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 six-term congressman and a Tea Party favorite challenging incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill.
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 in these situations.
“From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Akin said. “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."
A statement released by the McCaskill campaign points out that as a former prosecutor McCaskill has “worked closely with hundreds of rape victims and intimately understands their trauma and pain.”
"It is beyond comprehension that someone can be so ignorant about the emotional and physical trauma brought on by rape," said McCaskill. "The ideas that Todd Akin has expressed about the serious crime of rape and the impact on its victims are offensive."
Several hours after the interview Akin released a statement claiming that his comments to host Charles Jaco were “off the cuff” and “do not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year."
Akin’s comments about rape come during the same week that he was criticized by some members of his own party for his comments that the Senate-version of the federal farm bill put too much money into entitlement programs like food stamps and school lunch programs.
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