Amid furor over Rep. Todd Akin's comment – that women's bodies are almost always able to prevent pregnancy in cases of 'legitimate rape' – Democrats have new hope of defending their most vulnerable US Senate seat.
With one off-key comment by the Republican nominee, the Missouri Senate race has taken a dramatic turn – and suddenly, Democrats are thinking they might be able to save their most vulnerable Senate seat.
Rep. Todd Akin (R) told a TV interviewer Sunday that women’s bodies are almost always able to prevent pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape.” The six-term congressman, who faces first-term Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) in November, was responding to a question on a St. Louis television station about abortion.
Pregnancies from rape are “really rare,” Congressman Akin said, basing this view on “what I understand from doctors.” He opposes abortion in all instances, including for pregnancies that result from rape.
“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” Akin said on KTVI-TV. “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."
After immediate expressions of outrage from women’s groups and Democrats – including Senator McCaskill, who blasted Akin on Twitter – the congressman said he “misspoke.”
“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,” Akin 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.”