Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican candidate for Senate in Missouri, now claims he was talking "off the cuff" and "misspoke" when he said women have some sort of inner mechanism that shuts down their ability to get pregnant after a "legitimate rape".
According to Talking Points Memo, Akin's campaign issued 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. Those who perpetrate these crimes are the lowest of the low in our society and their victims will have no stronger advocate in the Senate to help ensure they have the justice they deserve.
Earlier today (Aug. 19) during a TV interview, Akin said:
“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Akin said that even in the worst-case scenario — when the supposed natural protections against unwanted pregnancy fail — abortion should still not be a legal option for the rape victim.
He did not change that stance in his most recent statement.
"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. I also recognize that there are those who, like my opponent, support abortion and I understand I may not have their support in this election."
Akin's statement immediately became an issue in the presidential campaign, according to TPM:
(Vice Presidential nominee-in-waiting) Ryan and Akin largely agree when it comes to abortion rights. Both believe abortion should be illegal even in the case of rape and incest. Both were co-sponsors of H.R. 3, the 2011 bill that would have limited the federal abortion coverage exemption only to victims of “forcible rape” and women whose physical health was in danger from her pregnancy, closing a supposed loophole in health-of-the-mother exemptions conservatives have been crowing about for years.
After massive vocal protest from women’s rights advocates, the sponsors dropped the “forcible rape” language from the bill, giving up their quest to redefine rape in the federal code with little explanation.
With the campaign already lagging in the polls among women voters, this remark by Akin and his close work with Ryan certainly will not help close that gap.
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