Missouri’s GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin is facing a wave of criticism for comments he made during an interview about pregnancies caused by rape.
Akin is a Republican U.S. Representative, and a Tea Party candidate challenging Democrat Claire McCaskill in November.
Speaking during an interview on Fox2’s Jaco Report, Akin was asked if he would support abortion in cases when a woman was raped. Akin replied that pregnancies caused by rape are rare and that women have some kind of biological defense to prevent pregnancy: “From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Akin said he felt the punishment for rape should be focused on the rapist and not "attacking the child."
Akin’s opponent, Democrat Claire McCaskill said she was “outraged” and called Akins comments “ignorant” and insensitive.
On Sunday afternoon, the Akin for Senate campaign released the following statement from Akin, by email. Here's the statement:
"As a member of Congress, I believe that working to protect the most vulnerable in our society is one of my most important responsibilities, and that includes protecting both the unborn and victims of sexual assault. In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it's clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year. Those who perpetrate these crimes are the lowest of the low in our society and their victims will have no stronger advocate in the Senate to help ensure they have the justice they deserve.
"I recognize that abortion, and particularly in the case of rape, is a very emotionally charged issue. But I believe deeply in the protection of all life and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action. I also recognize that there are those who, like my opponent, support abortion and I understand I may not have their support in this election.
"But I also believe that this election is about a wide-range of very important issues, starting with the economy and the type of country we will be leaving our children and grandchildren. We've had 42 straight months of unacceptably high unemployment, trillion dollar deficits, and Democratic leaders in Washington who are focused on growing government, instead of jobs. That is my primary focus in this campaign and while there are those who want to distract from that, knowing they cannot defend the Democrats' failed economic record of the last four years, that will continue to be my focus in the months ahead."