The president of one of California's oldest and most powerful Republican groups asserted on Friday that rape only rarely results in pregnancy. Celeste Greig, president of the California Republican Assembly -- a group that former President Ronald Reagan called "the conscience of the Republican Party" -- said in an interview with the Bay Area News Group that she felt Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) was unfairly maligned in the storm of criticism he received for claiming victims of "legitimate rape" don't get pregnant.

"That was an insensitive remark," said Greig. "I'm sure he regretted it. He should have come back and apologized."

She was referring to Akin's statement in a 2012 TV appearance that, when a woman is raped, "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," and keeping a rapist's sperm from fertilizing an egg. Therefore, anti-abortion laws do not need to provide exceptions for victims of rape and incest.

Greig said, however, that Akin's remarks were substantively correct.

"Granted, the percentage of pregnancies due to rape is small because it's an act of violence, because the body is traumatized," she said. "I don't know what percentage of pregnancies are due to the violence of rape. Because of the trauma the body goes through, I don't know what percentage of pregnancy results from the act."

California Democrats were quick to react.

Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) said, "If a woman is near-ovulating or ovulating, and sperm comes in direct contact, she gets pregnant -- it doesn't matter what the nature of the act was. It's just outrageous, beyond absurd. It's insulting. It's the same line of thinking of 'If we just dress differently, or behave differently, we won't be raped.' They're basically saying 'while we're being raped, if we hate it enough we won't get pregnant.'"

Editor's Note: This story was updated with correct attribution for the interview to the Bay Area News Group.

[h/t to Salon]

[image via CRA webpage]