Speed Reads

And just in time for 2014

Todd Akin is back, and still stands by his 'legitimate rape' comment from 2012 campaign

Former Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) is back on the scene — as much his fellow Republicans might wish he would just go away. And he's explaining what he really meant by that infamous "legitimate rape" comment: That he was simply questioning whether a woman is really telling the truth when she says she was raped, or just trying to get an abortion instead.

"When a woman claims to have been raped, the police determine if the evidence supports the legal definition of 'rape'," Akin says in his upcoming book, entitled Firing Back: Taking on the Party Bosses and Media Elite to Protect Our Faith, and on which the Daily Mail is reporting from an advance copy. "Is it a legitimate claim of rape or an excuse to avoid an unwanted pregnancy?"

Akin was the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate from Missouri in 2012, against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. He infamously threw away the GOP's chances when he dismissed the idea of permitting abortion in cases of rape, by saying: "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

Akin is still standing by the claim — which is not supported by the medical community — that pregnancy can be avoided in cases of sexual assault: "My comment about a woman's body shutting the pregnancy down, was directed to the impact of stress on fertilization. This is something fertility doctors debate and discuss. Doubt me? Google 'stress and fertilization,' and you will find a library of research on the subject," he said.

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