If you found Rep. Todd Akin's comments on "legitimate rape" positively medieval, you're right—quite literally. As far back as the 13th century, a British legal text notes that "without a woman's consent, she could not conceive," the Guardian reports. Centuries later, in 1814, a medical text notes that "without pleasure in the venereal act," conception is essentially impossible, making "absolute rape" an unlikely cause of pregnancy. The idea ties to a prevailing notion of the time: that a woman must have an orgasm to conceive.
But it's not just our ancestors who would have found Akin's claim credible. In the late 1980s, a Pennsylvania state representative called the odds of such pregnancies "one in millions and millions and millions." A decade later, a North Carolina lawmaker said that when a person was "truly raped, the juices don’t flow," reports the Washington Post, which shares a few other examples. It also shares the results of two studies: one that suggests at least 30,000 pregnancies occur from rape every year, and another that found 6.4% of rape victims under age 45 become pregnant. (Read more Todd Akin stories.)