CHESTERFIELD, Mo., Sept. 19 (UPI) -- A new Missouri group is attempting to convince female voters U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin is on their side despite of his controversial remarks about rape.
Women Standing With Todd Akin held an event Tuesday to dramatize the point, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Several hundred women joined Akin and a lineup of speakers in a hotel ballroom in Chesterfield.
Akin, who is challenging Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., made national headlines recently when he suggested women who were victims of "legitimate" rape were unlikely to become pregnant, giving that as a reason for banning abortion for rape victims. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and other GOP leaders urged him to step aside for another candidate.
At Tuesday's meeting, Heather Kesselring of St. Louis said she has known Akin for many years. She said the real war on women "is pornography, it is sex trafficking, it is abortion."
"It is time for us to say Todd Akin understands these issues and he is ready to go fight for women," Kesselring said.
Akin addressed the group but did not discuss his rape remarks. He spoke about his mother and read a poem and refused to answer reporters' questions later.
Phyllis Schlafly, the longtime conservative activist, had harsh words for Republicans as well as Democrats.
"He's got a tough race ahead of him because some people who think they know better decided they're not going to give him any money," she said of Akin.