Family Research Council President Tony Perkin on Thursday defended Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), saying that his assertion that women could not get pregnant from “legitimate rape” was the type of innocent gaffe that Vice President Joe Biden might make.
Perkins told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell that he met with Akin in private “to encourage him and the stand that he’s taken.”
“This is a challenge for him,” the evangelical leader explained. “It was a Biden-ism that he made. It was inexcusable, it was inappropriate, he has acknowledged as such and he’s moving on. Now, there are some in the Republican Party that want him to get out, he has made his decision that he’s going to stay in.
He continued: “And from my perspective as our organization endorsed him in the primary, we endorsed him based upon the totality of his record. He has been a strong advocate for national defense, a strong advocate for life, for family and for all Americans. And so our position on him and his candidacy has not changed.”
Mitchell wondered how widespread was the view in the anti-abortion movement that women who were “legitimately raped” could not get pregnant.
“I’ve never had a discussion about that,” Perkins insisted. “It’s not something that’s discussed. Look, I see that every human life is sacred, it should be welcomed into our world and protected by our laws …. Todd [Akin] said he misspoke, he apologized for it. Now, I think it’s time to move on.”
During an interview with Fox News host Mike Huckabee earlier this week, Akin admitted that he used the “wrong word” and meant to say “forcible rape” instead of “legitimate rape.”
Although presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has repeatedly said that he backs a “personhood amendment” to define a fertilize egg as a person and ban abortion in all circumstances, he responded to fallout from Akin’s remarks by saying he “would not oppose” an exception for rape.
Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, however, believes that abortion should be illegal in all cases, and has said that he is only comfortable with Romney’s position because it is a “good step in the right direction.”
But Perkins said he had not been disappointed by either of the candidates on the Republican ticket.
“The process of making public policy is you come with different perspectives and you come out with a consensus,” he pointed out. “I think the present law is where Americans are, and that is with these exceptions that are there. Do I agree with them? No, not necessarily. I see that all life is sacred.”
Watch this video from MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, broadcast Aug. 23, 2012.