August 20th, 2012
01:55 PM ET
10 years ago

Akin apologizes for rape comment

(CNN) - Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri said he was wrong and apologized Monday afternoon for claiming that "legitimate rape" rarely resulted in pregnancy.

"I made that statement in error. Let me be clear. Rape is never legitimate. It's an evil act, and it's committed by violent predators," the Republican congressman said on Mike Huckabee's radio show.

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Akin continued: "I used the wrong words in the wrong way. What I said was ill conceived and it was wrong. For that I apologize."

While answering a question Sunday about whether he thought abortion should be legal in the case of rape, Akin explained his opposition by citing unnamed medical mechanisms he said prevented pregnancy.

"First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare," Akin said of rape-induced pregnancy in an interview with KTVI. A clip of the interview was posted online by the liberal super PAC American Bridge.

"If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," Akin continued. The congressman, known for his socially conservative values, did not provide an explanation for what constituted "legitimate rape."

But echoing a statement he released Sunday night, Akin said Monday he misspoke and meant to say "forcible" rape, not "legitimate."

Further, he acknowledged that women "do become pregnant" for rape.

"I also know that people do become pregnant for rape and I didn't mean to imply that that wasn't the case. It does happen, and it's also terrible, particularly the most terrible of all," he said.

Many Republicans have quickly distanced themselves from the congressman, who's currently running as the GOP Senate nominee in a heated battle against incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

READ MORE: Dems seize upon Akin remarks as questions about Ryan's position surface

Mitt Romney harshly condemned the comments Monday, while Republican Sen. Scott Brown called for Akin to step down from his position as the nominee.

Asked Monday if he has plans to leave the Senate race, Akin said he's not a "quitter."

"I don't know that I'm the only person in public office who suffered from foot in mouth disease here," the congressman said. "On the other hand there are so many good people in Missouri who nominated me."

Akin said he's focused on the economy and feels "just as strongly as ever" that his background would be a "big asset" in replacing McCaskill.

"I'm not a quitter. My belief is we're going to take this thing forward, and by the grace of God we're going this race," he said.

"When you make a mistake what you need to do is tell people you're sorry. Don't try and hide it. Don't lie about it. Don't try to cover it up," he added. "But just because somebody makes a mistake doesn't make them useless."

- CNN's Ashley Killough and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Abortion • Health care • Missouri • Senate
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. ST

    Did Romney outsource the brain of Akin? Now it has come back thats why he is apologizing!!!!!

    August 20, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  2. Sarkis

    Wait, he only apologized for using the term "legitimate" and not for the statement that "women who are raped do not get pregnant"?!?!? Him and his fellow right-winged fascists are out of touch with reality! No difference between them and the taliban... Whats next? Stoning women who are rape victims?

    August 20, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  3. Gdawg

    The scary things are that:

    a) there are plenty more like him, and I suspect not just men but some women too;
    b) this moron sits on the Committee that has oversight of science and technology in the U.S. He actually votes on budgets for and helps make policy that determines what NASA, NSF, DOE, USEPA and others do;
    c) that comb-over is hideous

    August 20, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  4. American People

    The GOP plan for the American People: Turn all the Old, Sick, Poor, Non-white, Non-christian, Unemployed, and Gay people into slaves. Then whip them until they are Young, Healthy, Rich, White, Christian, Employed, and Straight. Or until they are dead. Then turn them into Soylent Green to feed the military.

    August 20, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  5. Mickey

    Too late Todd. We know what you really think now.

    August 20, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  6. nothing new here

    IF this guy was truly repentant, he would consider volunteering some of his personal $$$$ and time in helping those that have been victimized.
    Words are just words – I want to see some action behind his apologies.

    August 20, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    THIS IDIOT IS DANGEROUS AND OH SOOO TYPICAL OF THAT GOOD OLE BOY NETWORK!!! I GUESS MISSOURIANS WERE 'SLEEPING IN SEATTLE' WHEN THEY VOTED HIM IN. I'm not surprised by his comments, racism and ignorance is so blatantly accepted these day, an ignorant "white-right politicain" can say and do anything against women, blacks, latins–ANY minority–all he has to do is apoligize aand y'all will put him right back on his soapbox racial pedestal.THIS is beyond an apology-he needs therapyand a human nature overhaul. Or better yet...give him 1 week with a 5 rapists and let them work him over, THEN have him report back how legitimate it was!! Even sadder, he's someones' father and husband–I'd be embarrassed, depressed and FEARFUL of this dude. Is THIS where the republican party wants to go??Really? YEP! They're already there.Be afraid–be VERY afraid.....

    August 20, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |

    Give him a primetime spot at the Anybody but Mitt the twit convention in Tampa. He speaks for the unhinged GOBP tea potty.

    August 20, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  9. Sorensen

    He evn looks like a very sick, perverted republican.

    August 20, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Hate and anger make you stupid. The more angry you are, the dumber you are.

    August 20, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  11. levi

    I guess it is just the heat in Missouri. It has definetly fried this guys brain.

    August 20, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  12. ohio

    Your state must absolutely be ashamed. I can't imagine being a voter of that state if
    I had voted you in. Such a shame that you have let them down and even such a shame
    that they voted for somone like you at all. If this is the face of the new republican party
    it will be a sad disseration years from now when the history books retell how far over the
    edge the tea party took the GOP. Definitely voting dem in november–i cannot morally be with
    the GOP. There was a time when it was ok to be a moderate but the tea party has done its
    best to erradicate that from this country and what a sad sad time this is. Your state should fix this
    and throw you out.

    August 20, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  13. Carl Pheneger

    Dr. Wayne Dyer said “If you squeeze an orange you always get orange juice.” We are seeing the true nature of this person.

    August 20, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  14. wesleystar

    He should not only resign he should name his medical resources and those doctors should lose their license until they graduate from a real medical college.

    August 20, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  15. wesleystar

    Not only should he resign and back out he should name his medical sources and then THEY should lose their license and be forced to go back and graduate from a real medical college for such stupidity

    August 20, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  16. John P. Tarver

    With the US Senate 2012 election at 23 Democratic and 10 Republican seats at risk I think Akin may still win. After all, the People in Missouri don't care for abortion.

    August 20, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  17. Randy, San Francisco

    There is someone dumber and more ridiculous than Sarah Palin in the GOP/Tea Party.

    August 20, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  18. Harald

    Legitimate rape ? Forcible rape ? What a heap of BS. Anyone knows a case of rape that's not forcible or that's legitimate ?
    Then he continues blabbering about the female body's capacity to shut "the whole thing down". Boy, I never read so much nonsense coming from a, supposingly mature person, who, let's not forget that is also a official representative of Americans.
    This guy is either senile or one of the dumbest people I ever saw. Scary that he also is a lawmaker.

    August 20, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  19. kellieB

    Akin is an idiot,
    He belongs in the Senate.
    Every time one of our "leaders" issues such a stupid utterance ( and they do that often) they just add another nail to their coffin and more reason to vote them all out.

    August 20, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  20. alien

    Missouri lags in academics, that maybe the problem behind electing akkkins plus those hillbilly people are racist

    August 20, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  21. ValarMorghulis

    Whether one believes Akin's apology is sincere is irrelevant. He has publicly expressed his beliefs and thinking processes. How anyone could vote for this man after tis callous and uniformed statement is impossible to comprehend. If by some miracle he does make it to the U.S. Senate his soul mate will undoubtedly be Senator Inhofe(R) Oklahoma.

    August 20, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  22. THX1953

    Your apology is not accepted.


    August 20, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  23. a slozomby

    the sad part is he feels his mistake was telling people how he actually thinks rather than sticking to a canned response

    August 20, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  24. Surrogate

    I don't know a whole lot about how the female reproductive system responds to intrusive violence. In fact, until I heard Todd Akins statement I never imagined a distinction between rape and 'Legitimate rape' or that depending on which befalls a female that her body "Has ways to try to shut that whole thing down" However, I do know if you are a politician trying to actively expand your political career, making an ignorant statement like this has a way of "shutting that whole thing down"

    August 20, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  25. Bev Varnado

    I think he meant to use the word actual as no rape can be legitimate. But even at that the rest of his comments ar just as unacceptable and STUPID.

    August 20, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
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