Rep. Todd Akin is facing a huge amount of criticism for remarks he made on Sunday while clarifying his opposition to abortion. Akin said pregnancy doesn't often occur in "a legitimate rape," because "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
Akin was giving an interview on The Jaco Report when he made his comments. Asked about his position on abortion, even in extreme cases like rape, Akin said he was still against it. "First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare," Akin said. "If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." Which, wait, no. That's not how that works.
But Akin continued, arguing that the onus should fall on the attacker and not on the child. "Let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work, or something," Akin said. "I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child." Akin is currently the Republican nominee for a Missouri Senate seat against Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill.
Talking Points Memo found a 1996 study by the American Journal of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that shows pregnancy from rape happens pretty frequently.
Claire McCaskill responded to Akin's comments on Twitter:
As a woman & former prosecutor who handled 100s of rape cases,I'm stunned by Rep Akin's comments about victims this AM bit.ly/NahiHz— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) August 19, 2012
You can watch the whole unedited interview here. The comments about rape start around the 4 minute mark:
UPDATE: Akin has released a statement saying "In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it's clear that I misspoke", though he doesn't explain which part of his comments were incorrect.