If there is something everyone can agree on, it would seem that the idea that rape can result in unwanted pregnancy would be right up there at the top of the list.
Not so in Missouri, where the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate on Sunday advanced the theory that the female reproductive system shuts down when a woman is being raped, thus preventing conception.
Rep. Todd Akin, a tea party candidate who is challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in the closely watched race, was asked in a local television interview about whether he supports access to abortion in the case of rape.
“If abortion could be considered in case of, say, a tubal pregnancy [which threatens the mother’s life], what about in the case of rape?” asked KTVI host Charles Jaco, in a clip that was disseminated by Talking Points Memo. “Should it be legal or not?”
“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Akin said, referring to conception following a rape. “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.”
The answer by Akin — who sits on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology — led to instant condemnation from his opponent and women’s advocates.
Read responses in regards to Representative Akin’s comment in the Los Angeles Times