Aug 19, 2012 10:16 PM EDT
Republican Congressman Todd Akin has expressed his regret after mis-speaking in an interview on Sunday where he addressed abortion in cases of "legitimate rape."
Previously Akin caused outrage among some after telling a St. Louis TV station that when a woman is victim of a legitimate rape she can rarely get pregnant because "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
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Akin released the following statement after the interview on his Facebook page:
"As a member of Congress, I believe that working to protect the most vulnerable in our society is one of my most important responsibilities, and that includes protecting both the unborn and victims of sexual assault. In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it's clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year. Those who perpetrate these crimes are the lowest of the low in our society and their victims will have no stronger advocate in the Senate to help ensure they have the justice they deserve.
"I recognize that abortion, and particularly in the case of rape, is a very emotionally charged issue. But I believe deeply in the protection of all life and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action. I also recognize that there are those who, like my opponent, support abortion and I understand I may not have their support in this election.
"But I also believe that this election is about a wide-range of very important issues, starting with the economy and the type of country we will be leaving our children and grandchildren. We've had 42 straight months of unacceptably high unemployment, trillion dollar deficits, and Democratic leaders in Washington who are focused on growing government, instead of jobs. That is my primary focus in this campaign and while there are those who want to distract from that, knowing they cannot defend the Democrats' failed economic record of the last four years, that will continue to be my focus in the months ahead."
He also wrote an explanation on Twitter:
"To be clear, all of us understand that rape can result in pregnancy & I have great empathy for all victims. I regret misspeaking."
Akin's opponent, Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, immediately criticized his comments.
"As a woman & former prosecutor who handled 100s of rape cases, I'm stunned by Rep Akin's comments about victims this AM," she tweeted Sunday night.
"It is beyond comprehension that someone can be so ignorant about the emotional and physical trauma brought on by rape," said McCaskill in a statement. "The ideas that Todd Akin has expressed about the serious crime of rape and the impact on its victims are offensive."
Akin and McCaskill are running for Missouri's seat on the Senate and their race is key to Republicans who aim to win a majority in the Senate.
A clip of the interview posted on YouTube got mostly negative reactions from viewers:
"The female body understands that it's being raped and 'shuts it down.' SERIOUSLY?!? how is this person allowed to represent other human beings in our country?" a YouTube user with the name littlebunnyeliz.
"What is a 'legitimate rape'? this is another idiot running for office in missouri....the show me state...ughhhhhhhhhhh," YouTube user g1rag said.
"Dear World,I apologize for the stupidity of our country's representatives.Sincerely,An American<" user SuperGreenGuy wrote.
Yet there were some viewers who agreed in some way with the Congressman:
"The guy is somewhat right. Fear, stress, and depression can disrupt the menstrual cycle," YouTube user TheMrFootballGuy wrote.
Watch Akin's Interview Below:
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