Missouri Republican congressman says 'misspoke' about raped women

Published: August 20, 2012

"It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that is really rare," Akin said of pregnancy caused by rape. PHOTO: WIKIPEDIA

WASHINGTON: The Republican challenger for a hotly contested US Senate seat in Missouri said on Sunday that he “misspoke” when he said women have biological defenses to prevent pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape,” making legal abortion rights unnecessary.

US Representative Todd Akin, who is running against Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill in the November 6 election, made the comments to KTVI television in St. Louis, drawing swift protest from McCaskill and other Democrats.

Akin, a Tea Party-backed conservative who opposes abortion, said in the interview that the need for abortions in the case of rape was “a particularly tough ethical question.”

“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that is really rare,” Akin said of pregnancy caused by rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” Akin said. “But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”

McCaskill, who is considered one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats in a state that has shifted to the right since she was first elected in 2006, immediately fired off a rebuke on Twitter.

“As a woman and former prosecutor who handled 100s of rape cases, I’m stunned by Rep. Akin’s comments about victims this AM,” she wrote.

Akin later backtracked, saying in a statement: “In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year.”

He promised that rape victims “will have no stronger advocate in the Senate to help ensure they have the justice they deserve” if he was elected. However, Akin did not back down on his position opposing abortion in the case of rape, adding: “I believe deeply in the protection of all life, and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action.”

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign distanced itself from Akin’s position. “Governor Romney and congressman (Paul) Ryan disagree with Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape,” the statement read.

Akin, a six-term congressman from the St. Louis suburbs, won a hard-fought three-way primary race two weeks ago. McCaskill’s campaign spent funds during that campaign to help him win, viewing him as a far-right conservative who would be easier to defeat in November.

Reader Comments (7)

  • Jane
    Aug 20, 2012 - 7:02PM

    Todd Akin (and many like-minded Republican Conservatives) are a reminder/throwback to the America they want to take back. When we think of the 50′ and 60′s with nostalgia for it’s more simple times,,,,,,converstions like that were commonplace at the Dinner Party, Swim Club and on the Golf Course.

    And each time they open their mouths,,,,,,I become more sure that’s not where any of us or our kids ever want to be again.

    Keep Calm and Carry On.

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  • kumail
    Aug 20, 2012 - 7:36PM

    and we are complaining about the average Pakistani mindset…Recommend

  • ss
    Aug 20, 2012 - 10:31PM

    TTA (Tehreek-e-Taliban America)???

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  • Nayla
    Aug 20, 2012 - 11:43PM

    Wow. Just Wow. In this day and age, and in such a modernized country, I cannot believe that there is anyone who still thinks like this, and especially an educated person such as him.

    It was believed in the past that if a woman didn’t…well, you know…enjoy it, then it was impossible for pregnancy to happen. That was disproven so long ago, I can’t believe anyone still believes it any more. I could see uneducated men in third world countries believing this (like in places where they still think the woman determines the sex of the baby)…but in the US? My mind is boggled.

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  • Observer
    Aug 21, 2012 - 12:02AM

    Akin is part of the American Christian Taliban who want to take back America by 2000 years. The mentality of these American Taliban is exactly the same as the Islamic Taliban. They both use dogmatic religious reasons to take the society back to medieval era. Both believe in the superiority of their religions.

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  • gp65
    Aug 21, 2012 - 1:10AM

    @kumail: “and we are complaining about the average Pakistani mindset…”

    Even his own leadership had to disown his statement – which shows that this thought process is a fringe process in US.

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  • Adil
    Aug 21, 2012 - 5:19AM

    Buhat Nazuk Surat-e-Haal hai….lol

    I guess next time Republicans should give immigration and later on citizenship to Amir Liaquat Hussain.He’ll be the best choice for tackling such issues along with that Maulana who also couldn’t stop laughter,and he’ll be a great guide for Amir.

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