Ignorant Legislator of the Week: Todd Akin on "Legitimate Rape"
This week’s Ignorant Legislator of the Week award goes to Congressman and Senate hopeful Todd Akin of Missouri.
During a television interview last weekend, Akin explained his anti-abortion stance and why he doesn’t support exceptions in the case of rape. Said Akin of pregnancies resulting from rape, “It seems to me first of all from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Watch the video clip below.
Akin is hoping to unseat Senator Claire McCaskill. Following Akin’s televised comments, the Senator said in a statement, “It is beyond comprehension that someone can be so ignorant about the emotional and physical trauma brought on by rape. The ideas that Todd Akin has expressed about the serious crime of rape and the impact on its victims are offensive.”
As a woman & former prosecutor who handled 100s of rape cases,I'm stunned by Rep Akin's comments about victims this AM bit.ly/NahiHz
— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) August 19, 2012
Akin also issued a statement post television appearance. It said, “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.
“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.”
According to news reports, the Romney-Ryan campaign released a statement distancing the campaign from Congressman Akin’s comments and stating the candidates “would not oppose abortion in instances of rape.” Ryan, however, was a co-sponsor of H.R. 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act, which in one iteration included language that would have redefined rape as “forcible” rape.
Akin apologized via Twitter in this manner:
"To be clear, all of us understand that rape can result in pregnancy & I have great empathy for all victims. I regret misspeaking."- Todd
— Todd Akin (@ToddAkin) August 19, 2012
Click here to donate to Senator Claire McCaskill’s Senate campaign.
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