Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) talks to a reporter
Credits: REUTERS/BENJAMIN MYERS
Akin said on KTVI-TV's Jacko Report in St. Louis that in cases of "legitimate rape" a woman's body "has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
He told the KTVI-TV interviewer he got this understanding of "natural protections" from doctors and should those protections fail, abortion is not the answer.
The New York City-born Akin, 65, later issued a statement saying he "misspoke" in his "off-the cuff remarks," and that his comment "does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year."
He goes on to say that he believes "deeply in the protection of all life and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action."
Akin, a six-term congressman who has also spoken out against abortion in cases of incest, wants the rapist to be punished -- not the child.
"Those who perpetrate these crimes are the lowest of the low in our society, and their victims will have no stronger advocate in the Senate to help ensure they have the justice they deserve," Akin said in his follow-up statement.
Akin's opponent, Sen. Claire McCaskill, issued a statement saying: "It is beyond comprehension that someone can be so ignorant about the emotional and physical trauma brought on by rape."
She called Akin's remarks "offensive."