An Illegitimate Concern

GOP Senate Nominee Todd Akin Claims He Misspoke About “Legitimate Rape”

Rep. Todd Akin is running for Senate in Missouri, though how he’s running after putting his foot in his mouth we’ll never know. Over the weekend, the Republican nominee voiced his opinions about abortion to KTVI-TV, in which he said:

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. 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 on the rapist and not attacking the child.”

Akin’s opponent, Sen. Claire McCaskill, tweeted that she was stunned by Akin’s comments:

Akin later issued a statement claiming that he “misspoke”:

“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.”

Akin has been a vocal opponent of gays serving in the military as well as same-sex marriage, so while his comments about abortion are startling—and incredibly ill-informed—they are at least in character.