Republicans try to limit damage over rape remark

Senior Republicans are rushing to distance themselves from remarks made by Congressman Todd Akin in a television interview as he explained his views on abortion.

His reference to “legitimate rape” has sparked a furious reaction in the US.

He was asked by an interviewer: “Are there any circumstances in your mind in which abortion should be legal?“

Todd Akin replied: “It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it is a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something, you know, I think there should be some punishment but the punishment ought to be for the rapist, not attacking the child.”

The ensuing row has forced Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to denounce Akin’s views and clarify his campaign’s abortion stance at a time when he would prefer to focus on the economy.

It has also highlighted a split between him and his newly-announced running mate Paul Ryan, who, unlike Romney, privately opposes abortion in the case of rape.

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Comment by Napoleon Bonaparte on August 21, 2012 at 10:59pm

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has called on fellow Republican Todd Akin to abandon his US Senate bid in Missouri after the congressman's comments about rape.

Akin has been under fire for his televised comments that women's bodies are able to prevent pregnancies if they are victims of "a legitimate rape."

Romney on Tuesday pointed to a statement from a group of current and former Missouri legislators who urged Akin to drop his bid against Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill.

Romney said: "I think he should accept their counsel and exit the Senate race."

Akin, however, vowed to stay in the contest, indicating he represents a conservative movement that must be heard.

"We are going to continue in this race for US Senate," he told the Mike Huckabee Show, a radio programme hosted by the former Arkansas governor, an Akin supporter and a favourite of religious conservatives.

Asked in an interview Sunday on a local television station, KTVI, if he would support abortions for women who have been raped, Akin said: "It seems to me, 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."

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