Akin Rape Comments Spark Calls for Resignation

Matt Cover | August 20, 2012 | 8:16pm EDT
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In this Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012 photograph, Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., and his wife Lulli, talk with reporters while attending the Governor's Ham Breakfast at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, Mo. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

(CNSNews.com) – Comments made by Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) about rape and abortion have caused some Republicans to call for the conservative congressman to resign his nomination to face incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). The congressman spent much of Monday apologizing for his remarks.

Republican Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) called for Akin to step aside, saying that the congressman’s comments were offensive and wrong.

“As a husband and father of two young women, I found Todd Akin's comments about women and rape outrageous, inappropriate and wrong,” Brown said in a statement on Monday. “Not only should he apologize, but I believe Rep. Akin's statement was so far out of bounds that he should resign the nomination for U.S. Senate in Missouri.”

Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) also called on Akin to step aside, saying that winning control of the Senate in November was too important to risk.

“Gaining a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate and fixing the huge challenges that face our nation is more important than any one individual’s political ambitions. Todd Akin should do the right thing for the nation and step aside today, so Missouri Republicans can put forth a candidate that can win in November,” Johnson said in a statement on Monday.

When asked on a local television news show on Sunday whether he could support abortion in a case where the child was conceived from rape, Akin said: “Well, you know, people always wanna’ try and make that one of those things, well, how do you slice this particularly tough, sort of, ethical question? 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 there should be some punishment but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not [in] attacking the child.”

Although he did not call upon Akin to quit the race, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, in a radio interview in New Hampshire, said on Monday, “He should understand that his words with regards to rape are words that I can’t defend, that we can’t defend, and we can’t defend him.” Romney added that Akin ”should spend 24 hours considering what will best help the country at this critical time.”

Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin wrote on her web site that the GOP had a choice between risking the Senate seat by continuing to back Akin or cut its losses and find a new candidate.

“GOP candidates in critical races that could swing the balance of the U.S. Senate ought to be ready for prime time. Period,” Malkin wrote. “The question for Republicans in Missouri is whether sticking by self-inflicted-wounded Akin is more important than securing a U.S. Senate majority.”

National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Chairman Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) echoed Malkin’s comments, saying in a statement that Akin should “carefully consider” whether continuing his campaign was the best idea.

“Congressman Akin’s statements were wrong, offensive, and indefensible. I recognize that this is a difficult time for him, but over the next 24 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,” Cornyn said in a statement on Monday.

On Monday afternoon, Akin repeatedly apologized for his remarks during an interview on Sean Hannity’s nationally syndicated talk-radio program. Also, on former Gov. Mike Huckabee’s radio show, Akin said, “What I said was ill-conceived, and it was wrong. I really just want to apologize to those that I’ve hurt.”

“There is no such thing as legitimate rape,” said Akin. “It’s an evil act and it’s committed by violent predators.”

On Twitter, Akin posted,  “I am in this race to win. We need a conservative Senate.”

If Akin decides to step down from the electoral race, he may have to do so on Tuesday, Aug. 21.

Missouri law allows a candidate to withdraw from a race before the eleventh Tuesday prior to an election. August 21 would be the eleventh Tuesday before the November elections.

The other option would be slightly more complicated. Missouri law allows candidates to withdraw before the sixth Tuesday before the election if they get a court order to do so and pay any costs associated with reprinting state ballots.

The deadline for this second method of withdrawal is Sept. 25, the sixth Tuesday before the election according to state law.

On Monday afternoon, Akin said he was not a quitter and planned to stay in the race.

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