Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) on Monday said that it was “jaw dropping and stunning” for her Republican opponent for Senate to claim that women who are victims of “legitimate” would not get pregnant.
“This statement is kind of window into Todd Akin’s mind,” McCaskill explained to MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough. “If you really look at his record, you realize that while this is jaw dropping and stunning — you know, I spent 10 years as a prosecutor and did hundreds and hundreds rape cases, held their hands, cried with them. That’s why, for me, this is incredibly painful because it shows how many people are out there — sometimes in very important positions — that just don’t understand the trauma and don’t understand what it means.”
During an interview with a local TV station over the weekend, Akin had been asked if his extreme anti-abortion views applied to cases where the woman had been raped.
“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,” Akin said.
In a statement on Sunday, Akin claimed that he “misspoke,” but added that he still believes “deeply in the protection of all life and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action.”
McCaskill insisted on Monday that the “legitimate” rape remark was part of a pattern of fringe views held by Akin.
“He wants to abolish the minimum wage,” the Missouri senator noted. “Back when he was in the Missouri Legislature, he had a hard time getting comfortable with the notion that we would make martial rape illegal. He indicated at the time that he thought that could make for messy divorces. … You know, this is a very, very, very, very, very, very conservative person.
“He may be acting like he was backtracking but he didn’t say he was wrong,” McCaskill continued. “He is now acknowledging that someone can become pregnant when they have been raped. But what he said in his statement was that it was rare, there was something in the women’s body that could, you know, shut down a pregnancy because if it was a ‘legitimate’ rape. He hasn’t said that’s a wrong statement, he hasn’t apologized for that statement.”
“And he doubled down on the notion that not only should rape victims not be entitled to terminate a pregnancy, the morning after he was nominated, he was given an opportunity to talk about the morning after pill and he said that the did not think that a rape victim should be allowed to take the morning after pill, which science tells you that is not terminating a pregnancy. That’s just a mega-dose of birth control that prevents a pregnancy from occurring.”
Akin has also co-sponsored a bill with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and many other House Republicans that would have redefined rape, saying that only victims of “forcible rape” would qualify for federally funded abortions.
“It’s basically putting more restrictions on what was defined historically as rape,” NARAL Pro-Choice America President Nancy Keenan told The Daily Beast in 2011.
Watch this video from MSNBC’s Morning Joe, broadcast Aug. 20, 2012.