Ben Johnson

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Todd Akin to stay in Senate race; pro-life groups applaud decision

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ST. LOUIS, August 21, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Todd Akin, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Missouri, has confirmed he is staying in the race despite national pressure for him to step down after flubbing a response to a question about rape and abortion.

This afternoon, Akin went on former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee’s radio program to announce he will not step aside before tonight’s 5 p.m. filing deadline. “We are going to continue with this race for the U.S. Senate,” Akin said.

On Sunday, Akin said abortions caused by rape are “really rare,” and “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” firing a media-fueled backlash.   

“I don’t think he should be in office,” said Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards. 

Akins has since apologized for his remarks, which Democratic opponent, incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill, immediately seized upon.

Republicans who oppose the party’s social conservative wing, and those afraid a loss in Missouri will cost the party its chance to take back the Senate, exerted massive pressure for the pro-life congressman to pull out of the race.

Scott Brown, who has stood up for federal funding of Planned Parenthood, has said Akin “should resign the nomination for US Senate in Missouri.” 

Republican leaders “who were never keen on Akin as the candidate to begin with are going to be keeping up the pressure,” said Jan Crawford on CBS This Morning. “Texas Sen. John Cornyn is leading the charge.” 

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, which Cornyn leads, has withdrawn all funds from Akin’s run, as has Karl Rove’s super PAC American Crossroads. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has said that Akins must not only step aside, but he should not attend the Republican convention in Tampa this month.

An unsigned editorial in National Review Online stated, “Only a small minority of Americans opposes abortion in cases of rape…and it is a perfectly legitimate issue for [Akin’s] opponents to raise.” NRO hoped Akin will “leave the race and allow the Republicans to select a better nominee.”

Mitt Romney called Akin’s comments “inexcusable,” while New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said the remark was “reprehensible.” Paul Ryan reportedly called Akin on Monday. 

However, Akin responded by purchasing a television ad saying he misspoke, signaling his intention to remain in the race. 

His decision is supported by the leaders of the pro-life, pro-family movement, which encouraged him to stay in the race before today’s announcement.

Akin has regularly earned a 100 percent pro-life voting record with the National Right to Life Committee, while scoring zero with Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America  

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Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said saturation coverage of the gaffe is “an effort to try to direct attention away” from McCaskill, “who has been supportive of Planned Parenthood — an organization that’s been under investigation for criminal activity.”

“When speaking about the issue of rape, let’s not forget the cover-up of statutory rape by Planned Parenthood, which to my knowledge has not been addressed by Senator McCaskill,” FRC Action PAC President Connie Mackey said in a statement e-mailed to LifeSiteNews.com. “FRC Action PAC enthusiastically endorses his candidacy.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said while Akin had misspoken, McCaskill and Obama have been on the wrong side of issues ranging from “taxpayer funding of elective abortion in ObamaCare, protection of unborn girls being targeted in the womb solely because of their gender, and whether children capable of feeling pain in the womb should be protected.” Dannenfelser said, “Congressman Akin has been an excellent partner in the fight for the unborn.”

Associated Press reported this evening that the Akin campaign issued an open letter today from Dr. Jack Willke, the renowned former president of the U.S. National Right to Life Committee and just recently retired president of International Right to Life, stating he was “outraged at how quickly Republican leaders have deserted” Akin.

Akin, said Willke, “remains a strong and courageous pro-life leader - and awkward wording in one sound bite doesn’t negate that.”

Akin is correct that abortions due to rape are rare, amounting to around one percent of all abortions. According to the Guttmacher Institute, abortions due to rape or incest combined account for slightly less than 1.5 percent of all abortions. Abortions performed for convenience amount to at least 74 percent, or at least 895,400 abortions each year.

 

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