Congressman Todd Akin won the Republican candidacy for the Missouri Senate just two weeks ago, and today some conservatives are asking him to drop out of the race.
In an interview in KTVI-TV in St. Louis, Akin addressed a question about a woman’s abortion rights when her pregnancy results from being a rape victim. On Sunday, Akin said that rarely happens.
“First of all, from what I understand from doctors, pregnancy from rape is really rare,” Akin said, according to the Washington Post. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Conservatives Reihan Salam of National Review and John McCormack of The Weekly Standard said Akin should leave the Senate race. Akin won the Missouri Senate Republican nomination with 36 percent of the vote, according to CSMonitor.com. Akin was leading Senator Claire McCaskill by about five points before his remarks.
Outrage resulting from his comments led Akin to issue a retraction later on Sunday. He said, according to Bloomberg, “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.”
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney distanced himself from Akin’s remarks. Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said, according to nbcnews.com, "Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape."
McCaskill posted on Twitter, “As a woman & former prosecutor who handled 100s of rape cases, I'm stunned by Rep Akin's comments about victims.” The congressman did receive some support on Twitter by CNN’s Dana Loesch. Loesch posted, according to CNN, "Akin was trying to fit medical explanation into a soundbite.”
“Akin failed a soundbite. McCaskill helped tank the economy. If you think his bad is worse, join the left,” she continued.
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network and Planned Parenthood both estimate that 5 percent of pregnancies happen after a rape. It is difficult to produce such statistics because rape often goes unreported.