Congressman Akin’s comments on rape get national attention

Posted at 6:36 PM, Aug 20, 2012
and last updated 2012-08-20 21:16:48-04

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (WTVR) - Missouri Congressman Todd Akin has apologized for making a controversial comment about rape and pregnancy.

"I've really made a couple of serious mistakes here that were just wrong, and I need to apologize for those," said Akin while featured as a guest on Mike Huckabee's radio show.

He came under fire after a St. Louis television reporter asked him about his
support of banning abortions, even in cases of rape.

Akin replied to the question by saying, "it seems to me first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut down that whole thing."

Akin now says he meant to say forcible rape instead of legitimate rape.

"Let me be clear. Rape is never legitimate, it's an evil act committed by evil predators.  I also know that people become pregnant from rape. I didn't mean to imply that wasn't the case. It does happen."

Akin just won a competitive three-way race in Missouri's Senate primary.
Several Republican Senators are now calling on him to drop out of the race.

"I find those comments unacceptable, really outrageous and obviously I have asked him to step down," said Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts.

President Obama also weighed in on the controversy. "The views expressed were offensive. Rape is rape."

In a television interview that will air Monday evening, Mitt Romney called
Akin's remarks indefensible, saying he should take 24 hours to think through
things for his family and his country.

Akin insists he'll stay in the race, saying he's not the first politician to
suffer from foot in mouth disease.

Akin is running against Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill in November- a critical battleground in the fight for control of the Senate. Akin sent out a tweet Monday afternoon saying he is in this race to win.

Read Full Statements from Sen. McCaskill and Rep. Todd Akin below:

St. Louis – Congressman Todd Akin just released the following statement regarding his interview on the “Jaco Report” broadcast this morning in St. Louis:

“As a member of Congress, I believe that working to protect the most vulnerable in our society is one of my most important responsibilities, and that includes protecting both the unborn and victims of sexual assault.  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.

“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.

“But I also believe that this election is about a wide-range of very important issues, starting with the economy and the type of country we will be leaving our children and grandchildren.  We’ve had 42 straight months of unacceptably high unemployment, trillion dollar deficits, and Democratic leaders in Washington who are focused on growing government, instead of jobs.  That is my primary focus in this campaign and while there are those who want to distract from that, knowing they cannot defend the Democrats’ failed economic record of the last four years, that will continue to be my focus in the months ahead.”

McCaskill Statement on Akin’s “Legitimate Rape” and Pregnancy Remarks

 St. Louis, Mo.–McCaskill for Missouri 2012 released the following statement from Sen. Claire McCaskill after Todd Akin said women who are victims of “legitimate rape” don’t get pregnant because their bodies have a way to “shut that whole thing down.” As a former prosecutor, Claire McCaskill has worked closely with hundreds of rape victims and intimately understands their trauma and pain. It is that experience that makes Akin’s statements so outrageous. 

“It is beyond comprehension that someone can be so ignorant about the emotional and physical trauma brought on by rape,” said McCaskill. “The ideas that Todd Akin has expressed about the serious crime of rape and the impact on its victims are offensive.”

The following statement can be attributed to Pam Fichter, President of Missouri Right to Life:

“Missouri Right to Life supports Congressman Akin’s defense of the life of an innocent unborn child conceived by rape.  Victims of sexual assault deserve a compassionate response and should not be further victimized by abortion.  Cong. Akin’s consistent defense of innocent unborn human life clearly contrasts with the anti-life positions of Senator Claire McCaskill who supports abortion on demand for the full nine months of pregnancy,  opposed the ban on partial-birth abortion,  and supported the Obama health care law which will subsidize and greatly expand abortions in this country. “