August 31, 2012
The CHRISTIAN “Doctors” Behind The Republican Anti-Woman Biology Claims - Dr. John Willke & Dr. Richard Dobbins

You may have seen this image floating around on Facebook or news sites, but what we should really find out is: who are these men making horribly inaccurate and offensive claims about women’s bodies?

**Note, the 4 diagrams in this blog are fictional but all other information is factual, backed by sources. 


Sure, we all know who Rick Santorum and Bill O’Reilly are, but how could any doctor make these claims?

Here’s how…


~Dr. John Willke

Willke’s the president of Life Issues Institute which provides resources for pro-life groups. He also served 10 years as president of the National Right to Life Committee and founded the International Right to Life Federation. He’s an author, physician, radio personality, and according to Life Issues, an “expert in human sexuality.”

Seen as a pro-life hero, Willke’s published books such as Abortion, Questions and Answers: Why Can’t We Love Them Both, the anti-choice Handbook on Abortion and Abortion and Slavery, History Repeats which attempts to compare Roe v. Wade to Dred Scott v. Sanford.

Following Willke’s lead in that book, Santorum argued last year that Roe v. Wade denies “personhood” to fetuses the same way Dred Scott denied “personhood” to African Americans. That idea and others by Willke have had a lasting impact on the anti-choice community and are behind many of the inaccurate rape/pregnancy/abortion claims we hear from right-wing politicians including Rep. Todd Akin’s recent “forcible rape” claims.

So when Willke says, “[Rape] is a traumatic thing. She’s, shall we say, she’s uptight… She is frightened, tight, and so on. And sperm, if deposited in her vagina, are less likely to be able to fertilize. The tubes are spastic,” we now know a little more about where he’s coming from.

Willke has written for Christian Life Resources.


Mitt Romney’s 2007 campaign embraced Willke as “an important surrogate for Governor Romney’s pro-life and pro-family agenda”, and Romney expressed is pride to “have the support of a man who has meant so much to the pro-life movement in our country.”


In 2007, Romney Touted Endorsement of Doctor Who Pushed “Legitimate Rape” Junk Science


In August 2012 during the Todd Akin rape and pregnancy controversy, Willke wrote a letter to Todd Akin in which he stated “It’s time for Republican leaders to rise to the level of Rep. Akin’s principle and courage and stand with him and the Republican platform that stands for the protection of every human life.” Dr Willkie told the Washington bureau of the The Daily Telegraph that he met Romney during the latter’s 2012 campaign, when Romney had praised him: ““He told me ‘thank you for your support – we agree on almost everything, and if I am elected President I will make some major pro-life pronouncements’.”

Romney Endorsed by, Praised Dr. John Willke, Leading Proponent of Idea That Rape Lowers Pregnancy Risk

Ohio doctor active in anti-abortion movement helps perpetuate ideas about rape and pregnancy

Todd Akin Finds a Friend in Dr. John Willke, a Pro-Life ‘Founding Father’

Dr. Willke, an early adopter of the view that rape rarely leads to pregnancy, defends the beleaguered Republican congressman in an interview with The Daily Beast. By Abigail Pesta.



The Doctor Who Taught Todd Akin All About Legitimate Rape is A Real Guy. And He’s Crazy.


~Dr. Richard Dobbins

Dobbins is actually a psychologist. Well, a psychologist with a background in Christian ministry. The Richard D. Dobbins Institute of Ministry and his own website outline his way of “making the supernatural practical in our lives”  and focuses on strengthening marriage and family by undergoing Christian counseling and ministry. 


He’s the pastor at the church he founded and is a practicing licensed psychologist.

So why is Dobbins qualified to make medical claims about women’s bodies? I DON’T KNOW!


“Most women either are not fertile during assault or do not become pregnant because the trauma prompts a hormonal response that prevents ovulation.”

- Dr. Richard Dobbins, 20-year GOP contributor, 2006





In 1988, Stephen Freind, a state representative in Pennsylvania, defended his 

no-exceptions anti-abortion stance  by claiming that it was virtually impossible for a woman who is raped to become pregnant.

“The odds are one in millions and millions and millions,” Freind said in a debate in March of that year. “And there is a physical reason for that.”

Freind said that women possess a “certain secretion” that kills sperm.

“Rape, obviously, is a traumatic experience. When that traumatic experience is undergone, a woman secretes a certain secretion, which has a tendency to kill sperm.”

Freind promised to provide scientific documentation of his theory and told a cheering crowd later that month, “If you’re expecting me to back off, the answer is no.”


The Physicians for Life website. 

This website, purportedly created to help “troubled teens,” also makes similar claims:

In cases of rape, the rate of pregnancy is actually very rare. This is due to several factors which may affect conception. The victim is in immense emotional shock and her body in turn is affected. Statistics show that the rate of miscarriage is higher in these circumstances. A major factor contributing to the rare occurrence of conception in cases of rape is psychological trauma. Stress has been known to alter bodily functions, the menstrual cycle included. And in order for a woman to conceive a complex blend of hormones must be formed. The production of these certain hormones is easily affected by emotions, in which of course the rape itself factors in greatly. Hence, the chances of actual conception—ovulation, fertilization, implantation—for the rape victim are considerably lowered.


In 1998, Fay Boozman, a Republican candidate for Senate in Arkansas, got in trouble for embracing this idea. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that Boozman said the inability to get pregnant from rape stemmed from “God’s little protective shield”—a report Boozman denied before saying that it was in fact an “adrenaline rush” that prevented conception from rape. 

The Abortion Scam: Why Pro-Choice is Really Anti-Woman- The Physical Assault on Women


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