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Major Pro-Life Group Vows to Retool Political Endorsement Process Following Akin Debacle


"With Akin, when asked about rape, there’s only one thing you should say: ‘what a horrible tragedy.'"


The president of The Susan B. Anthony List, a staunch pro-life group, said on Wednesday that the implosion of Rep. Todd Akin's (R-Mo.) senate campaign has convinced them to retool their endorsement process, the Washington Examiner’s Joel Gehrke reports.

“We think that women are great spokeswomen, they’re natural spokeswomen -- that’s why we have an emphasis on electing women as pro-life leaders,” Marjorie Dannenfelser told the Examiner.

“In addition to that, how we talk about that and how we communicate it in a compassionate and true way -- without fear -- is vitally important,” she added.

The Susan B. Anthony List originally endorsed Tea Party candidate Sarah Steelman over Rep. Todd Akin in the Republican primary. However, after Steelman lost to Akin, marking the first time a Palin endorsement had failed, the pro-life group threw it's support behind the Missouri congressman.

Now it's important to note that whether it was Akin or Steelman, many thought Sen. Clair McCaskill (D-Mo.) was finished. Indeed, it was popularly believed that her vote in favor of "Obamacare" had killed her career in the Show-Me State.

But that was before Rep. Akin's infamous “legitimate rape” moment.

When asked if he was opposed to abortion in the instance of rape, Akin replied with the following:

From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. 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. I think there should be some punishment. But the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.

Not long after making these comments, financial and political support for the congressman dried up and he became a prominent fixture in the supposed “war on women.”

And although the Susan B. Anthony List supported Rep. Akin until the bitter end, Dannenfelser told the Examiner that his “legitimate rape” remarks have forced them to rethink how they do endorsements.

“With Akin, when asked about rape, there’s only one thing you should say: ‘what a horrible tragedy,’” she said. “He clearly could have used a little bit of debate prep before he made that statement.”

She continued, adding that the Susan B. Anthony List “will work to pick the candidates most capable of articulating the group’s position at the national level,” as Gehrke puts it.

“We go through and I drill you on all the questions, all the tough things, and then you give it back to me,” Dannenfelser said.

“And then we see if that actually merits endorsement or not, because if you can’t handle a rape question after everything that we just went through and all the damage that that caused, then you’re not paying attention and you don’t care enough to figure it out,” she added.

Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

Front page photo source courtesy the AP.

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