The associated press is reporting that Former U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, a conservative Missouri Republican whose comment that women’s bodies have a way of avoiding pregnancies in cases of “legitimate rape” sunk his bid for the U.S. Senate and became a cautionary tale for other GOP candidates, died late Sunday. He was 74.
Akin had cancer for several years.
Akin represented a Republican-leaning eastern Missouri district that included St. Louis-area suburbs for 12 years, giving up a safe seat to run for the U.S. Senate in 2012. He emerged from a crowded GOP primary to challenge then-incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, only to seriously hurt Republicans’ chances of recapturing a Senate majority less than two weeks later.
A strong abortion opponent, Akin was asked during an interview by a St. Louis television station whether he supported allowing abortions for women who have been raped. He answered that “from what I understand from doctors,” that such pregnancies are “really rare.”
He added: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
His comments sparked an outcry. The Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, immediately rebuked Akin and said his campaign would allow abortions in such cases.
McCaskill overwhelmingly defeated Akin in the 2012 General Election
Funeral information has not been announced.