Republican Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown on Monday called on his party’s Missouri Senate candidate to drop out following his claim that women who were victims of “legitimate” rape could not get pregnant.
“As a husband and father of two young women, I found Todd Akin’s comments about women and rape outrageous, inappropriate and wrong,” Brown said in a statement. “There is no place in our public discourse for this type of offensive thinking. Not only should he apologize, but I believe Rep. Akin’s statement was so far out of bounds that he should resign the nomination for U.S. Senate in Missouri.”
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.
Although Akin later insisted that he “misspoke,” Republicans quickly condemned the remarks.
“Congressman’s Akin comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong,” presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney told The National Review. “Like millions of other Americans, we found them to be offensive.”
Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT) said that he also found Akin’s comment “offensive and reprehensible.”
But Republican strategist Karl Rove avoided repudiating Akin and quickly changed subject when he was asked about it on Fox News on Monday.
“Let’s see how it plays out here,” Rove told Fox News host Martha MacCallum. “He’s got some real explaining to do.”
Update (11:30 a.m. ET): Conservative pundit Michelle Malkin suggested that Republicans should reconsider Akin’s nomination.
“There’s no sugar-coating or whitewashing this. It wasn’t a ‘gaffe.’ It was ignorant, garbled nonsense,” Malkin wrote. “The question for Republicans in Missouri is whether sticking by self-inflicted-wounded Akin is more important than securing a U.S. Senate majority.”
“As a woman and a mother, I found Representative Akin’s comments this weekend to be sickening and deeply offensive. There is no such thing as ‘legitimate rape.’ His remarks undermine his ability to command the respect necessary for leadership and he should step aside,” Wilson said in a statement.
Update (3:15 p.m. ET): House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called Akin’s comments “another manifestation of the total disregard and disrespect of women by Republican leaders.”
“Unfortunately, this attitude is nothing new,” Pelosi said in a statement. “Congressman Akin has already joined Congressman Paul Ryan and other House Republicans in co-sponsoring a bill to weaken the definition of ‘rape.’ It is almost impossible to believe that any political leader would suggest that any case of rape is ‘legitimate.’ The fact remains: Congressman Akin’s offensive comments are simply one more part of the Republican attack on women’s health.”
“Republicans are true to their nature – maintaining a low opinion of the rights critical to the health and security of America’s women. Americans were shocked earlier this year when Republicans would not even let a woman testify on key women’s health issues. Congressman Akin’s reprehensible remarks are inexcusable; the legislation he is co-sponsoring is disgraceful; and both must be condemned by leaders regardless of party.”
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