(NEW YORK) — Amid growing pressure for him to drop out of Missouri’s Senate race, Rep. Todd Akin released a new ad Tuesday asking for forgiveness over remarks he made about women rarely becoming pregnant from “legitimate rape.”
“Rape is an evil act. I used the wrong words in the wrong way and for that I apologize,” Akin says in the 30-second spot titled “Forgiveness.”
The Republican congressman is referring to an interview with KTVI-TV that aired Sunday in which he said, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Those comments have led to a backlash from several Republicans, who are calling on Akin to exit the race against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. It has also caused the super PAC American Crossroads to pull funding for his campaign.
“As the father of two daughters, I want tough justice for predators. I have a compassionate heart for the victims of sexual assault. I pray for them. The fact is, rape can lead to pregnancy. The truth is, rape has many victims,” Akin says in the new ad.
“The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold. I ask for your forgiveness,” the video concludes.
Akin has insisted he’s staying in the race, telling Mike Huckabee’s radio show on Monday that he is “not a quitter.”
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Tom Kludt and Jeremy Diamond, CNN
David Chalian, CNN
Tal Kopan and Evan Perez, CNN