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GOP Rep. Partially Defends Todd Akin's 'Legitimate Rape' Remarks: 'He's Partly Right on That

Georgia congressman of the 11th district Phil Gingrey speaks during the 8th annual GOP Republican rally at the Tillman Hangar at the Richard B. Russell airport on Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012 in Rome, Ga. (AP)

Republican Congressman Phil Gingrey on Thursday waded back into the "rape" discussion that cast such a pall over the GOP in 2012, telling a group of his Georgia constituents that former Rep. Todd Akin was "partly right" in his remarks about "legitimate rape."

Gingrey weighed in on both the comments from Akin, who lost his bid for Senate in Missouri, and from defeated Indiana GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, who said pregnancies resulting from rape were something "God intended to happen," the Marietta Daily Journal reported.

“Part of the reason the Dems still control the Senate is because of comments made in Missouri by Todd Akin and Indiana by Mourdock were considered a little bit over the top,” Gingrey said. “Mourdock basically said ‘Look, if there is conception in the aftermath of a rape, that’s still a child, and it’s a child of God, essentially.’ Now, in Indiana, that cost him the election.

“And in Missouri, Todd Akin … was asked by a local news source about rape and he said, ‘Look, in a legitimate rape situation’ — and what he meant by legitimate rape was just look, someone can say I was raped: a scared-to-death 15-year-old that becomes impregnated by her boyfriend and then has to tell her parents, that’s pretty tough and might on some occasion say, ‘Hey, I was raped.’ That’s what he meant when he said legitimate rape versus non-legitimate rape. I don’t find anything so horrible about that. But then he went on and said that in a situation of rape, of a legitimate rape, a woman’s body has a way of shutting down so the pregnancy would not occur. He’s partly right on that.”

According to the Journal, Gingrey cited his own experience as an obstetrician-gynecologist since 1975:

“And I’ve delivered lots of babies, and I know about these things. It is true. We tell infertile couples all the time that are having trouble conceiving because of the woman not ovulating, ‘Just relax. Drink a glass of wine. And don’t be so tense and uptight because all that adrenaline can cause you not to ovulate.’ So he was partially right wasn’t he? But the fact that a woman may have already ovulated 12 hours before she is raped, you’re not going to prevent a pregnancy there by a woman’s body shutting anything down because the horse has already left the barn, so to speak. And yet the media took that and tore it apart.”

In a statement Friday to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Gingrey said he does not defend or stand by either Akin's or Mourdock's remarks.

“At a breakfast yesterday morning, I was asked why Democrats made abortion a central theme of the presidential campaign. I do not defend, nor do I stand by, the remarks made by Rep. Akin and Mr. Mourdock. In my attempt to provide context as to what I presumed they meant, my position was misconstrued," the statement said.

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