US politician: I shouldn't have apologised for rape comment

Todd Akin says in his new book he should never have apologised for his 'legitimate rape' comment. Photo / file
Todd Akin says in his new book he should never have apologised for his 'legitimate rape' comment. Photo / file

A former Republican congressman whose "legitimate rape" comments during the 2012 US Senate campaign were roundly criticised now says he was wrong to apologise.

Todd Akin, of Missouri, writes in a new political memoir that his remarks on whether abortion should be legal in cases of rape were taken out of context and led to his "political assassination" and betrayal by Republican allies.

The 67-year-old Akin, who spent 12 years in Congress and another dozen as a state lawmaker, lost to Democrat Claire McCaskill. Some blamed Akin -- who resisted calls to drop out of the race-- for costing Republicans a chance to gain a majority in the Senate.

The release of his memoir comes as Republicans are trying again to take back the Senate from the Democrats in the November elections. The Republicans, who already control the House, need six seats to gain a majority in the Senate. Akin is not running for a seat.

Firing Back: Taking on the Party Bosses and Media Elite to Protect Our Faith and Freedom will be released next week, but The Associated Press obtained an advance copy Thursday from the publisher, WND Books, an arm of the conservative website WorldNetDaily.

During an interview with a local TV reporter, Akin asserted that rape victims are less likely to get pregnant because "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

The 209-page book includes a foreword by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who, like Akin, criticises Republican leaders for abandoning the candidate soon after his remarks garnered national attention and almost immediately dominated the campaign. Akin writes he believes stress can affect a woman's ability to conceive, expanding on his earlier thoughts on the subject.

"My comment about a woman's body shutting the pregnancy down was directed to the impact of stress on fertilisation," he writes. "This is something fertility doctors debate and discuss. Doubt me? Google 'stress and infertility,' and you will find a library of research on the subject."

"The research is not conclusive, but there is considerable evidence that stress makes conception more difficult," he adds. "And what could be more stressful than a rape?"

Akin also says he only agreed to film a campaign ad in which he apologised for those comments because he was under pressure from his political advisers and campaign staff. He now regrets that apology and says he should have listened to his wife Lulli, the only person who objected.

"By asking the public at large for forgiveness, I was validating the willful misrepresentation of what I had said," he writes in a chapter entitled "Damage Control."

A publicist said Akin plans to launch a national book tour in either Washington or New York, followed by appearances in his home state, but was not available to discuss the book sooner. He has been out of politics and public life since the Senate loss.

-AP

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