Gingrey says he 'misconstrued' his position on rape
January 11th, 2013
12:51 PM ET
2 years ago

Gingrey says he 'misconstrued' his position on rape

(CNN) – Republican U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia said controversial comments he made on rape "misconstrued" his own position on the topic, according to a statement released by his office Friday.

Appearing Thursday at a local Chamber of Commerce meeting in Smyrna, Ga., Gingrey took questions on abortion rights and a controversial Georgia law that bans abortions for women more than 20 weeks pregnant.

According to the Marietta Daily-Journal, Gingrey called "a little bit over the top" statements that derailed the Senate campaigns of Republicans Richard Mourdock and Rep. Todd Akin. Then he tried to analyze their underlying positions, ultimately saying Akin was "partly right."

"What [Akin] meant by legitimate rape was just look, someone can say I was raped: a scared-to-death 15-year-old that becomes impregnated by her boyfriend and then has to tell her parents, that's pretty tough and might on some occasion say, 'Hey, I was raped.' That's what he meant when he said legitimate rape versus non-legitimate rape," Gingrey said, according to the Daily-Journal.

"I don't find anything so horrible about that," he continued. "But then he went on and said that in a situation of rape, of a legitimate rape, a woman's body has a way of shutting down so the pregnancy would not occur. He's partly right on that."

Gingrey, an obstetrician-gynecologist, has served in the House since 2002 and chairs the GOP Doctors Caucus.

As the comments began spreading Friday morning, the congressman's office released this statement: "At a breakfast yesterday morning, I was asked why Democrats made abortion a central theme of the presidential campaign. I do not defend, nor do I stand by, the remarks made by Rep. Akin and Mr. Mourdock. In my attempt to provide context as to what I presumed they meant, my position was misconstrued."

Once leading in the polls, former Rep. Akin and Richard Mourdock both lost their Senate races to Democrats last November after their comments on pregnancy and rape were widely circulated.

When asked on a local news show what he thought about abortion in the case of rape, Akin sparked the controversy when he said, "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."

Mourdock was participating in a televised debate against then-Rep. Joe Donnelly and libertarian Andrew Horning when he said, "Life is that gift from God that I think even if life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee seized on Gingrey's comments in a press release Friday afternoon, calling them "the latest in a long line of Republicans to expose their party's extreme, offensive, and medically ignorant views about rape."

"That the Chairman of the Republican Doctors Caucus shares former Congressman Todd Akin's extreme, offensive views on women and rape is both alarming and telling," said Jesse Ferguson, DCCC communications director. "Last November women across the country sent the message loud and clear that they are not interested in electing men who don't take women's health and safety seriously, but House Republicans have apparently still not gotten that message."


Filed under: Abortion • GOP • Phil Gingrey
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. GTA

    "But then he went on and said that in a situation of rape, of a legitimate rape, a woman's body has a way of shutting down so the pregnancy would not occur. He's partly right on that."

    What??? I cannot believe that an OB-GYN would say such a thing.
    His doctorate must be honorary. I hope his patients know this, assuming that he still has any.

    January 11, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  2. The Real Tom Paine

    Wow. Why can't they ever keep it simple?

    January 11, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  3. Randy, San Francisco

    Rep Gingrey represents why rebranding the GOP/Tea Party message is so difficult. Changing the culture in the party will take a very long time when it is dominated by aging white men.

    January 11, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  4. ART

    Where did this "Dr" get his degree? My guess would be the same school that gave Michelle Bauchman her law degree.In any case that school should be stripped of its accreditation

    January 11, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  5. Mr. Moderate

    Gingery, wasn't he also the guy that ended up apologizing to Rush Limbaugh for a perceived insult? And this is a US Congressman?

    January 11, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  6. The Other Bob

    How does one misconstrue one's own position??? George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four has come to pas, and double speak is the official language for Gingrey.

    January 11, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  7. California Gary

    Now here is another example of why the GOP is solidly behind the NRA in support of gun ownership. They need them in order to shoot themselves in the foot every time they open their mouths.

    January 11, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  8. v_mag

    I never heard anyone note the obvious about Akin's statement. If rape cannot produce a pregnancy, then why on earth would you advocate that abortions not be allowed in the case of rape? There would be no need for that law, since pregnancy would never result from rape.

    January 11, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  9. Boo

    California Gary – great comment!!!!

    January 11, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  10. Mikey

    You've got to love it when politicians say something disgusting and then try to explain it away by pretending they said something different than what they actually said.

    "In my attempt to provide context as to what I presumed they meant, my position was misconstrued." Oh, BULLPUCKY!

    January 11, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  11. v_mag

    Gingrey is mis-con-screwed.

    January 11, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    "Now here is another example of why the GOP is solidly behind the NRA in support of gun ownership. They need them in order to shoot themselves in the foot every time they open their mouths."

    This one makes the top ten plays of the day.

    January 11, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  13. Person of Interest

    "But then he went on and said that in a situation of rape, of a legitimate rape, a woman's body has a way of shutting down so the pregnancy would not occur. He's partly right on that."

    How is this misconstrued? You are making a false statement. You could at least clarify what you mean by "partly right." However, since women have been getting pregnant from rape since the beginning of man I'm pretty sure there is a ton of evidence that would suggest that you can get pregnant from "legitimate rape."

    January 11, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  14. Tony

    This should be simple for you, Dr. Gingrey. There are women who lie about being raped, but there is no such thing as legitimate rape.

    January 11, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  15. rs

    GOP men apparently support rape. At least Gingrey didn't wind up filibustering himself.

    The GOP is SUCH a train wreck!

    January 11, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  16. hypatia

    another thug fool proving how low he can grovel to suck up to a Koch.

    January 11, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  17. Outsider.92

    Can these idiots just stick to "Let's just not spend so much?"

    January 11, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  18. kathy

    He went to the Medical College of GA. Was sued back in 2007 and settled for $500,000...now you know why he is in politics...he was a horrible doctor! Yup he has applologized to the leader of the GOP, Rush Limpbaugh. This is who the "inbread-mouth-breathing-redneck-hicks" in Georgia vote for! Such idiots!!!!

    January 11, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  19. WhereIsPalin

    Day 1: Make comment
    Day 2: Check which way the wind is blowing and change comment if necessary

    January 11, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  20. Joi Gibson

    "He's partly right" that a woman's body can shut down a pregnancy in a legitimate rape. What an imbecile. If this man is an ob-gyn, I hope his patients will run for the hills.

    January 11, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  21. Sorensen

    Just look at that ugly, angry, guilty face. It tells the whole story.

    January 11, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  22. sonny chapman

    Veri de vino. Truth in wine. Truth by those intoxicated with power.

    January 11, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  23. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I'd like to know that where these Republicans received their biology education so I don't go there. Science is basic to our understanding of the world. Without it, we can't advance the ways to help people recover from illness and move forward and develop new products and refine our understanding of the world we live in.

    January 11, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  24. Jack

    Man, if you're a woman you better stay away from that Doctor. Not sure which classes he missed in med school but boy–freaky biscuits!

    January 11, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  25. Jack

    You also have to wonder why a male would want to go into ob/gyn. Most women I know choose a female ob/gyn doctor. This is a perfect example of why women should not go to a male ob/gyn. This doc doesn't have a clue about women. Trying to explain legitimate rape. Go figure.

    January 11, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
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