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Congressman’s Rape Comments Stir Outcry

Missouri Senate candiate said women can't become pregnant from rape


Missouri Congressman and current Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin set off a firestorm yesterday when he said women’s bodies can prevent pregnancy in the case of “legitimate rape” and that pregnancies from rapes were rare.

Akin’s gaffe looms large for the November elections, since he is running against vulnerable Democrat Claire McCaskill for that Senate seat. She narrowly won her seat in 2006, and polls conducted prior to Akin’s comments showed him with a comfortable lead that was continuing to grow. Many pundits have said McCaskill’s seat is the most vulnerable one that Democrats currently hold.

Akin’s comments brought swift condemnation from all sides, including Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. According to the Romney campaign, “Gov. Romney and Congressman (Paul) Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape.” McCaskill called the comments “offensive”, and said “It is beyond comprehension that someone can be so ignorant about the emotional and physical trauma brought on by rape.”

Akin has since apologized for his remarks, saying in a Facebook post he “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.”  Later, on Twitter, he added “[t]o be clear, all of us understand that rape can result in pregnancy & I have great empathy for all victims. I regret misspeaking.”

Akin’s ill-timed and poorly-worded comments came out of an interview done with a St. Louis television station that was broadcast yesterday. Akin was responding to a question about abortion, which he opposes in all instances, including pregnancies resulting from rape.

— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor

The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.

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