Senate Candidate and Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) told a local television station on Sunday that “legitimate rape” rarely produces pregnancy because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Akin cited conversations with unnamed doctors for the bizarre claim.
Akin sponsored legislation that would redefine rape in federal law to limit funding for abortion providers and has a long track record of uninformed and extreme views about women’s health. He has a consistently radical anti-choice voting record in the House, wants to ban the morning after pill, and has expressed concern that criminalizing marital rape gives women “a legal weapon to beat up on the husband” during a divorce.
Akin’s crusade against women’s access to medical services fits with his broader worldview, which is heavily influenced by a particularly virulent group of fundamentalist thinkers described as “Christian supremacists” by the Anti-Defamation League.
- Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who is going to face Akin in November, responds:
- “The national rape-related pregnancy rate is 5.0% per rape among victims of reproductive age (aged 12 to 45); among adult women an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year. “
- Akin responds to the controversy, says he “misspoke.” He does not apologize. Full text here.
- The Romney campaign releases a statement: “Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape.”