Women's health expert and Senate candidate Todd Akin has said some pretty impressive dumb shit this election season. But did you know that the Missouri Congressman has been saying stupid crap about women for years now? In 2008, he gave a speech about how dastardly abortion doctors were performing abortions on "women who were not actually pregnant." You hear that, nonpregnant ladies? You could be having an abortion RIGHT NOW.
Apparently it's a well-worn urban legend in the sign-toting anti-abortion rights community that abortion care providers are such money hungry monsters that they'll scrape any uterus they come across, pregnant or not. During a speech he gave on the floor of the US House of Representatives in 2008, the coiner of the phrase "Legitimate Rape" said, totally straight faced,
Who wants to be at the very bottom of the food chain of the medical profession? And what sort of places do these bottom-of-the-food-chain doctors work in? Places that are really a pit. You find that along with the culture of death go all kinds of other law-breaking: not following good sanitary procedure, giving abortions to women who are not actually pregnant, cheating on taxes, all these kinds of things, misuse of anesthetics so that people die or almost die. All of these things are common practice, and all of that information is available for America.
Nonpregnant abortions... are those like virgin births, but from Satan?
Not exactly. As Robin Marty at RHReality Check explains, the Legend of the Unnecessary Abortion dates back many moons, to an outspoken "converted" former abortion clinic worker in the 80's who claimed that abortion providers are such craven money grubbing sociopaths that they convince innocent, doe-eyed women that they need to have their babycaves trawled, even if there's nothing in there. While this particular disgruntled former clinic worker wasn't right, back in the days right after Roe v. Wade, some clinics were found to have performed D&C procedures on women who aren't pregnant. This isn't technically an abortion because the word abortion implies that something is being aborted, or ended, but clinics did sometimes rely on results of a urine test alone in order to justify performing an invasive procedure that was, in rare cases, totally unnecessary. That's why nowadays, most clinics perform an ultrasound on women with a positive pregnancy test, as a matter of course.
So, no, Todd Akin, abortions are not being performed on women who are not pregnant. Lies don't become non-lies if you repeat them a bunch of times. But it sure is entertaining to watch.