Congressman Todd Akin forced to quit by baby killers and genocidal maniacs
Congressman Todd Akin told to quit over rape gaffe
Obama: We shouldn’t have politicians making health decisions for women
21 August 2012 Last updated at 02:22
A Republican is facing pressure to quit a Senate race over his remarks that women’s bodies could prevent pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape”.
Leading condemnation of Representative Todd Akin, President Barack Obama said “rape is rape”.
Fellow Republicans have called on Mr Akin to withdraw his candidacy for Missouri’s Senate seat.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney swiftly distanced himself from Mr Akin’s comments.
The Missouri congressman apologised on Monday, saying he had used the “wrong words the wrong way”.
During the interview for KTVI-TV on Sunday, Mr Akin was questioned about his no-exceptions view on abortion, a highly charged issue in the US.
Asked if he would like abortion to be banned even if a pregnancy was the result of rape, the 65-year-old replied: “It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that is really rare.
“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.
“But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”
At the White House on Monday, Mr Obama said the comments underscored why politicians – most of whom are men – should not make health decisions on behalf of women.
“The views expressed were offensive,” he told reporters.
“Rape is rape and the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we are talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people and certainly doesn’t make sense to me.”
The campaign of Mr Romney, who will challenge President Obama for the White House in November, quickly rebuked Mr Akin.
A spokesman for Mr Romney said that both the candidate and his running mate, Paul Ryan, disagreed with the Missouri congressman.
He also stressed that “a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape”.
Other Republicans turned on Mr Akin.
Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown and Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson called on him to step down.
“I believe Rep Akin’s statement was so far out of bounds that he should resign the nomination for US Senate in Missouri,” said Mr Brown, who is facing a tight re-election campaign this year.
Mr Johnson said Mr Akin should withdraw “for the good of the nation” because of his “reprehensible and inexcusable” comments.
The Republican Party told Mr Akin it would now not be spending any money on behalf of his campaign.
Akin rival Claire McCaskill, who has been trailing in the Senate race, pounced on his comments
National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn said Mr Akin’s comments were “indefensible” and the candidate needed to “carefully consider” what was best for him, his family and the Republican Party.
The AP reported that the NRSC was pulling $5m in funding from the race.
In an interview with CNN, Republican national committee chair Reince Priebus called Mr Akin’s comments “biologically stupid” and “bizarre”.
But in a radio interview with former Republican White House hopeful Mike Huckabee earlier on Monday, Mr Akin said he would not pull out of the race.
He also said that rape was “never legitimate”, calling it “an evil act… committed by violent predators”.
Democratic Missouri incumbent, Senator Claire McCaskill, who has been trailing in opinion polls ahead of November’s election, pounced on her challenger’s remarks.
She said it was “beyond comprehension that someone can be so ignorant about the emotional and physical trauma brought on by rape”.
Senator McCaskill said on Twitter that as a former prosecutor she had personally handled hundreds of rape cases.
Social media users reacted with outrage to Mr Akin’s remarks, expressing concern that he is a member of the House Committee on Science.
It is not the first time the six-term congressman, a long-time vocal opponent of relaxing abortion laws, has found himself in trouble on the issue of rape.
In 2011, he co-sponsored a bill that would have limited the government help available to women seeking abortions in the case of rape to cases of “forcible rape”.
After a public outcry, the House Republican party changed this language.