Republican backtracks on 'legitimate rape'

2012-08-20 09:01

Washington - The Republican challenger for a hotly contested US Senate seat in Missouri said on Sunday that he "misspoke" when he said women have biological defences to prevent pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape", making legal abortion rights unnecessary.

US Representative Todd Akin, who is running against Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill in the 6 November election, made the comments to KTVI television in St Louis, drawing swift protest from McCaskill and other Democrats.

Akin, a Tea Party-backed conservative who opposes abortion, said in the interview that the need for abortions in the case of rape was "a particularly tough ethical question".

"It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that is really rare," Akin said of pregnancy caused by rape. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," Akin said.

"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."

McCaskill, who is considered one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats in a state that has shifted to the right since she was first elected in 2006, immediately fired off a rebuke on Twitter.

No backing down on abortion

"As a woman and former prosecutor who handled 100s of rape cases, I'm stunned by [Representative] Akin's comments about victims this AM," she wrote.

Akin later backtracked, saying in 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."

He promised that rape victims "will have no stronger advocate in the Senate to help ensure they have the justice they deserve" if he was elected.

However, Akin did not back down on his position opposing abortion in the case of rape, adding: "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."

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign distanced itself from Akin's position.

"Governor Romney and congressman [Paul] Ryan disagree with Mr Akin's statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape," the statement read.

Akin, a six-term congressman from the St Louis suburbs, won a hard-fought three-way primary race two weeks ago. McCaskill's campaign spent funds during that campaign to help him win, viewing him as a far-right conservative who would be easier to defeat in November.

  • arthur.hugh - 2012-08-20 09:38

    What a complete dithering idiot.

      gungets.tuft - 2012-08-21 08:34

      Misspoke .. MISSPOKE .. is that even a word. Definition of misspoke is "Make a complete tw#t of myself and someone with a brain just pointed that out. Now I am sorry. I don't know what for, but they told me that I am sorry" Please pour some chlorine into his gene pool!!!

  • lownabester - 2012-08-20 10:02

    They are all a bunch of idiots, Mitt Romeny will have his dirty hands full with these people. Well he is paying his way, just not his taxes.

  • Pulverturm - 2012-08-20 10:14

    These kind of comments belong in the same basket as those of JZ when he said he took a shower after sleeping with an HIV+ woman to prevent infection. SIES, how could you be so ignorant. And then you want to force a woman to have to carry to term a baby conceived from a violent act that has ruined her life! Disgusting!

      Heibrin - 2012-08-20 12:21

      Difference between 1st and 3rd world countries: in SA you get made president for such stupidity, in the US he's probably going to lose the local elections after this.

      Paul - 2012-08-20 16:08

      yeah Heibrin. Cos Bush was a real genius ....

  • zaaristotle - 2012-08-20 10:32

    Goodness, with this guys basic medical knowledge it sounds if he should rather still be in a cave, dragging his knuckels on the floor - Idiot - but then that explains his political ambitions.

      bruce.wells.963 - 2012-08-20 11:00

      I agree with your comment on this medical knowledge, and what on earth does he mean by "legitimate rape"!?

      gungets.tuft - 2012-08-21 08:36

      Bruce - I think he is saying that some women call it rape when it really wasn't (therefore not legitimate rape), that they wanted it. It just compounds how stupid he is. FFS - politicians. I wonder if there is such a thing as legitimate assassination?

  • karen.gerhardi - 2012-08-20 11:17

    Why does he get an opinion? It's easy to say you respect all life when you will never be forced to carry to term the baby of your rapist. Quoting from an opinion piece on "This week the Georgia State Legislature debated a bill in the House that would make it necessary for some women to carry stillborn or dying fetuses until they "naturally" go into labor. In arguing for this bill Representative Terry England described his empathy for pregnant cows and pigs in the same situation". His argument being that animals can do it, so can women.

      arthur.hugh - 2012-08-20 11:28

      Disgusting. It's like we're going back to the stone age.

      lungelo.yili - 2012-08-20 13:59

      bunch of dithering idiots. these idiots forget they represent ppl when they get elected into power.

      gungets.tuft - 2012-08-21 08:37

      I said it earlier - we need more chlorine in the gene pool.

  • Bush - 2012-08-20 11:51

    My guess would be that he meant to say "bona fide" rape, i.e. when it was indeed rape and not a false claim. Instead he said "legitimate" rape, to which one can only say ... wow, and he want to be in the US Senate?!

      Bush - 2012-08-20 11:58


      john.loveland.9 - 2012-08-20 13:33

      And who will decide what is "bona fide" or "legitimate" rape? His comments are unacceptable either way.

      wesleywt - 2012-08-20 14:48

      No Peter, he meant that you don't get pregnant if you are raped. That if get pregnant from a rape, then it wasn't really rape.

  • Duits - 2012-08-20 13:08

    Shame, no cure for doffness!

  • theunis.botha.376 - 2012-08-20 15:39

    If a person is against abortion, it is either one or the other. The reason I am against abortion, is because there is a precious innocent life involved in the decision. One that didn't ask to be there. I as one who has live on earth 70 years, I would like that baby to have the same chance I did and then let him or her decide whether abortion is right or wrong. I heard a testimony of a man, who was a minister of the Gospel and was the product of a rape and said that he thanked his mother for not aborting him.

      antoinette.jordaan - 2012-08-20 15:49

      Well, if his mother aborted him, this conversation would not have happened, right?

      gungets.tuft - 2012-08-21 08:40

      Goody. Then you agree with Todd Akin. And you agree that the faulty genes of rapists should be protected, hell, nurtured. So you found one person who was the product of a rape and that makes it all OK. Yay. FFS.

  • theunis.botha.376 - 2012-08-22 12:35

    To Gungets, Your comments to Theunis Botha speaks of the genes of the rapist to be eliminated by abortion. Do you also suggest that the offspring of murderers should be eliminated, so that their genes will not be carried forward?

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