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Monday, August 20, 2012

Rep. Todd Akin’s ‘Legitimate Rape’ Comment Prompts Backlash

Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin is facing criticism after his comment that women’s bodies can prevent pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape.” (AP)

Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin is facing harsh criticism after his comment that women’s bodies can prevent pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape.”

Akin, a six-term congressman running against incumbent Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill, spoke on the “Jaco Report” on the local Fox TV station in St. Louis, where he was asked whether abortion should be legal in cases of pregnancy from rape.

“It seems to me, first of all,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. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. You know, I think that there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist, and not attacking the child,” he said.

Akin has since issued a statement saying he misspoke during the interview, and that his comments didn’t reflect his “deep empathy” for rape victims. But he didn’t take back or clarify his reference to “legitimate rape.”

Experts estimate that about 30,000 American women each year become pregnant as a result of rape.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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