Heather Wilson calls for Akin to withdraw from Missouri Senate race
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After a Republican candidate for the US Senate in Missouri caused an uproar by making a remark about “legitimate rape,” New Mexico Senate candidate Heather Wilson called on Todd Akin to give up his run.
“As a woman and a mother, I found Representative Akin’s comments this weekend to be sickening and deeply offensive,” Wilson, a fellow Republican, said in a statement released by her campaign. “There is no such thing as ‘legitimate rape.’ His remarks undermine his ability to command the respect necessary for leadership and he should step aside.”
Wilson, who’s in the midst of an expensive race against Democrat Martin Heinrich in the Senate, joins GOP Senate candidate Scott Brown of Massachusetts in calling for Akin to withdraw from the Missouri race against incumbent Sen. Claire McKaskill.
On a posting on Facebook, Heinrich wrote, “Rep. Akin’s comments about rape are profoundly wrong and disgusting to every American. All rape is a violation and can never be ‘legitimate.’ New Mexicans should be able to make their own choices about family planning. I trust that women, not politicians, will make the best medical decisions for themselves and their families.”
A six-term congressman, Akin caused the firestorm in remarks he made to a reporter at KTVI-TV in St. Louis. Akin objects to abortion under any circumstances, even if a woman becomes pregnant after rape.
“First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Akin said, adding that “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,” Akin added. “You know I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”
While appearing on a radio show hosted by Mike Huckabee on Monday (Aug. 20), Akin apologized and said, “I was talking about forcible rape. It was absolutely the wrong word.”
But it appears the political damage is mortal.
Democrats pounced and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney issued a statement denouncing Akin’s remarks. Akin has said he won’t quit the race but there are reports that he will announce his resignation from the race on Tuesday afternoon.
Before his remarks, Akin was in a neck-and-neck race with McKaskill.
Update: New Mexico Republican Janice Arnold-Jones, who is running for Congress in the state’s First Congressional District against Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham, also called for Akin to bow out, saying in a statement, “Such comments show a cavalier disregard for women that I’m quite honestly surprised and saddened to see in this day and age. Mr. Akins’ attitudes and opinions have no place in Washington, and I encourage him to withdraw from his race.”