Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., has called on Rep. Todd Akin to drop out of the Missouri Senate race after his comment that pregnancy rarely results from cases of "legitimate rape."
"As a husband and father of two young women, I found Todd Akin's comments about women and rape outrageous, inappropriate and wrong," Brown said. "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."
In an interview that aired Sunday, Republican candidate Akin was asked whether he supported abortions for women who had been raped.
"It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors that's really rare," Akin said. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
Akin, 65, later in the day said he misspoke.
"In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it's clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year," Akin said in a statement.
Aiken is running against incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat.
As the controversy grows, Republicans are exploring the possibility of replacing Akin on the ballot, but he would first need to drop out. If he were to resign, state election law dictates that a party nominating committee would select the candidate to replace him on the ballot. But Akin would apparently have to resign by Tuesday in order for the party to appoint a replacement by the state-imposed deadline.
Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin today also called for Akin to drop out of the race.
"Todd Akin's statements are reprehensible and inexcusable," Johnson tweeted from his campaign's Twitter account. "He should step aside today for the good of the nation."
As for Mitt Romney, a senior strategist says the presumptive GOP nominee has no plans to call on Akin to resign or pull out of the Missouri Senate race. "That will have to play out on its own," Stuart Stevens said.
Based on recent polling from Gallup, 75 percent of Americans say abortion should be legal in cases of rape or incest, including 67 percent of Republicans, 76 percent of independents and 85 percent of Democrats.