George Allen criticizes Akin’s rape comment but previously voted for judge with similar view
(WTVR)–Congressman Todd Akin, currently running for U.S. Senate in Missouri has received national attention for comments he made about rape.
He came under fire after a St. Louis television reporter asked him about his
support of banning abortions, even in cases of rape [Read Akin’s comments here].
Akin replied to the question by saying, “it seems to me first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut down that whole thing.”
Former Virginia Governor George Allen criticized the comment, along with President Barack Obama, and presidential candidate Mitt Romney said he disagreed with the comment.
Today Allen, who is in a tight U.S. Senate race with former Democratic Gov. Timothy Kaine, released a statement that he “strongly disapproves” of what Akin said.
He also outlined his own commitment to helping victims of rape.
“Having served on a rape crisis board many years ago, I saw how both physically and emotionally harmful rape is for its victims, and this is why I believe there should be an exception for abortion for rape victims,” said Allen.
However, the Washington Post reports that when Allen was a senator, he voted to confirm an Arkansas judge who had previously voiced the idea that rape does not cause pregnancy.
James Leon Holmes had previously written a letter that contained the following statement; “concern for rape victims is a red herring because conceptions from rape occur with approximately the same frequency as snowfall in Miami.”
At that time Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.) voted against Holmes’s judgeship nomination, while Allen voted for it, reports the Washington Post. However, his confirmation did have bi-partisanship support.
The comment made by Holmes was in a 1980 letter that backed a constitutional ban on abortion, comments that Holmes did apologize for later after his nomination by President George W. Bush.
“I have to acknowledge that my own rhetoric, particularly when I first became involved in the issue [of abortion] in 1980 and perhaps some years thereafter, sometimes has been unduly strident and inflammatory,” wrote Holmes, reported the Washington Post.
Holmes said that the comment about rape victims was “particularly troublesome to me from a distance of 23 years later.” As the Washington Post reported, “Regardless of the merits of the issue, the articulation in that sentence reflects an insensitivity for which there is no excuse and for which I apologize.”
Akin also apologized on Monday, and said that “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. “