Todd Akin
Rep. Todd Akin, Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri, said in a television interview on Sunday that abortion should not be legal in cases of rape because victims of "legitimate rape" will very rarely become pregnant. Wikimedia Commons

Republican Senate hopeful Rep. Todd Akin made headlines Sunday with claims that women are extremely unlikely to get pregnant after "legitimate rape." Hours after the controversy broke, Akin released a full statement claiming he "misspoke."

The Missouri representative claims that he "misspoke" during his "off-the-cuff remarks," and that he did not intend to trivialize rape. Akins went on to say that his comment about "legitimate rape" "does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year."

On Sunday, Akin appeared on St. Louis's KTVI-TV to promote his campaign against Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. When asked to discuss his view on abortion in cases of rape, Akins state that "legitimate rape" very rarely results in pregnancies because women have biological defenses to stop themselves from conceiving.

"First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare," Akin told KTVI-TV. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

Soon after Akin's interview hit the Internet, numerous media outlets began covering the story. Akin's name is currently trending on Twitter, with many users lambasting his statements as "medieval."

Read Akin's full statement on the controversy below.

"As a member of Congress, I believe that working to protect the most vulnerable in our society is one of my most important responsibilities, and that includes protecting both the unborn and victims of sexual assault. In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it's clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year. Those who perpetrate these crimes are the lowest of the low in our society and their victims will have no stronger advocate in the Senate to help ensure they have the justice they deserve.

"I recognize that abortion, and particularly in the case of rape, is a very emotionally charged issue. But I believe deeply in the protection of all life and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action. I also recognize that there are those who, like my opponent, support abortion and I understand I may not have their support in this election.

"But I also believe that this election is about a wide range of very important issues, starting with the economy and the type of country we will be leaving our children and grandchildren. We've had 42 straight months of unacceptably high unemployment, trillion-dollar deficits, and Democratic leaders in Washington who are focused on growing government, instead of jobs. That is my primary focus in this campaign and while there are those who want to distract from that, knowing they cannot defend the Democrats' failed economic record of the last four years, that will continue to be my focus in the months ahead."