U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., calls on Akin to step aside. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Republican Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts is calling on Rep. Todd Akin to drop out of the Missouri Senate race after he said yesterday that victims of "legitimate rape" do not need access to legal abortions because they rarely become pregnant.
Brown is facing a challenge from Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren this November. Brown called Akin's comments "outrageous" in a statement:
As a husband and father of two young women, I found Todd Akin's comments about women and rape outrageous, inappropriate and wrong. There is no place in our public discourse for this type of offensive thinking. Not only should he apologize, but I believe Rep. Akin's statement was so far out of bounds that he should resign the nomination for US Senate in Missouri.
Earlier on Monday, Mitt Romney called Akin's comments "insulting" but stopped short of asking him to step aside. Romney senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom is also an adviser on Brown's campaign. At least four other Republican Senate candidates have criticized Akin since Sunday, Talking Points Memo reported, and no national Republican has ventured to defend Akin.
Akin said in a local TV interview on Sunday that women who are raped usually do not become pregnant because of some biological mechanism, and thus don't merit an exception to his plan to outlaw abortion. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," Akin said. He later said he "misspoke" and understood that rapes can result in pregnancy.
Polls show Akin has a slight lead over Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri, which has been trending away from Democrats. Under Missouri law, Akin could step down and be replaced by Republican Party leaders without a penalty no later than Tuesday. He has until Sept. 25 to withdraw via a court order.