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US congressman says 'legitimate rape' rarely leads to pregnancy

Missouri congressman and US senate hopeful Todd Akin later said he “misspoke” in the interview in which he made the controversial comments.

Todd Akin appearing on the Jaco Report yesterday morning
Todd Akin appearing on the Jaco Report yesterday morning
Image: Screengrab via YouTube

A CONGRESSMAN AND US Senate hopeful has said that he misspoke in an interview in which he said that “legitimate rape” rarely leads to pregnancy because of a woman’s biological defences.

Missouri representative Todd Akin made the claim in an interview in which he was explaining his opposition to all forms of abortion even in the case of rape.

Appearing on KTVI-TV’s Jaco Report on Sunday, Akin was asked about abortion in the case of rape and said: “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 and shut that whole thing down but let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. You know I think there should be some punishment but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.


A clip of the interview quickly went viral and led to widespread criticism of the congressman for his remarks including from the incumbent senator in Missouri, Claire McCaskill.

The Democrat told her Twitter followers: “As a woman & former prosecutor who handled 100s of rape cases,I’m stunned by Rep Akin’s comments about victims this AM.”

In a statement issued on his website later yesterday, Akin said: “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.

“Those who perpetrate these crimes are the lowest of the low in our society and their victims will have no stronger advocate in the Senate to help ensure they have the justice they deserve.”

Read: So was US vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan popular in school?

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Hugh O'Connell

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