(WASHINGTON) — Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards denounced Rep. Todd Akin’s comment that women rarely get pregnant from “legitimate rape,” saying this morning that the statement was an “egregious example” of legislators “making policy on women’s health without understanding it.”
“This statement by Mr. Akin is, I think, politics at its worst, ignoring basic medicine and science in pursuit of some political ideology,” Richards said today during a conference call with reporters.
Richards stopped short of calling for Akin to resign, noting that he joins a “long line of examples” of congressmen who are putting their “own personal political ideology ahead of the needs of women.”
“I don’t want to address whether he should resign, but I don’t think he should be in office,” she said in response to a question from ABC News. “This is more evidence of when policy makers are literally legislating about women’s health and they don’t have the most basic understanding particularly of women’s reproductive care. This is perfect evidence of that enormous danger.”
Richards addressed the Akin controversy during a conference call announcing that Planned Parenthood will use the $3 million in public donations it received the week that the Susan G. Komen Foundation announced it was pulling funding for the group on breast cancer screenings and educational outreach.
Akin, who is opposed to abortions in all cases including rape, said Sunday on the Jaco Report radio show.
“It seems to me first of all from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Akin said in response to a question about supporting legal abortions for rape victims. “If it’s a legitimate rape the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
“But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something,” Akin continued. “I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist, not attacking the child.”
Akin said today that he “misspoke” and has “deep empathy” for rape victims.
In the 24 hours following Akin’s remarks even staunch abortion opponents have condemned his comments. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney dubbed Akin’s remarks “insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong,” in an interview with the National Review this morning.
Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., and Sen. Rob Johnson, R-Wisc., said Akin should resign from his Missouri Senate race where he is seeking to unseat Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Andreas Preuss, CNN
Elizabeth Cohen, CNN
Jason Hanna and Joe Sutton, CNN