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Rep. Todd Akin Says Women Can Shut Down Post-Rape Pregnancy [Updated]

Republican Congressman and GOP Senate nominee in Missouri, Todd Akin, said this weekend that so-called “legitimate rape” rarely causes pregnancy.

Posted on August 19, 2012, at 5:12 p.m. ET

Rep. Akin's remarks

View this video on YouTube

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Rep. Akin, currently the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri, is a longstanding, outspoken opponent of abortion. He has, in the past, suggested banning the morning after pill in all cases. “As far as I’m concerned, the morning-after pill is a form of abortion, and I think we just shouldn’t have abortion in this country."

But even within the context of a pro-life argument, these recent remarks are hard to understand -- starting with the idea that one can categorize rapes as either legitimate or non-legitimate, and even more muddled by the concept that women can psychologically control whether or not they become pregnant after they are raped. One might be able to draw the conclusion from his comments that he believes that women who do become pregnant after they are raped didn't try hard enough to keep themselves from bearing the child of their rapist.

If you would like to see the comments in context, watch a longer cut of the interview here.

"Rep. Todd Akin" is currently a trending topic on Twitter.

HAHAHHAHA Rep. Todd Akin serves on the Science and Technology committee in the House. PLEASE, MAKE IT STOP.

HAHAHHAHA Rep. Todd Akin serves on the Science and Technology committee in the House. PLEASE, MAKE IT STOP.-- amaeryllis

Congratulations, Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), for constructing what is surely the stupidest 18-word sentence ever uttered in English.

Congratulations, Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), for constructing what is surely the stupidest 18-word sentence ever uttered in English.-- Katharine Shilcutt

Rep. Todd Akin is--in case you missed it--CURRENTLY MAKING FEDERAL LAWS. Gah.

Rep. Todd Akin is--in case you missed it--CURRENTLY MAKING FEDERAL LAWS. Gah.-- southpaw

I know rape jokes are currently “out of favor,” but Rep. Todd Akin of MO has an amazing one: http://t.co/Yi2GCAYO #LOL

I know rape jokes are currently “out of favor,” but Rep. Todd Akin of MO has an amazing one: http://t.co/Yi2GCAYO #LOL-- rob delaney

RT if you're a Republican who thinks Akin should step down

RT if you're a Republican who thinks Akin should step down-- Patrick Ruffini

Thus far, the only high-profile defense of Rep. Akin's comments came from conservative radio host Dana Loesch:

Wow, I see a lot of people freaking out over Akin's remarks.

Wow, I see a lot of people freaking out over Akin's remarks.-- Dana Loesch

Seems to me like Akin was trying to fit medical explanation into a soundbite. Not the best statement, but some are stretching it majorly.

Seems to me like Akin was trying to fit medical explanation into a soundbite. Not the best statement, but some are stretching it majorly.-- Dana Loesch

Akin's incumbent opponent Claire McCaskill has weighed in on the controversy:

As a woman & former prosecutor who handled 100s of rape cases,I'm stunned by Rep Akin's comments about victims this AM http://t.co/n9SVOukJ

As a woman & former prosecutor who handled 100s of rape cases,I'm stunned by Rep Akin's comments about victims this AM http://t.co/n9SVOukJ-- Claire McCaskill

Christian Gooden / AP

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin celebrates his win in the senate primary race at his campaign party at the Columns Banquet Center in St. Charles, Mo., on Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012.

UPDATE 5:15 PM ET, August 19:

Akin has released a statement saying that he "misspoke," although he does not clarify what he was trying to say.

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