Todd Akin legitimate rape pregnancy

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin (Mo.), seen here celebrating his win in the Senate primary race Aug. 7, 2012, said in an interview he doesn't support abortion even in cases of rape because victims of "legitimate rape" rarely get pregnant. (AP)

Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri, said he doesn’t support abortion even in cases of rape because victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant.

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape is] really rare,” Akin, who’s running to unseat Sen. Claire McCaskill, told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

He continued, “But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something — you know, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”

A 1996 study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology said approximately 32,000 pregnancies result from rape each year in the United States and that about 5 percent of rape victims are impregnated.

McCaskill tweeted Sunday afternoon that she was outraged by Akin’s comment, posting: “As a woman & former prosecutor who handled 100s of rape cases,I’m stunned by Rep Akin’s comments about victims this AM.”

Earlier in the interview, Akin described his position as one to always “optimize life.”

“Sometimes people talk about life of the mother as a situation,” he said. “One of the foundational things America’s built on is the respect for life, and so I would say you optimize life. So for instance, a woman has a tubal preganncy or something. Well technically by my understanding life begins at conception so you’ve technically had conception, but the child doesn’t have a chance and will soon kill the mother. OK so I would say in those kinds of situations you try to optimize life.”

First elected to the U.S. House in 2000, Akin won the Republican nomination for Senate in a three-way race earlier this month.

Watch the full interview below:

(h/t Talking Points Memo)

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