Obama on Akin's remark: 'Rape is rape'

Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) speaks on abortion and the health care reform bill on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 21, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch
Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) speaks on abortion and the health care reform bill on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 21, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

ST. LOUIS, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- President Obama weighed in Monday on the controversy surrounding a Missouri Republican's comments on rape, pregnancy and abortion.

U.S. Senate nominee Todd Akin told a television interviewer during the weekend that women who are "legitimately raped" rarely get pregnant. Akin opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest.


"Rape is rape," Obama told reporters at the daily White House briefing. "And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we're talking about doesn't make sense to the American people and certainly doesn't make sense to me."

The president said Akin's comments show "why we shouldn't have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making healthcare decisions on behalf of women," CBS News reported.

Akin apologized Monday on former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's radio show, but said he is not dropping out of his race: "What I said was ill-conceived, and it was wrong. I really just want to apologize to those that I've hurt."


Obama's GOP rival Mitt Romney and other Republicans have put distance between themselves and Akin's remarks.

But, Obama said, "The underlying notion that we should be making decisions on behalf of women for their healthcare decisions, or qualifying 'forcible rape' versus 'non-forcible rape' -- those are broader issues ... between me and the other party," CBS reported.

Earlier, Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts called on fellow Republican Akin to end his U.S. Senate bid.

Brown said the congressman's statement about the supposedly slim chances of a victim of a "legitimate" rape becoming pregnant rated a public apology and had no place in a Senate campaign.

"Not only should he apologize, but I believe Representative Akin's statement was so far out of bounds that he should resign the nomination for U.S. Senate in Missouri," Brown said in a written statement.

Brown is the first GOP senator to call on Akin to end his challenge to incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill, The Hill said.

McCaskill kept up the pressure on her reeling opponent Monday with public statements, telling MSNBC Akin's gaffe was "kind of a window into Todd Akin's mind."

"You can go down a long list of things, and I don't think that this is somebody whom most of the moderate Republicans in the state can support," McCaskill said.


The remark during a live television interview that got Akin in hot water was: "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. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child."

Akin later issued a statement saying he had misspoken and his comment "does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year." He also tweeted that he understands rape can result in pregnancy.

Akin wasn't getting any help from Romney Monday. Romney's campaign issued a statement saying neither he nor running mate Paul Ryan agreed with Akin's assertions and said their platform did not oppose abortions for rape victims -- though in the past Ryan has said abortion should be permitted only in cases where the woman's life was in danger.

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