Rep. Todd Akin, a candidate for a Missouri Senate seat, has caused a firestorm across the country in reaction to comments he made in an interview with a television station in St. Louis, but he said he has no plans to resign from the race. Discussing his views on abortion, Akin said in the interview Sunday that in cases of "legitimate rape" women rarely become pregnant.
"First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare," Akin said in an interview with KTVI-TV. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
Akin, who is running against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in an extremely close race, issued a statement following the negative reaction to his comments about abortion:
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 … 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.
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan issued a statement condemning Akin's remarks. Other Republicans across the country have also been quick to distance themselves from the congressman, with head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee Sen. John Cornyn calling the comments "offensive and indefensible." He said Akin should rethink his candidacy for Senate:
I recognize that this is a difficult time for him, but over the next twenty-four hours, Congressman Akin should carefully consider what is best for him, his family, the Republican Party, and the values that he cares about and has fought for throughout his career in public service.
Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown went a step further and actually called for Akin to resign from his senatorial race, saying, "There is no place in our public discourse for this type of offensive thinking."
President Barack Obama said it is up to Republicans in Missouri to decide whether or not Akin should still be in the race, but he condemned the remarks as offensive and said, "So what I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn't have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making healthcare decisions on behalf of women."
Akin has given no indication that he plans to abandon his bid for the seat, that if won by Republicans, could give the party the majority in the Senate.
"I'm not a quitter," he said in an interview Monday.
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