Todd Akin’s Abortion Comments Could Damage His Standing in Senate Race

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Aug. 20 2012 3:54 PM

Todd Akin’s Abortion Comments Could Damage His Standing in Senate Race

Congressman Todd Akin might be on the verge of becoming a cautionary tale for men who want to make an argument against legal abortion.

The Missouri representative is walking back comments he made in an interview released Sunday while defending his antiabortion stance. Talking about what he described as rare instances of pregnancy caused by “legitimate rape,” the congressman suggested women had the power to stop unwanted pregnancies without abortion, saying “the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down.”

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Democrats and abortion rights activists reacted immediately, calling the comments inappropriate and inaccurate. Rep. Akin’s opponent in the upcoming Missouri Senate race, Senator Claire McCaskill, said she was “stunned” by his comments. Akin said that he “misspoke” during the interview, but has a legislative history of opposing everything from the morning-after pill to delivering federal help to some rape victims.

Democrats hope firestorm could move recent polling in Missouri that shows Rep. Akin ahead of Sen. McCaskill—especially among certain demographics. Some reports now suggest Republicans at the local and national level want Akin to withdraw from the race entirely, so that they can replace him with a less controversial candidate.

Video by Paca Thomas.

Ben Johnson is the producer of Marketplace Tech from American Public Media.

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