Rep. Akin “Misspoke” About Legitimate Rape, GOP in a Panic

Republicans were in full damage control mode on Sunday night, as they sought to mitigate the damage caused by the “legitimate rape” comments of Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo.

On a St. Louis talk show, Akin, who is seeking the Senate seat currently held by Sen. Claire McCaskill, R-Mo., said that he opposed abortion in all cases, including in cases of rape and incest, because in cases of “legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” The statement drew outrage from across the aisle, including from one of Akin’s primary opponents.

“Todd Akin’s remarks about ‘legitimate rape’ were inexcusable, insulting and embarrassing to the GOP,” said former Missouri State Treasurer Sarah Steelman, who lost to Akin in the primary.

Other Republican senate candidates, including Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., and Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., also criticized Akin.

The comments were not merely motivated by outrage over the statement. McKaskill’s Missouri seat was considered one of the most likely pick-ups for Republicans in a closely-fought battle for control of the U.S. Senate. If Akin loses, it makes the task of taking control of the upper house significantly more difficult for the GOP.

Ryan, Akin Partnered to Redefine Rape

The campaign of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney also tried to distance itself from the comments on Sunday night, but their attempts were complicated by the history of Romney’s running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who partnered with Akin on a measure that would have redefined rape at the federal level.

“Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape,” said campaign spokesperson Amanda Henneberg in a statement.

The position articulated by the Romney-Ryan campaign was at odds with the previously-stated position of Ryan, who has been opposed to abortion in all cases, including rape and incest. It also brought up a reminder that Ryan, like Akin, sought to redefine the rape exception to the federal ban on abortion funding so that it only covers “forcible rape.”

Both Akin and Ryan co-sponsored H.R. 3, which would have barred federal funding of abortion in cases of statutory and acquaintance rape. The bill passed through the GOP-controlled House of Representatives, but died in the Senate.

Akin: I “Misspoke”

Akin, perhaps sensing that his campaign was in jeopardy, said in a statement on Sunday that he “misspoke,” but stopped short of apologizing.

“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. He did not clarify what, exactly, he misspoke about.

Akin did add, “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.”

However, Akin did not waver in his opposition to abortion even in cases of rape and incest.

“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,” Akin said.

Related Stories

GOP Rep. Akin: Women Can’t Get Pregnant by ‘Legitimate’ Rape

Republicans Re-Introduce Forcible Rape

Are There Moderate Conservatives In Missouri?

Image Credit: K. Sawyer Photography


marc p.
Marc P5 years ago

GOP: Don't worry, the general public will forget it was said in just a few minutes.

Pearl Duval
Pearl Duval5 years ago

For Akin to be so publicly ignorant of basic human biology does not bode well for the next generation of United Staters. He is the living proof of what kind of person will come out of ultra religious, anti-science schools in the near futur.
Watch out ladies, your are in for a brand new fight for your most basic rights.
Heaven hep us !!

Hope Foley
Hope Foley5 years ago

Kato would be proud to see that his legacy of setting misogyny into law is still alive and well thousands of years after he proclaimed that women must not be allowed equality for fear that they would "become your masters".

Stanley Rampersad
Stanley Balgobin5 years ago

Adkin did not misspeak. He truly believes women invite rape, and should not be granted abortions. This is the philosophy of Ryan. Vote Obama. Don't let the rabid neo-cons rule our lives.Take back the House from the fundamentalist TParty.

Carol Henderson
Carol Henderson5 years ago

The ignorance of some people. Let's boot him out of the senate and keep him out of any 'power' office.

Debbie L.
Debbie Lim5 years ago

Why is he even in politics...

Anita Wisch
Anita Wisch5 years ago

Please neuter him...........we don't want/need any more mini-akins running around......

Linda T.
Linda T5 years ago

The GOP is in a panic because Akin said outloud what they plan to do if they take over the Senate in Nov. election.

Ken W.
Ken W5 years ago

The Republicans are trying to do everything they can in the WoW look out girls !!

Claire T.
Claire T5 years ago

A friend pointed out to me that what Akin may be worried about is that a woman who was not raped may claim to have been raped, so that she can get an abortion. Of course, that would only happen in a state where there were very restrictive laws about abortion and birth control.

We live in a democracy - at least right now we still do - not a theocracy. So the religious beliefs of a minority should not be made into law. The problem is that those who believe birth control and abortion are wrong are afraid. They are afraid that they may not be able to force their beliefs on the women they feel should be under their influence. So they want laws in place to prevent those women from having a choice about what happens in their lives. But every woman deserves to have the right to make her own choice about using birth control or not. Every woman deserves the right to make her own choice about whether to have an abortion or not. The woman herself deserves to make those decisions, since she is the one who will *LIVE* with those decisions.

How can we, in a nation that has always believed in individual freedoms, pass laws that restrict a woman's right to make her own choices. No woman who is opposed to using birth control can be forced to use birth control. No woman who is opposed to abortion can be forced to have an abortion. So ... those women already have their rights intact. Why should anyone be able to restrict the rights of others who do not share those beliefs? That is insane.