Former Senate candidate Todd Akin (R-MO) sunk his 2012 campaign with the line that went down in infamy: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Now, in his forthcoming book, Akin says he regrets apologizing for suggesting that women who are victims of “legitimate rape” cannot get pregnant. “By asking the public at large for forgiveness, I was validating the willful misinterpretation of what I had said,” Akin wrote, according to Politico.
Akin apologized for the legitimate rape comments soon after the firestorm began. “I used the wrong words in the wrong way, and for that I apologize,” he said in a video. “The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold.”
Yet two years later, Akin is claiming he was right all along about his thoroughly debunked junk science. “My comment about a woman’s body shutting the pregnancy down was directed to the impact of stress of fertilization. This is something fertility doctors debate and discuss,” he wrote. “Doubt me? Google ‘stress and infertility,’ and you will find a library of research on the subject.”
The Missouri congressman became a symbol of tone deaf, anti-woman Republicans in the 2012 election. Polls suggest the GOP’s support of restricting contraception and abortion likely cost them the White House. Women all but abandoned Republicans in 2012, and they continue to leave in droves.
While Akin may be defiant, GOP leaders have been trying to clean up the reputation he helped spread ever since 2012. Republicans have even held training sessions to teach candidates to stop talking about rape on the campaign trail. Efforts to dispel the anti-woman, anti-minority image, however, haven’t been going so well.
The 2014 elections are expected to focus heavily on women’s health issues. Democrats and reproductive rights groups vowed after the Hobby Lobby ruling to hammer home the “war on women” attack. Planned Parenthood is launching a multi-million dollar campaign offensive this year, specifically to call out anti-woman policies. The GOP has also introduced several outreach initiatives and PACs to attract female and non-white voters this year. Unfortunately for the GOP, Todd Akin and others like him don’t seem to be shutting up any time soon.