In a recent interview with KTVI-TV Todd Akin is once again causing controversy in a hotly contested senate battle with Claire McCaskill., this time questioning the validity of rape and the consequences of pregnancy.
“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Mr. Akin said of pregnancies from rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. 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.
Mr. Akin backtracked on this statement within hours, claiming he “misspoke” and released 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,” Mr. Akin, who has a background in engineering and is a member of the House science committee, said in a 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.” NY Time 8/18/2012
Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney also quickly distanced himself from the remarks.
“Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement,” the campaign said. “A Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape.
However, Paul Ryan and Mr. Akin co-sponsored a bill that redefines rape.
Democrats wasted no time responding to Mr. Akin’s comments on both social media and cable news.
Claire McCaskill tweeted “As a woman & former prosecutor who handled 100s of rape cases, I’m stunned by Rep Akin’s comments about victims this AM.”
Mike Talboy, the Democratic minority leader in the Missouri Legislature, said that he had spoken to members of both parties about Mr. Akin’s comments and had found uniform outrage.
“Nobody has defended him,” Mr. Talboy said. “That, I think, is pretty telling.”
This comes on a the heels of a recent flap where Mr. Akin claimed that he would cut federal funding for free lunches to 650.000 Missouri children.