Group removes claims on rape


YOUTH DEFENCE has removed content from one of its websites suggesting the chances of a woman becoming pregnant as a result of rape are remote.

The information, which was on one of its websites until Tuesday night, said women had “natural defence mechanisms” which reduced their chances of becoming pregnant following sexual assault.

When contacted by The Irish Times, the organisation said it now considered this claim to be “unreliable”, although it ruled out an apology for its assertion.

Its prolifeinfo.iewebsite said: “Trauma from the rape may bring into play some natural defence mechanisms that reduce the likelihood of pregnancy, such as hormonal change and spasms of the Fallopian tubes, which inhibit ovulation or fertilisation.”

The site added: “The chance of conception resulting from a single act of unprotected intercourse even between consenting fertile individuals has been estimated at only 2 to 4 per cent.”

These statements were deleted this week. Youth Defence spokeswoman Ide Nic Mhathuna confirmed the changes and said it was a voluntary organisation with a number of websites that were “hard to keep up to date all the time”. She said it had “reviewed the information on that particular website earlier this week and decided that the study upon which it was based was too old, so we removed it”.

She agreed the claims had been removed only following the controversy surrounding comments from US congressman Todd Akin but stressed that, unlike him, her group had never used the phrase “legitimate rape”.

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre chief executive Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop said she did not wish to be drawn into a row with Youth Defence but highlighted statistics contained in the centre’s last annual report. “We had 263 clients who said they were at risk of pregnancy following a rape and of that number 25, or 10 per cent, subsequently became pregnant,” she said.

The Rape Crisis Centre national helpline is 1800-778888.