(CNN) – The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has launched a series of automated phone calls Monday linking House Republicans to Rep. Todd Akin's controversial comments about rape, according to a release from the organization.
The GOP's Senate candidate in Missouri came under fire when he explained his opposition to abortion by citing unnamed female bodily responses that he said prevent pregnancy in instances of "legitimate rape" during an interview with a Missouri television station.
- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
Though Akin later said he misspoke, he has caught considerable backlash from both parties, losing funding and support from key Republican groups as he heads into a heated general election with Democrat incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill. Akin has repeatedly refused to leave the race and continues to raise funds with the help of various social conservative groups like the Family Research Council and Mike Huckabee, former 2008 presidential candidate and popular conservative radio show host.
In an example of a call released by the DCCC targeting Congressman Mike Coffman, a Republican from Colorado, a voice reminds the receiver of Akin's comments then ties them to the respective representative.
"Republicans like your Congressman Mike Coffman share some of these radical, right-wing beliefs- that the government should take away a woman's access to making informed decisions about her own pregnancy," the voice will say in the calls.
The DCCC is targeting 20 Republicans in 13 states, including Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan – the Republican running mate to presumptive nominee Mitt Romney.
The DCCC's robo calls come as the GOP develops and formally accepts the party's platform on a range of issues, including abortion, at the Republican convention in Tampa beginning Monday. Democrats have termed the Republican Party's stance on abortion the "Akin-plank" in an effort to link members of the GOP to a more extreme character in the party.
The Republican's party platform opposes abortions in all cases, making no exceptions for rape or incest. Mitt Romney, however, has said that though he opposes abortion, he supports exceptions in certain cases, including rape, incest and life of the mother. Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan co-sponsored a bill last year with Akin and other House Republicans that bestowed "personhood" rights on fertilized embryos, which would allow states or Congress to determine the legality of abortions. Since being tapped as the presumptive GOP nominee's running mate, Ryan has said that he defers to Romney's stance on the issue.
Like many critics of the Republican Party, DCCC Communications Director Jesse Ferguson claims Akin's comments reflect more broadly on the Republican Party's members as a whole.
"The problem for House Republicans isn't what one of their Members said, it's what many of Republicans believe and do – support an extreme agenda that limits health care access for women," said Ferguson in a release about the calls. "Voters will hold Republicans accountable for the rest of this campaign for sharing some of Congressman Akin's extreme beliefs and now making the latest attack on women's rights part of the official platform for Republican candidates."
House Democrats see 51 seats in play come November. Democrats lost control of the House in the 2010 midterm elections, thanks to an historic 63 seat pick-up by the GOP. The party needs to grab back 25 seats to regain the majority.
- Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.