Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards denounced Rep. Todd Akin’s comment that women rarely get pregnant from “legitimate rape,” saying this morning that the statement was an “egregious example” of legislators “making policy on women’s health without understanding it.”
“This statement by Mr. Akin is, I think, politics at its worst, ignoring basic medicine and science in pursuit of some political ideology,” Richards said today during a conference call with reporters.
Richards stopped short of calling for Akin to resign, noting that he joins a “long line of examples” of congressmen who are putting their “own personal political ideology ahead of the needs of women.”
“I don’t want to address whether he should resign, but I don’t think he should be in office,” she said in response to a question from ABC News. “This is more evidence of when policy makers are literally legislating about women’s health and they don’t have the most basic understanding particularly of women’s reproductive care. This is perfect evidence of that enormous danger.”
Richards addressed the Akin controversy during a conference call announcing that Planned Parenthood will use the $3 million in public donations it received the week that the Susan G. Komen Foundation announced it was pulling funding for the group on breast cancer screenings and educational outreach.
Akin, who is opposed to abortions in all cases including rape, created the controversy Sunday on the “Jaco Report” radio show.
“It seems to me first of all from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Akin said in response to a question about supporting legal abortions for rape victims. “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 continued. “I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist, not attacking the child.”
Akin said today that he “misspoke” and has “deep empathy” for rape victims.
In the 24 hours following Akin’s remarks even staunch abortion opponents have condemned his comments. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney dubbed his remarks “insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong,” in an interview with the National Review this morning.
Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., and Sen. Rob Johnson, R-Wisc., said Akin should resign from his Missouri Senate race where he is seeking to unseat Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill.
“I found Todd Akin’s comments about women and rape outrageous, inappropriate and wrong,” Brown said in a statement. “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 U.S. Senate in Missouri.”