Todd Akin Takes Back Apology Over 'Legitimate Rape' Theory

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Todd Akin and the rest of America agree on one thing: his odds of beating Sen. Claire McCaskill in his 2012 Missouri Senate race would have been better if not for the whole "legitimate rape" incident. In his new book Firing Back: Taking on the Party Bosses and Media Elite to Protect Our Faith and Freedom, Akin defends the "science" behind his comments and lists all the establishment Republicans who did him wrong.

In this new excerpt from Politico, Akin writes that wishes he'd done more to "end this evil (that) easily trumps slavery as the greatest moral evil in history." More importantly, he regrets apologizing. "By asking the public at large for forgiveness, I was validating the willful misinterpretation of what I had said," he wrote.

What he said in 2012 was that women rarely get pregnant from "legitimate rape" because "the female body has ways of shutting that whole thing down. His defense of "legitimate rape" comes down to this: if a woman isn't lying about being raped ...

When a woman claims to have been raped, the police determine if the evidence supports the legal definition of 'rape.' Is it a legitimate claim of rape of an excuse to avoid an unwanted pregnancy?

... then the stress of the attack will stop conception, because non-rape related stress sometimes contributes to a couples struggles to conceive. Akin argues that fertility doctors "debate and discuss" the impact of stress fertilization, and you should "google" it if you don't believe him. 

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There are a lot of people on the right who didn't believe him, or at least weren't willing to defend him, and Akin makes a point of naming them: Karl Rove, GOP Sens. Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn, John McCain, Roy Blunt (also from Missouri), Lindsey Graham and Rep. John Boehner. He argues that the "Beltway RINOs" have abandoned the conservative wing of the party, a sentiment Gov. Mike Huckabee echoes in his forward: "we can sit on the bus (in the back!), but they don't want us to drive the bus!" Huckabee stops short of calling Todd Akin the Rosa Parks of the GOP.

Again, something we can all agree on. In 2012, anatomically confused candidates like Akin were largely credited with derailing the GOP's attempts to take the Senate. The New York Times reported after the election that several representatives admitted to marginalizing Akin because, as one strategist put it, his comments “did not seem like outliers.” That's something the party is trying to change this time around, and Akin coming back bolder than ever isn't going to help. If, in 2012, they wanted him to sit in the back, this time they hope to leave him at the bus stop.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.