Pressure mounts on US Senate candidate Todd Akin to withdraw after controversial rape comments

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Congressman Todd Akin represents Missouri's 2nd congressional district.
Image: United States Congress.

Congressman Todd Akin is facing pressure from fellow Republicans to drop out of the United States Senate election in Missouri after he made controversial comments about abortion in cases of rape. If he withdraws by 5 p.m. central time (1100 UTC) today, the Missouri state Republican party would have 28 days until it would require a court order to replace his name on the ballot.

In an interview with the St. Louis television station KTVI-TV on Sunday, Akin said: "Well you know, people always want to try to make that as one of those things, well how do you, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. 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. 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's comments soon gained national notoriety, with numerous politicians condemning his comments. Senators Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin have both called for him to drop out of the race. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Akin's comments were "inexcusable". President Barack Obama said in a press conference on Monday, "...We shouldn't have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women."

The National Republican Senatorial committee has said it will no longer fund Akin's campaign, regardless if he drops out or not. Other groups who support Akin are considering stopping all campaigning in Missouri.