble conceiving because of the woman not ovulating, ‘Just relax. Drink a glass of wine. And don’t be so tense and uptight because all that adrenaline can cause you not to ovulate.’ So he was partially right wasn’t he? But the fact that a woman may have already ovulated 12 hours before she is raped, you’re not going to prevent a pregnancy there by a woman’s body shutting anything down because the horse has already left the barn, so to speak.”

About Richard Mourdock, a state official who lost a U.S. Senate seat in Indiana many thought he should have won, Gingrey said, “Mourdock basically said ‘Look, if there is conception in the aftermath of a rape, that’s still a child, and it’s a child of God, essentially.’ Now, in Indiana, that cost him the election.”

Why is the Congressman telling us these things? Who gives a rat’s bottom what Todd Akin meant to say in Missouri or Richard Mourdock in Indiana? They lost their elections. They are history. Their horse has left their barn.

Since he brought the topic up for public discussion, let me give Dr. Gingrey and the rest of you one white male’s perspective on rape. Rape is rape. Please don’t give me this abstract blather about “legitimate rape” versus “non-legitimate rape” or what a couple of losers meant to say about a female’s worst nightmare, as though they would know. I am getting very tired of these academic discussions and would strongly suggest that we white guys shut our yaps until we get raped ourselves and then let’s see how “legitimate” that feels.

My friend says his remarks were “misconstrued” and that he was only trying to “provide context” as to what he presumed Murdock and Akin meant to say. As a result, the congressman finds himself in a position of having to clarify what he was really trying to say about what two politicians that we are not likely to hear about ever again were trying to say. Good grief.

Had he asked, I would have told Gingrey not to say anything — not one word — that he is not willing to see in the newspapers. If you say it, stand by it. Don’t get into the position of having to go back and explain yourself. George Will once said that when you have to explain what you said, you have already lost your argument.

I suspect that what happened to Gingrey is that he got a temporary case of “Potomac Fever.” It happens. Being a member of Congress is pretty heady stuff and it is hard not to come home and try to impress the locals with the 50,000-foot view of the world.

He can’t blame anyone for being misconstrued and for trying to provide context. He can only blame himself for getting into an area where he didn’t need to go. He should kick his staff in the derrière for not giving him some talking points and insisting he stick to them.

Congressman Phil Gingrey is treating a needlessly self-inflicted wound. Physician, heal thyself and see if you can get your horse back in the barn.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
January 19, 2013
There aren't any respected physicians or medical groups rushing to Gingrey's defense ( like the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists). Scientific America had a sharp critique of Gingrey's politics and science which I included in my blog
Mike Woodliff
January 19, 2013
His comments made me cringe. You were right to call him out. Like most men regarding this subject, he needs to shut up!
Joe Six
January 19, 2013
Yarbrough, hypocrisy! You viciously attack Bible believing Christians for their beliefs, then, from your elitist throne, you lecture Phil Gingrey. Hilarious! How is that female pastor of yours working out?
Bill Millette
January 19, 2013

Have you ever felt that you understood a speakers words and that others have misunderstood them? I believe that is what was behind Rep. Gingrey's apparent defense of the two politicians on rape. Rep. Gingrey is an ob-gyn and possesses knowledge far greater than any most of us will have in our lifetimes.

I wish he had not brought the subject up. I have followed Rep Gingrey's career in government. I posted in his defense after the original brouhaha over his comments.

I see many want to kick him to the curb over those comments. I do not. If one checks his career, he is one of the staunchest conservatives in the House. He stands on the conservative, practical side of every issue.

I hold your position that, "Had he asked, I would have told Gingrey not to say anything — not one word — that he is not willing to see in the newspapers."

His effort to explain what many of us do not have knowledge of only compounded a problem. I will continue to vote for Rep Gingrey, since I, more times than I care to reflect on, have defended the indefensible in hopes of enlightenment only to find I would had been better served if I kept quiet.

Folks , put it behind you, check his record, then make your decision.

Agree with Bill
January 31, 2013
I wholeheartedly agree with you! Also, general comment.... has it crossed anyone's mind that the people who are turning this into more than it should be are the opponents that Gingrey will be facing in the next election (Republican primary candidates, for sure, who are most threatened because, guess what?? Gingrey will probably win!!) and democrats? Wake up!! They are spinning this in the media like nobody's business so they can get Chambliss' seat!

Gingrey has done a lot for his district. He's a good man. He made a mistake. Let's move on, people. We have much bigger problems.
Possum Bob
January 19, 2013
And the drivel you, Yarbrough, are allowed to spew in the MDJ is one of the reasons I will not be renewing my MDJ subscription next month. Kevin Foley and Bill Press are two more reasons the MDJ does not deserve my repeat business.
Good man
January 19, 2013
I have not always agreed with Rep. Gingrey, but I have to say I felt a little sorry for him regarding his recent comments. I felt like the comments on rape were unnecessary, but perhaps, the " doctor" part of Rep. Gingrey was speaking. What I didn't like and what has been ignored, were the comments about the "needs" of the folks who legally have guns. But I still think this man has served us well. He is honorable and we should respect that.
January 20, 2013
Ya know, no one said he wasn't honorable. But his remarks were plain stupid.

He's been a politician long enough to understand that he hooked himself to a couple guys considered extremists, even by Republican standards. He's been a doc long enough to know that women would not appreciate any attempts to categorize or dilute the word "rape." To throw, "relax and drink wine" in the same sentence even with rape is a massive mistake....even if one does not take time to read his entire comments (and most will not) it's the picture he's painting that matters. His judgement is completely in question. I am a Republican woman.
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