Entries in Rape (21)


Rep. Gingrey Says Todd Akin ‘Partly Right’ on ‘Legitimate Rape’

Bill Clark/Roll Call/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- “Legitimate rape,” the least-expected controversy of 2012, is back.

At a breakfast with businesspeople in Cobb County, Georgia, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) offered a partial defense-medical exegesis of the whole kerfuffle over Todd Akin, the Missouri congressman and Senate candidate who stirred up the national campaign pot last year with his claim that women’s bodies could prevent pregnancy in the case of “legitimate rape.”

Gingrey is a conservative congressman who worked as an obstetrician-gynecologist. He made the comments at a breakfast Thursday hosted by the Smyrna Area Council of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, the Marietta Daily Journal’s Jon Gilooly reported:

“And in Missouri, Todd Akin … was asked by a local news source about rape and he said, ‘Look, in a legitimate rape situation’ – and what he meant by legitimate rape was just look, someone can say, ‘I was raped’: a scared-to-death 15-year-old that becomes impregnated by her boyfriend and then has to tell her parents, that’s pretty tough and might on some occasion say, ‘Hey, I was raped.’ That’s what he meant when he said legitimate rape versus non-legitimate rape. I don’t find anything so horrible about that. But then he went on and said that in a situation of rape, of a legitimate rape, a woman’s body has a way of shutting down so the pregnancy would not occur. He’s partly right on that.”

Gingrey pointed out that he had been an ob-gyn since 1975.

“And I’ve delivered lots of babies, and I know about these things,” he’s quoted as saying. “It is true. We tell infertile couples all the time that are having trouble conceiving because of the woman not ovulating, ‘Just relax. Drink a glass of wine. And don’t be so tense and uptight because all that adrenaline can cause you not to ovulate.’ So he was partially right, wasn’t he? But the fact that a woman may have already ovulated 12 hours before she is raped, you’re not going to prevent a pregnancy there by a woman’s body shutting anything down because the horse has already left the barn, so to speak. And yet the media took that and tore it apart.”

Of Indiana senate candidate Richard Mourdock, who suggested pregnancies from rape are intended by God, Gingrey reportedly said, “Mourdock basically said, ‘Look, if there is conception in the aftermath of a rape, that’s still a child, and it’s a child of God, essentially.’ Now, in Indiana, that cost him the election.”

When asked whether the quotes were accurate, Gingrey’s communications director, Jen Talaber, said she was not at the meeting but that she has called reporter Gilooly to inquire.

Gingrey has already said his comments are being misconstrued as a defense of Akin and Mourdock.

“At a breakfast yesterday morning, I was asked why Democrats made abortion a central theme of the presidential campaign,” Gingrey said Friday in a statement Talaber provided to ABC News.

“I do not defend, nor do I stand by, the remarks made by Rep. Akin and Mr. Mourdock. In my attempt to provide context as to what I presumed they meant, my position was misconstrued.”

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Biden Scolds GOP Ticket for Not Having ‘Moral Courage’ to Condemn Mourdock, Akin

JIM WATSON/AFP/GettyImages(KENOSHA, Wis.) – Vice President Joe Biden commented for the first time Friday on the two Republican Senate candidates who made controversial comments about women and rape.  Biden scolded Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan for not taking a harsher stance against Senate candidates Todd Akin (Missouri) and Richard Mourdock (Indiana).

“Here’s the truth, they made it very, very clear, made it very clear that they do not believe a woman has a right to control her own body. They can’t even, they can’t even get up the gumption to condemn the statements made by two of their candidates for United States Senate,” Biden told the crowd at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

“It’s not enough to tell me you don’t agree. It’s having the moral courage to stand up and say what they said was wrong, simply wrong,” he added.

Earlier this week, Mourdock said during a debate against his Democratic rival in Indiana that “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.”

Romney recently appeared in an advertisement on behalf of Mourdock, but since the incident, he has not asked him to pull the campaign ad.  A spokesperson for Romney has said the candidate disavows Mourdock’s statement regarding rape.

“Gov. Romney disagrees with Richard Mourdock, and Mr. Mourdock’s comments do not reflect Gov. Romney’s views. We disagree on the policy regarding exceptions for rape and incest but still support him,” Andrea Saul, spokesperson for Romney, said in a statement Wednesday.

The Republican presidential candidate ignored questions from reporters about Mourdock’s comments during a stop in Cincinnati on Thursday and has yet to answer any questions on the topic.

President Obama rebuked Mourdock’s comments in an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Wednesday.

“I don’t know how these guys come up with these ideas,” Obama said on the show. “Let me make a very simple proposition, rape is rape. It is a crime. And so these various distinctions about rape don’t make too much sense to me, don’t make any sense to me.”

In August, Akin said that “legitimate rape” does not normally lead to pregnancy.  At the time, Biden did not comment on the Akin case, but Romney and Ryan did ask for Akin to step down from the race.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Rebukes Richard Mourdock for Rape Remarks on "Tonight Show"

Kevin Winter/NBCUniversal/Getty Images(LAS ANGELES) – President Obama weighed in on controversial comments about rape made by Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock of Indiana, calling it an example of why women should vote for him on Nov. 6 but stopping short of explicitly tying his opponent, Mitt Romney, to the same views.

“I don’t know how these guys come up with these ideas,” Obama said in an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno Wednesday. “Let me make a very simple proposition, rape is rape. It is a crime. And so these various distinctions about rape don’t make too much sense to me, don’t make any sense to me.”

During a debate with his anti-abortion Democratic rival Tuesday night, Mourdock said that “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.” He has stood by the remark as a reflection of his belief that life begins at conception.

Obama, who supports abortion rights, has emphasized the issue in his bid for a second term, warning women that some Republicans would like to see abortion outlawed in all cases.

“This is exactly why you don’t want a bunch of politicians, mostly male, making decisions about women’s health care decisions,” he told Leno, without mentioning Romney by name. “Women are capable of making these decisions in consultation with their partners, with their doctors, and for politicians to want to intrude in this stuff oftentimes without any information is a huge problem. And this is obviously a part of what’s at stake in this election.”

The Republican nominee opposes abortion, but says he would allow exceptions for rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at risk.

While Obama was more circumspect, top Democrats and Obama campaign officials have overtly tied Romney to Mourdock’s remark and his views on abortion. The GOP presidential nominee has appeared in one TV ad for Republican U.S. Senate candidates this year – an ad for Mourdock. Romney has disavowed the comments but not asked for the ad to be taken down.

“Not surprisingly, Romney is still standing by his endorsement and is refusing to ask that the ad be pulled down,” deputy Obama campaign manager Stephanie Cutter wrote in an email blast to supporters Wednesday night with a video clip to Mourdock and Romney together.

“It’s a grim reminder of something he’s trying desperately to hide in the final weeks of this election: Romney has campaigned as a severe conservative, supports severely conservative candidates, and would be a severely conservative president — especially on issues important to women,” she wrote.

Obama appeared on the Tonight Show in the midst of his 48-hour, nonstop campaign swing through eight states. It was his third visit with Leno as president and first this year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Indiana Senate Candidate: 'God Intended' Pregnancies from Rape

Mourdock for Senate(NEW ALBANY, Ind.) -- Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said pregnancies resulting from rape are part of God’s plan, tearfully explaining that he only supports abortions when a mother’s life is in danger.

“I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen,” Mourdock said during Tuesday’s Senate debate, choking up.  Mourdock’s opponent, Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly, opposes abortion except in cases of rape and incest.

After the debate, Mourdock further explained his comment.

“God creates life, and that was my point.  God does not want rape, and by no means was I suggesting that he does.  Rape is a horrible thing, and for anyone to twist my words otherwise is absurd and sick,” he said in a statement.

Democrats wasted no time linking GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney to Mourdock.  Earlier this week, Romney personally appeared in a TV ad for the Indiana state treasurer, offering his endorsement.

“Richard Mourdock’s rape comments are outrageous and demeaning to women.  Unfortunately, they’ve become part and parcel of the modern Republican Party’s platform toward women’s health, as Congressional Republicans like Paul Ryan have worked to outlaw all abortions and even narrow the definition of rape,” Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a statement.

“As Mourdock’s most prominent booster and the star of Mourdock’s current campaign ads, Mitt Romney should immediately denounce these comments and request that the ad featuring him speaking directly to camera on Mourdock’s behalf be taken off the air,” she added

“Mitt’s man Mourdock apes Akin, reflecting a GOP that is way out of mainstream,” Obama strategist David Axelrod tweeted.

Missouri Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin said during an interview in August that women’s bodies have ways of preventing pregnancy in cases of what he called “legitimate rape.”  Akin apologized for the comment, but refused to leave the race despite pressure from his own party.

Romney’s campaign distanced itself from Mourdock’s comment.

“Gov. Romney disagrees with Richard Mourdock’s comments, and they do not reflect his views,” campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Todd Akin’s Office ‘Disturbed’ by Karl Rove’s Joke

Chris Maddaloni/Roll Call/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Republican Party may want Todd Akin to disappear, but a dark joke made by GOP strategist Karl Rove has hit a nerve with the congressman’s office.

“We should sink Todd Akin,” Rove said at a fundraiser during the Republican National Convention, according to a Bloomberg News report. “If he’s found mysteriously murdered, don’t look for my whereabouts!”

[Read that report here.]

The congressional office of the six-term congressman and Senate candidate from Missouri responded Friday afternoon, suggesting the joke was in dangerously bad taste, given recent threats against Akin and his family.

Akin drew national attention to the Missouri race after his controversial comments about rape and abortion, when he said, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”

“Given the current FBI investigation of threats against Congressman Akin and calls for acts of violence and rape against his family and staff, joking as to the potential murder of Congressman Akin is deeply disturbing.  I am certain he misspoke,” Akin’s district director, Steve Taylor, said in a written statement released on Friday.

Soon after Akin’s remarks about rape and pregnancy, Capitol Police acknowledged an investigation into threats against Akin, and in a press conference last week, his first since making the remarks about rape, Akin said threats had been made against him and his family, including threats of rape.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pa. Senate Candidate Backs Off Unplanned Pregnancy-Rape Comparison

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(HARRISBURG, Pa.) -- Faced with a question about fellow Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin’s inflammatory remarks about “legitimate rape,” Pennsylvania’s Tom Smith Monday likened his own daughter’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy to rape.

Smith quickly backed off the statement, The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News reported, when pressed by reporters about whether he meant to conflate the two.

“No, no, no,” Smith said, before seeming to qualify his defense: “Put yourself in a father’s position,” he said. “Yes, I mean it is similar.”

It’s unclear how old his daughter was at the time.

Asked again, the candidate backed off a second time, denying that he had drawn any correlation between rape and an unplanned pregnancy achieved by a consenting man and woman.

“No, I did not say that,” Smith, 64, told the Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon crowd. “I said I went through a situation. It’s very, very difficult. But do I condone rape? Absolutely not.”

He then pivoted to his anti-abortion position, saying, “A life is a life and it needs protecting. Who’s going to protect it? We have to. I believe life begins at conception. I’m not going to argue about the method of that conception.

“It’s life. And I’m pro-life. It’s that simple.”

Contacted by ABC News, campaign officials were adamant that Smith was only addressing the difficult decision that his family faced, and not the way his daughter became pregnant. One adviser pointed to audio records of Monday’s exchange, which can be found at

In a statement, communications director Megan Piwowar wrote: "Tom Smith is committed to protecting the sanctity of life and believes it begins at conception.  While his answers to some of the questions he faced at the Pennsylvania Press club may have been less than artful, at no time did he draw the comparison that some have inferred. When questioned if he was drawing that comparison, Tom’s answer was clear, ‘no, no, no.’”

This was not the first time Smith was asked to comment on the Akin controversy.

On Aug. 20, Piwowar told The Morning Call: “Tom Smith disagrees strongly with Congressman Akin’s comment …in no way does Congressman Akin’s comments reflect the pro-life community’s thoughts and views on women who are victims of rape.”

Smith, a retired congressman from the state’s 128th district, has trailed popular Sen. Bob Casey, an anti-abortion Democrat, by nearly 20 points in recent polls.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Todd Akin at News Conference: I’m Staying in the Race

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(ST. LOUIS, M.O.) -- Todd Akin’s message to Missouri: I’m staying in the race.

Akin, the sixth-term Republican congressman who is running for the U.S. Senate in Missouri, held his first news conference on Thursday after top Republicans heaped pressure on him to withdraw as a candidate following his controversial comments on rape and pregnancy.

“Apparently there are some people who are having trouble understanding my message,” Akin said during brief remarks at a press conference in St. Louis County, announced only hours before it began. “I’d like to be clear … today that we’re going to be here through the November election, and we’re going to be here to win.”

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman and Texas Sen. John Cornyn and at least 10 other U.S. senators have asked Akin to withdraw.

Missouri GOP luminaries, including former senator Jack Danforth and former U.S. attorney general John Ashcroft, also have called on Akin to drop from the race.

Akin sparked the controversy last weekend by suggesting, in a local TV interview that cases of “legitimate rape” rarely result in pregnancy. Akin has since apologized in multiple radio interviews and in a TV ad released on Tuesday. Akin has also explained that by “legitimate” he was referring to forcible rape.

“You know, one of the things I’ve realized through the years: I  may not be the favorite candidate of some people within the Republican establishment, but the voters make the decision,” Akin said. “This is an election. It’s not a selection.”

Akin said threats have been made against him and his family. The Capitol Police confirmed to media outlets this week that it was investigating them.

Akin sought to return to his campaign message, drawing a contrast between himself and incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

“The America that I represent is an America that has more freedom and more jobs -- an America with less bureaucracy, less big government, less taxes and a bright hope for the future,” he said. “The America that Claire McCaskill has given us is an America that has less freedom, less jobs, more big government and the same stalled economy.”

As Akin seeks to recover from the controversy, his fundraising will be closely watched and his campaign has launched an online fundraising drive to help the congressman fend off pressure to withdraw. Since launching the campaign, Akin has raised over $125,000, according to his website.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Todd Akin, His Family and Staff Receive Threats

Chris Maddaloni/Roll Call/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Congressman Todd Akin’s office said on Thursday that multiple death and rape threats have been made against the lawmaker, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat in his home state of Missouri.

Spokesman Steve Taylor announced that “over the last couple of days, there’s been threats of rape of staff, the congressman’s family, and suggestions that people die.”

There was also a report of someone saying they would “legitimately rape” Akin’s wife, a reference to a statement the anti-abortion congressman made that it’s difficult for women to become pregnant in the case of “legitimate rape.”

Taylor said that Capitol Police and the FBI were looking into “which threats are accurate and how to contextualize them.”

A St. Louis TV station first broke the story that “multiple people have threatened rape and harm against Akin, his staff and family.”

Akin’s remarks created a firestorm that prompted GOP leaders to urge him to drop out of the race against incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill.  However, Akin, after a lengthy apology, says he will remain a candidate for the Senate.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Todd Akin Opens Door to Possible Exit from Missouri Senate Race

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Republican Congressman Todd Akin opened the door to a possible exit from Missouri's Senate race on Wednesday, saying he doesn't know the future.

“Well George, I’m never going to say everything that could possibly happen.  I don’t know the future, but I do know this.  I know that the party voters took a look at our hearts, understood who we were, had a chance to meet us in many, many different ways and made a decision,” Akin told ABC's Good Morning America anchor George Stephanopoulos.  “And it makes me uncomfortable to think that the party bosses are going to dictate who runs as opposed to the election process.”

Republicans are lining up to ask Akin to drop out, including Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan. The chairman of the Republican Party has also asked Akin not to attend next week’s convention in Tampa, Fla.

Akin told Stephanopoulos he will honor the wishes of Reince Priebus and not attend the convention, but insists he can still win the Senate seat.  He’s staying in the race because of how he won the primary -- running on his principles.

“We’ve given this a lot of thought. The fact is that over more than a year period of time, a number of us ran in this Republican primary. Each of us had our messages.  I was outspent by a large amount in terms of media.  And yet by standing on principle and putting politics aside and talking about the foundations of this country, the people of Missouri chose me to be their candidate,” he said.

The Republican Party and Super PACs have pulled their money from his campaign after Akin said “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down” on a local TV station Sunday.

Akin has since apologized for his comment, telling Stephanopoulos Wednesday morning that “the word legitimate doesn’t ever have a good reason to be standing next to rape.  There is no rape that is legitimate.”

The congressman, who sits on the House Science Committee, also admits that statement was medically wrong.

“The point of the matter is that, yes, pregnancy can happen as a result of rape. I understand that and I’ve acknowledged that fact. At the same time I don’t apologize for the fact that I’m consistently pro-life. I believe in defending the unborn and I believe that based on those kinds of principles I can win this race,” he said.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Paul Ryan Refuses to Explain 'Forcible' Rape

SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) -- The comments of Todd Akin are bringing scrutiny -- goosed by Democrats and the Obama campaign -- to the views on social issues of the GOP ticket.

On Tuesday alone, the Obama campaign blasted out an email from women’s health care activist Sandra Fluke referring to “Akin, Romney and Ryan”; over a Paul Ryan rally in Pennsylvania, flew a banner referring to “Romney, Ryan and Akin” being bad for women; and when the Republican party reaffirmed its anti-abortion plank, making no mention of exceptions for cases of rape or incest, the Obama campaign repeatedly referred to it as the “Akin Amendment.”

Wednesday morning brings the latest example: attention to that “forcible rape” language in legislation co-sponsored by Akin, Ryan (and 225 other members of the House). The legislation, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” restricted the exceptions to “an act of forcible rape or, if a minor, an act of incest” for federally-funded abortions. That language was changed.

In an interview to air Wednesday morning in Pittsburgh on KDKA-TV, Ryan refused to even engage in a discussion of what “forcible” rape -- as opposed to other kinds, such as statutory rape -- meant.

Ryan said that Akin’s “statements were outrageous, over the pail.  I don’t know anybody who would agree with that.  Rape is rape period, end of story.”

Ryan opposes abortions in all cases except for when the life of the mother is at stake, which is different from Mitt Romney’s position -- Romney would also carve out exceptions for rape and incest.

“I’m proud of my pro-life record,” Ryan said.  “And I stand by my pro-life record in Congress.  It’s something I’m proud of.  But Mitt Romney is the top of the ticket and Mitt Romney will be president and he will set the policy of the Romney administration.”

“You sponsored legislation that has the language ‘forcible rape,’” KDKA's Political Editor Jon Delano noted in the interview. “What is forcible rape as opposed…”

“Rape is rape,” Ryan interrupted.  “Rape is rape, period.  End of story.”

“So that forcible rape language meant nothing to you at the time?” Delano asked.

“Rape is rape and there’s no splitting hairs over rape,” Ryan said.

Ryan also scoffed at Obama campaign suggestions that he and Romney would restrict access to birth control.

“Nobody is proposing to deny birth control to anybody,” he said, arguing that voters are not “going to take the bait of all these distractions that the president is trying to throw at them.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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