Georgia Rep. Phil Gingrey (R) landed in hot water earlier this year after he defended former Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) scientifically inaccurate claim that women can’t become pregnant from “legitimate rape.” Gingrey — a medical professional who is actually a co-chair of the GOP Doctor Caucus — said he thought Akin was “partially right” when he suggested “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
But now that Gingrey is considering a Senate run, he’s finally conceding that rape is rape, and women’s ability to conceive isn’t dependent on the different definitions invented by elected officials to classify sexual assault. According to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, the GOP candidate has retracted his support for Akin:
In an attempt to clear the air before a possible Senate run, U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey on Monday said he no longer considers a ban on high-capacity magazines a useful method of curbing gun violence — and retracted his controversial defense of Todd Akin and statements about a woman’s inability to become pregnant as a result of rape.
The congressman called his initial statements on guns an emotional response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. As for his comments on rape and abortion, Gingrey referred to them as “stupid.”“I made a very awkward attempt to explain the unexplainable,” he said, admitting the resulting political damage has been self-inflicted.
Gingrey is likely simply hoping to preserve his political solvency. In the 2012 elections, insensitive comments about rape cost anti-choice candidates their seats — and Republican politicians have so persistently belittled the serious crime of sexual assault that they have since enrolled in training programs to learn how to talk about rape. At a retreat for House Republicans at the beginning of this year, the GOP caucus was told to simply avoid any mentions of rape altogether.