In an interview with a St. Louis television station on Sunday, Congressman Todd Akin, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Missouri, made the following comment:
“It seems to me, 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: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”
Akin's comment drew immediate condemnation from both sides of the political aisle.
Gov. Mitt Romney called Akin's comments "insulting, inexcusable and frankly, wrong."
President Obama also condemned the comments.
“Rape is rape, and the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we are talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people and certainly doesn’t make sense to me,” he said.
The comments have inspired fervor from all over the world. As far away as Congo, where thousands of women are regularly subjected to rape, activists have expressed deep concern over Akin's remarks.
Medical professionals have rushed to rebuke Akin's contention regarding the difficulty of becoming pregnant in the event of a rape.
Republican leaders have called on Akin to leave the Senate race, however, he has refused to do so, instead releasing an advertisement apologizing for his comments but emphasizing his desire to continue the campaign.
Bay Area Democrats such as U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer were quick to label Akin’s remarks as reflective of a general attitude in the Republican Party.
“It is important to note that this outburst is an outgrowth of the GOP march to the right when it comes to a woman’s health,” said Boxer in a statement.
Bay Area Women Against Rape Executive Director Marsha Blackstock also expressed concern over how someone with Akin’s stance could attain key positions in Congress such as a spot on the House Science Committee.
“Anytime you have people that are in power who hold those types of thoughts or at least are crazy enough to say them, really— I think, set the women’s movement back many, many years,” Blackstock told CBS Bay Area.
Though Republicans and Democrats were unified in their condemnation of Akin’s remarks, Republicans disputed the charge that Akin’s view was representative of their platform.
San Francisco Republican Chair Harmeet Dhillon has denied Akin’s views are similar to mainstream Republican views and has joined calls for Akin to withdraw his candidacy.
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