U.S. Representative Todd Akin poses in this undated handout provided courtesy of the House of Representatives August 20, 2012. The Republican challenger for a hotly contested U.S. Senate seat in Missouri said on August 19, 2012 that he "misspoke" when he said women have biological defenses to prevent pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape," making legal abortion rights unnecessary.
(Photo : Reuters)
Republican Senate nominee Todd Akin caused a stir on Sunday after he said that "legitimate rape" rarely caused pregnancy. During an interview with KTVI-TV in St. Louis, Rep. Akin said it was his understanding that "the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down."
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According to Reuters, Akin is a Tea-Party backed conservative running against Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill for a highly contested Senate seat in Missouri. His comments were quickly denounced by both Democrats and Republicans.
Several Republicans, including the Romney-Ryan campaign, are distancing themselves from Akin following his comments.
On Monday, Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass) released a statement calling Akin to step down from the Senate nomination. "As a husband and father of two young women, I found Todd Akin's comments about women and rape outrageous, inappropriate and wrong. There is no place in our public discourse for this type of offensive thinking. Not only should he apologize, but I believe Rep. Akin's statement was so far out of bounds that he should resign the nomination for US Senate in Missouri."
Akin later released a statement, which said he had "misspoke" during his interview but remained steadfast in his anti-abortion stance. "I recognize that abortion, and particularly in the case of rape, is a very emotionally charged issue. But 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."
The congressman, who serves on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, is not the first politician to make such statements. According to the Washington Post, Rep. Stephen Freind (R-Pa.) first argued against the probability of pregnancy through rape in the 1980s. These arguments are disputed by research published in the Journal of American Obstetrics and Gynecology, which state that an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year among adult women.