Mitt Romney and the chairman of the Republican platform committee worked to distance their party from a Missouri Senate candidate’s remark that “legitimate rape” rarely leads to pregnancy.
The comment by Todd Akin, 65, a congressman who is running to oust one-term U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, quickly went viral on the Internet, sparking outrage from women’s groups and Democrats and prompting him to issue an e-mailed retraction.
Romney sought to separate his campaign from the remarks, telling National Review Online that Akin’s comments were “insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong,” the former Massachusetts governor said. “Like millions of other Americans, we found them to be offensive,” he said.
Akin’s comments are receiving attention in a campaign where Republicans are seen as being hostile toward women. In the interview, Akin said abortion shouldn’t be allowed in rape cases, in part because pregnancy was unlikely to result. “From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” said Akin, who has served in the U.S. House since 2001. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Retracting his comments in a statement, Akin said: “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,” Akin said.