(AP) — Two Indiana congressmen who backed legislation that would have denied
abortion funding for victims of statutory rape and incest criticized a
Missouri Senate candidate Monday over his comments suggesting women can
avoid getting pregnant from “a legitimate rape.”
Pence, who is running for governor, and Democrat Joe Donnelly, who is
seeking the Senate, said they disagreed with Todd Akin’s remarks, but both
stopped short of saying he should quit the race.
and Akin joined 224 other House lawmakers, most of them Republicans, on a
bill last year that would have cut off federal aid for abortion-related
services for statutory rape and incest.
established a separate category for “forcible rape” and allowed the services
to continue for those. Following a massive outcry, lawmakers backtracked and
restored the original language that did not differentiate among the types of
Akin’s comments — including numerous Republicans — said the remarks were
offensive in part because of his use of the term “legitimate rape".
delivered Sunday to a St. Louis TV station, spurred many Republicans,
including presidential candidate Mitt Romney, to ask him to step out of the
Missouri Senate race.
for both Pence and Donnelly said the men did not know the “forcible rape”
language was in the bill when it was first introduced and opposed the
measure until it was removed. Democrats Andre Carson and Pete Visclosky were
the only members of the Indiana delegation to oppose the bill in its initial
“Joe is pro-life
and supports legislation to ensure that no federal dollars go toward funding
abortion-related services. That was the original intention of the bill, not
to redefine rape,” said Donnelly spokeswoman Elizabeth Shappell.
spokeswoman Christy Denault said Pence “strongly disagrees” with Akin’s
remarks, but she declined further comment.
Later Monday, in
an interview with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Akin said he did not
mean to say “legitimate rape,” but instead meant “forcible rape.” That walk
back spurred Planned Parenthood of Indiana President Betty Cockrum to knock
Pence for supporting the anti-abortion bill with Akin.
Pence has pushed
unsuccessfully to cut off all federal funding for the group.