Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican Senate nominee in Missouri, claimed in a TV interview this weekend that women who are ‘legitimate’ victims of rape do not get pregnant because their bodies somehow prevent that from happening.
As first reported by TPM, Akin, in an interview with local station KTVI-TV, was defending his staunch anti-abortion stance. When asked if that view applied to extreme instances such as rape—a case some abortion opponents consider an acceptable exception to their otherwise firm opposition—Akin held his ground.
“People always try to make that one of those things, ‘Oh, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question,” Akin said. “It seems to me, first of all, what I understand from doctors is that’s really where—if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Should that supposed defense mechanism fail, Akin added that he’d still oppose abortion in that case because he believes it would punish the unborn child.
“Let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work, or something,” Akin said. “I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”
Akin is set to take on vulnerable incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) in November. The race is seen as a crucial one for the GOP, as a win there could help them tip control of the Senate back in their favor.
Jon Terbush is a Boston-based writer whose work has appeared in Talking Points Memo, Business Insider, the New Haven Register, and elsewhere. He tweets about politics, cats, and baseball via @jonterbush.
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