Rape and pregnancy controversies in United States elections, 2012
During the 2012 United States election cycle, in federal and state elections, a series of controversies arose as a result of statements by Republican Party candidates about rape, pregnancy, contraception, abortion, and related topics. The first and most widely covered controversy concerned Republican U.S. Senate candidate Representative Todd Akin of Missouri, who stated that pregnancy rarely occurs as a result of what he called "legitimate rape." Medical experts said Akin's statement is false, and many women's rights groups found the phrase "legitimate rape" demeaning. Akin's comments had a far-reaching political impact, changing the focus of political campaigns across the country to the War on Women. Akin was eventually denounced by politicians in both the Republican and Democratic Parties, most prominently by presidential candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama.
Following Akin's comments, additional controversies arose around other remarks made by various Republican politicians. The most notable of these was by Indiana State Treasurer and US Senate nominee Richard Mourdock, who said that life was "something that God intended", even if the pregnancy was due to rape. Some analysts identified the controversies around Mourdock's and Akin's comments, and those of other candidates, as a principal factor in their election losses. The comments may have had an effect on the national election results; many women voters supported Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.
In some cases, it has been claimed by pro-life activists that pregnancy from rape is either rare or impossible. This is an incorrect assertion; studies repeatedly show that any female capable of ovulation may become pregnant after rape by a fertile male, and the prevalence of pregnancy from rape is the same or greater than pregnancy from consensual sex.
Rape leads to tens of thousands of pregnancies each year. In a three-year longitudinal study of 4,000 American women, physician Melisa Holmes found that forced sexual intercourse causes over 32,000 pregnancies in the United States each year. That study revealed a pregnancy rate among women aged 12–45 of 5% of rapes and 6% of victims. A 1987 study also found a 5% pregnancy rate from rape of 18- to 24-year-old higher education students in the US. A 2005 study places the rape-related pregnancy rate at around 3–5%. Physician Felicia H. Stewart and economist James Trussell estimated that 333,000 assaults and rapes reported in the US in 1998 caused about 25,000 pregnancies, and that up to 22,000 of those pregnancies could have been prevented by prompt medical treatment, such as emergency contraception. A study of Ethiopian adolescents who reported being raped found that 17% subsequently became pregnant, and rape crisis centers in Mexico reported the figure at 15–18%. Estimates of rape-related pregnancy rates may be low since the crime is under-reported, so some pregnancies from rape are not recorded as such.
This discredited theory regarding the rarity of pregnancy from rape originated with Fred Mecklenburg in 1972. While serving as assistant clinical professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Minnesota Medical School, Mecklenburg published an article entitled "The Indications for Induced Abortion: A Physician's Perspective". He wrote that pregnancy resulting from rape is "extremely rare", that during rape sexual intercourse is not always successfully completed, that the probability of rape coinciding with a woman's ovulation period is low, and that rape-induced trauma impedes ovulation. At times the theory has been reversed and it has instead been non-falsifiably claimed that cases of pregnancy distinguish "real" rape from other acts. This suggestion is also widely seen as being discredited.[according to whom?]
Although it is false, the idea that trauma might function as a form of birth control has been advanced by anti-abortion activists attempting to secure an unqualified ban on abortion. For example, the former President of the National Right to Life Committee and physician John C. Willke wrote in a 1985 text that when undergoing rape, the female body can physiologically prevent conception. Revisiting his statement in a 1999 article, published in the Life Issues Connector, Willke wrote, "There's no greater emotional trauma that can be experienced by a woman than an assault rape ... This can radically upset her possibility of ovulation, fertilization and implantation." Willke, whose 1999 article has been posted on a pro-life website, said in August 2012 that rape, "is a traumatic thing" and women undergoing rape are "frightened, tight and so on. And sperm, if deposited in her vagina, are less likely to be able to fertilize. The tubes are spastic."
Similar statements on rape and pregnancy continued to be made at times prior to the election. In 1975, Republican Senator Dewey F. Bartlett, tabling an unsuccessful legislative amendment to withdraw state funding for abortions, said, "A person who is raped very seldom becomes pregnant. Statistics show it is very rare." Pennsylvania state representative Stephen Freind said in 1988 that the odds of a pregnancy resulting from rape were "one in millions and millions and millions." James Leon Holmes published a letter in 1980 stating, "concern for rape victims is a red herring because conceptions from rape occur with approximately the same frequency as snowfall in Miami". In 1995, North Carolina House of Representatives member Henry Aldridge said during a debate to eliminate a state abortion fund for poor women, "The facts show that people who are raped—who are truly raped—the juices don't flow, the body functions don't work and they don't get pregnant. Medical authorities agree that this is a rarity, if ever." In 1998, Arkansas state senator Fay Boozman lost a campaign for a US Senate seat after saying that fear-induced hormonal changes made rape victims unlikely to become pregnant.
Todd Akin, a long-time anti-abortion activist, served as a Republican member of the House of Representatives for Missouri's 2nd congressional district from 2001 until 2013. On August 7, 2012, Akin won the Republican primary to become his party's nominee for the U.S. Senate election in Missouri. On August 19, Akin said that victims of what he termed "legitimate rape" rarely become pregnant. He said this during an interview aired on the St. Louis television station KTVI-TV when asked whether women who are raped and become pregnant should have the option of abortion. He replied:
Well you know, people always want to try to make that as one of those things, well how do you, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. 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 try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.
Akin's comments almost immediately led to uproar. The term "legitimate rape" was called "loathsome" because it suggests that "there are different categories of rape — some real and awful and others that are not". Others took exception to the phrasing because it suggests that rape victims who become pregnant are likely to be lying. Akin's words were based on long-discredited pseudoscience; experts said the claims lacked any medical validity. Senior figures in both parties condemned Akin's remarks and some called for him to resign his seat or abandon his Senate candidacy.
Akin apologized after making the comment, saying he "misspoke", and that he planned to remain in the Senate race. He stated that by "legitimate rape" he meant "forcible rape", saying, "I was talking about forcible rape ... I used the wrong word". Akin's congressional record showed support for limits to abortion, such as co-sponsoring a bill that would make abortion illegal even in the case of rape.
Akin responded to the comments by issuing a press release stating:
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.
On August 21, he issued a television commercial in which he said:
Rape is an evil act. I used the wrong words in the wrong way and for that I apologize. As the father of two daughters, I want tough justice for predators. I have a compassionate heart for the victims of sexual assault, and I pray for them. The fact is, rape can lead to pregnancy. The truth is, rape has many victims. The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold. I ask for your forgiveness.
In relation to the resulting furor over his original "legitimate rape" comment, Akin said: "I talk about one word, one sentence, one day out of place, and, all of a sudden, the entire establishment turns on you."
Akin later wrote a book, Firing Back: Taking on the Party Bosses and Media Elite to Protect Our Faith and Freedom (published July 2014), in which he stated that he regretted apologizing for these remarks, because, "by asking the public at large for forgiveness, I was validating the willful misinterpretation of what I had said." He said that he meant "legitimate rape" as an abbreviated form of "legitimate case of rape". He also reiterated that he believed a woman's body would prevent conception if she had been raped, due to impact of stress on fertilization. He criticized members of his party for disavowing him, including Karl Rove, former National Republican Senatorial Committee Executive Director Rob Jesmer, Senators Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn, John McCain, Roy Blunt, and Lindsey Graham, and House Speaker John Boehner, and what he referred to as the "liberal media" for supposed double standards, comparing his candidacy to that of George Allen, derailed due to Allen's use of a racist slur.
Senior Republicans strongly condemned Akin's remarks. The party's presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, said they were "inexcusable, insulting, and frankly, wrong", and called for Akin to step down; Paul Ryan, Romney's vice presidential nominee, echoed this call. The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) said that "if he continues with this misguided campaign, it will be without the support and resources of the NRSC." Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Akin's remarks were "totally inexcusable" and "wildly offensive". Conservative commentators Sean Hannity, Charles Krauthammer and Mark Levin called for Akin to step aside, as did the editorial teams of the Wall Street Journal and National Review, nine sitting US Senators, and four former Republican senators from Missouri—including John Danforth, Kit Bond, James Talent and John Ashcroft, and serving Missouri Republican Senator Roy Blunt. Fellow Republican Congressmen and Senate hopefuls Jeff Flake and Denny Rehberg also called for Akin's resignation. The Republican Political Action Committee American Crossroads said it would cut off all aid to Akin's candidacy. Immediately after the comment, Scott Ross of NBC said that Akin's comments affected his Senate candidacy.
Republicans made multiple calls for Akin to step down as nominee. The Washington Post reported Republicans dissociating themselves from Akin as a means of damage control. NRSC chairman John Cornyn said the Republican Party would no longer provide Akin with Senate election funding and that Akin was "endangering Republicans' hopes of retaking the majority in the Senate". In August, when the comments were made, Nate Silver gave the Republicans over a 60 percent chance of gaining a majority in the Senate. During the controversy, Republican party officials said that Akin's remarks had shifted "the national discussion to divisive social issues that could repel swing voters rather than economic issues that could attract them in a climate of high unemployment and stumbling recovery". A campaign spokesman for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan said both candidates disagreed with Akin's statement and that if elected, their administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape. Ryan telephoned Akin to advise him to step aside. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus warned Akin not to attend the upcoming 2012 Republican convention and said he should resign the nomination. Priebus described Akin's comments as "biologically stupid" and "bizarre" and said that, "This is not mainstream talk that he's referring to and his descriptions of whatever an illegitimate rape is. We're hoping he hears [these calls to drop out of the race]".
Some social conservative organizations, including the Family Research Council defended Akin. A spokesman for the Council said, "We feel this is a case of gotcha politics ... We know who Todd Akin is. We've worked with him up on the hill. He's a defender of life." A representative of the American Family Association cited Willke's 1999 article and said Akin "was exactly right". In response to Republican demands that Akin resign, Personhood USA spokeswoman Jennifer Mason said that Akin's position "is an integral part of the Republican Party platform, the same position that was held by President Ronald Reagan" and that "[we] are left with Reagan Republicans, who agree with the Republican Party platform on abortion, and Romney Republicans, a fringe group of liberals who compromise on human life." Mike Huckabee supported Akin by soliciting donations for his Senate campaign and accused the Republican establishment of a "carefully orchestrated and systematic attack." He was also critical of the Republican Senatorial Committee for demanding Akin's resignation.
Iowa Republican congressman Steve King supported Akin during the controversy, saying that Akin "is a strong Christian man, with a wonderful family". King answered a question about Medicaid's coverage for abortions for victims of rape and incest, saying "I just haven't heard of that being a circumstance that's been brought to me in any personal way, and I'd be open to discussion about that subject matter." King's comments were condemned by multiple sources, and others drew attention to their similarity to Akin's remarks. Controversy over Akin's comments ignited again after the election, when fellow Republican Representative Phil Gingrey, who is also an obstetrician, said Akin's comments were "partly right" when he said women's bodies can avoid pregnancy in cases of rape. Gingrey also said that he "delivered lots of babies" and "[knew] about these things". Gingrey also said he found nothing wrong with distinguishing "legitimate rape" from non-legitimate rape, which he defined as a false accusation. His office released a statement that said, "In my attempt to provide context as to what I presumed they meant, my position was misconstrued."
President Barack Obama responded to Akin's comments by saying "Rape is rape ... And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we're talking about doesn't make sense to the American people and certainly doesn't make sense to me." Akin's opponent in the Senate campaign, Senator Claire McCaskill, said, "It is beyond comprehension that someone can be so ignorant about the emotional and physical trauma brought on by rape". Democratic members started a petition to remove Akin from the science committee.
Despite intense pressure to step aside, Akin resolved to remain in the race. On The Sean Hannity Show, he said he, "was calling you and letting you know that I'm announcing today that we're [staying] in." On the Mike Huckabee Show he said, "Rape is never legitimate ... I used the wrong words in the wrong way." A national poll conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion showed that 84% of Americans disagreed with Akin's comments about "legitimate rape", and that 63% wanted him to drop out of the U.S. Senate race.
Akin's comments were widely thought to be the main reason he lost the senatorial election. Exit polls reported that 64% of voters said that Akin's comment was important in their voting decision, and among those voters 74% voted for Claire McCaskill while 18% voted for Akin. According to Jennifer Haberkorn of Politico, Akin lost his election bid because of a backlash from women voters. A poll released on August 23 by Rasmussen Reports showed a steep drop in support for Akin among Missouri voters; McCaskill led Akin in this poll by roughly 10 points. Akin had earlier been in the lead. Akin's comments encouraged new debates on the War on Women. Political analysts drew attention to Akin's co-sponsorship of anti-abortion bills with vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, and the Obama campaign tried to link Ryan to Akin's remarks. James Rowley of Businessweek wrote that the incident had drawn attention to the Republican Party's advocacy for a total ban on abortion.
Richard Mourdock was the Indiana State Treasurer and 2012 Republican Senate nominee who had defeated six-term incumbent U.S. Senator Richard Lugar in the May 2012 Republican primary election with support from the Tea Party movement. On October 23, 2012, two weeks before the election, Mourdock was asked about abortion during a debate with Democrat nominee Joe Donnelly. He said:
I know there are some who disagree and I respect their point of view but I believe that life begins at conception. The only exception I have to have an abortion is in that case of the life of the mother. I just struggled with it myself for a long time but I came to realize: Life is that gift from God that I think even if life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.
Dan Parker, chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party said, "As a pro-life Catholic, I’m stunned and ashamed that Richard Mourdock believes God intended rape". He also said, "Victims of rape are victims of an extremely violent act, and mine is not a violent God. Do we need any more proof that Richard Mourdock is an extremist who’s out of touch with Hoosiers?"  The day after the debate, Mourdock issued a statement saying, "God creates life, and that was my point. God does not want rape, and by no means was I suggesting that he does. Rape is a horrible thing, and for anyone to twist my words otherwise is absurd and sick." He later said at a press conference, "I believe God controls the universe. I don't believe biology works in an uncontrolled fashion." The controversy likely contributed to Mourdock's loss to Representative Joe Donnelly, and Tom LoBianco of Associated Press' The Big Story commented upon the similarities to Akin's comments. 
On October 22, a television commercial showing Governor Mitt Romney (the Republican nominee for United States President) supporting Mourdock began to air in Indiana. The Romney campaign subsequently issued a statement saying, "Gov. Romney disagrees with Richard Mourdock's comments, and they do not reflect his views," but it did not stop the commercial. Senator John Cornyn, chairman of the NRSC, said, "Richard and I, along with millions of Americans—including even Joe Donnelly—believe that life is a gift from God. To try and construe his words as anything other than a restatement of that belief is irresponsible and ridiculous."
Many Republicans publicly called for Mourdock to apologize for the statement. Senator McCain called for him to issue an apology, and said his support for Mourdock's campaign "depends on what he does." Senator Scott Brown refused to state that he supported Mourdock in the election. Republican Representative Mike Pence urged Mourdock to apologize, and said in a statement, "I strongly disagree with the statement made by Richard Mourdock during last night's Senate debate". Responding to a question on Mourdock's comment, President Obama said on the Tonight Show, "Rape is rape. It is a crime," and, "These various distinctions about rape don't make too much sense to me."
Other controversial statements
Controversial comments about rape and abortion also came from other Republican legislators and legislative candidates. Following Todd Akin's comments, reporters at the Pennsylvania Press Club asked Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Tom Smith on August 27, 2012, how, considering his no-exceptions anti-abortion stance, he would tell a daughter or granddaughter who had been raped that she must keep the pregnancy. Smith said that he had been in a similar situation because his daughter had become pregnant out of wedlock. He said that he was not equating the two situations but that a father's position was similar. Salon magazine said, "If you believe pregnancy from rape and pregnancy from sex out of marriage are 'similar', then you implicitly believe that the problem with rape is that it's non-sanctioned sexual activity, as opposed to a crime against a woman's person."
Wisconsin State Assembly member Roger Rivard became the subject of controversy in October 2012 because of his 2011 comment about a case against a high school senior for raping a 14-year-old girl. He said that when he was a teenager his father had warned him that, "Some girls rape easy". Rivard later told the Journal-Sentinel that his words had been taken out of context and that "it was advice to me, telling me, 'If you're going to [have premarital sex], you may have consensual sex that night and then the next morning it may be rape.' So the way he said it was, 'Just remember, Roger, some girls, they rape so easy. It may be rape the next morning.' " Rivard lost the election to Democrat Stephen Smith.
On October 18, 2012, Republican Representative Joe Walsh said that due to scientific advances, an abortion is no longer necessary to save the life of the mother and that he therefore opposed policies that would allow a woman to have an abortion if pregnancy endangered her life. The following day, Walsh said that situations where "both mother and baby will die if the baby is not aborted" are "very rare," but he supported "medical procedures for women during their pregnancies that might result in the loss of the unborn child" in such cases.
John Koster, a Republican congressional candidate in Washington's 1st District, was asked after a campaign fundraiser on October 28, 2012, about exceptions from abortion prohibition for rape and incest victims. He said, "Incest is so rare, I mean, it's so rare ... But the rape thing—you know, I know a woman who was raped and kept the child, gave it up for adoption, and she doesn't regret it." He added, "On the rape thing, it's like, how does putting more violence onto a woman's body and taking the life of an innocent child that's a consequence of this crime—how does that make it better? You know what I mean?" His comments, including the use of the words "rape thing", drew local and national criticism. Koster acknowledged that his comments may have caused him to lose the election in Washington's most competitive district.
The overall response to the controversies was negative, and some commentators blamed them for Republican losses during the election. Republican political consultant and policy advisor Karl Rove wrote in an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, "Offensive comments about rape by [Republican] Senate candidates in Missouri and Indiana gave the media an excuse to put social issues at the election's center in a way that badly hurt the entire party, as well as costing Republicans two Senate seats." The comments from otherwise low-profile candidates may have cost Mitt Romney the election and reinforced some voters' concerns that the GOP is out of touch with women. They also were credited with helping President Obama win the women's vote at the 2012 presidential election.
Karen Hughes, a former adviser to George W. Bush, wrote in Politico, "And if another Republican man says anything about rape other than it is a horrific, violent crime, I want to personally cut out his tongue. The college-age daughters of many of my friends voted for Obama because they were completely turned off by Neanderthal comments like the suggestion of 'legitimate rape.' " Brad Bannon of US News and World Report wrote, "The [Republican] insults may also have an ironic backlash. Ryan, Akin, Mourdock, and Koster are poster boys for the need for more women in Congress, so Republican attacks on women may mean the election of more women." The conservative blog Hot Air linked Akin's remarks to a ten percent shift in US public opinion polls toward supporting legalizing abortion in all circumstances. In a column in Salon, Joan Walsh wrote, "suddenly Americans had to try to imagine how doctors or hospital administrators or law enforcement officials would decide what was 'legitimate rape,' as opposed to something else. Rape panels?"
The controversies caused the Republican Party to look for ways to prevent its election candidates from making similar comments about rape. Kevin Madden, a Republican strategist and senior adviser to the Mitt Romney presidential campaign, said, "This is actually pretty simple. If you're about to talk about rape as anything other than a brutal and horrible crime, stop". Anti-abortion groups, such as the Susan B. Anthony List, launched training programs to prevent controversial statements on rape and abortion. Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway told Republican members of the House of Representatives that rape is a "four-letter word" and Republicans need to avoid discussing it.
- Froetschel, Susan. "'Legitimate rape' remark fuels women's increasing skepticism about religion". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 19, 2013.; Eligon, John (August 19, 2012). "Senate Candidate Provokes Ire With 'Legitimate Rape' Comment". The New York Times.
- Robinson, Eugene (August 20, 2012). "Todd Akin's Comment Brings 'War on Women' Back to Prominence". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
- Schultheis, Emily (November 6, 2012). "Rape Comments Bring Down Mourdock, Akin". Politico. Retrieved November 11, 2012.
- Black, Jeff (November 7, 2012). "Rape Remarks Sink Two Republican Senate Hopefuls". NBC Politics. NBCNews.com. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
- Culp-Ressler, Tara (November 7, 2012). "Rape Comments Cost Anti-Choice Candidates Their Seats". Think Progress. Center for American Progress Action Fund. Retrieved November 18, 2012.; Fetters, Ashley (November 7, 2012). "Did Inflammatory Remarks About Rape and Abortion Doom GOP Candidates?". The Atlantic. Retrieved November 21, 2012.; Schultheis, Emily (November 6, 2012). "Rape Comments Bring Down Mourdock, Akin". Politico. Retrieved November 21, 2012.; Levintova, Hannah (November 7, 2012). "The Republican Rape Caucus Crumbles". Mother Jones. Retrieved November 21, 2012.; "Republican Candidates Lose After Rape Comments". Australia: ABC. November 8, 2012. Retrieved November 21, 2012.; "Republican Rape Remark Candidates Defeated". Sky News. November 7, 2012. Retrieved November 21, 2012.; McVeigh, Karen (November 7, 2012). "Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock Fall to Senate Defeats". The Guardian. London. Retrieved November 21, 2012.; Black, Jeff (November 7, 2012). "Rape Remarks Sink Two Republican Senate Hopefuls". NBCNews.com. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
- Haberman, Maggie (November 7, 2012). "President Obama's Reelection: 12 Takeaways". Politico. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
- Abdullah, Halimah (November 8, 2012). "How Women Ruled the 2012 Election and Where the GOP Went wrong". CNN. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
- Hughes, Karen (November 12, 2012). "Communication Lessons from the Election". Politico. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
- Abbasi, Jennifer (August 21, 2012). "Steve King Echoes Akin". Popular Science. Retrieved June 25, 2013.
- Holmes, Melisa M.; Resnick, Heidi S.; Kilpatrick, Dean G.; Best, Connie L. (1996). "Rape-related pregnancy: Estimates and descriptive characteristics from a national sample of women". American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 175 (2): 320–4; discussion 324–5. doi:10.1016/S0002-9378(96)70141-2. PMID 8765248.
- Thornhill, Randy; Palmer, Craig T. (2001). A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion. MIT Press. p. 100. ISBN 978-0-262-70083-2.
- Koss, Mary P.; Gidycz, Christine A.; Wisniewski, Nadine (1987). "The scope of rape: Incidence and prevalence of sexual aggression and victimization in a national sample of higher education students". Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 55 (2): 162–70. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.55.2.162. PMID 3494755.
- Hazelwood, Robert R.; Burgess, Ann Wolbert (2009). Practical Aspects of Rape Investigation: A Multidisciplinary Approach. CRC Press. p. 28. ISBN 978-1-4200-6504-6. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
- Stewart, Felicia H; Trussell, James (2000). "Prevention of pregnancy resulting from rape: A neglected preventive health measure". American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 19 (4): 228–9. doi:10.1016/S0749-3797(00)00243-9. PMID 11064225.
- Mulugeta, E; Kassaye, M; Berhane, Y (1998). "Prevalence and outcomes of sexual violence among high school students". Ethiopian medical journal. 36 (3): 167–74. PMID 10214457.
- Krug, Etienne G.; World Health Organization (2002). World Report on Violence and Health. World Health Organization. p. 162. ISBN 978-92-4-154561-7. Retrieved February 15, 2013.
- ACOG (August 20, 2012). "Statement on Rape and Pregnancy". American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Retrieved January 18, 2012.
- Townsend, Tim; Bernhard, Blythe (August 20, 2012). "Where Akin Got the Idea that Rape Victims Rarely Get Pregnant". The Seattle Times. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
- Townsend, Tim; Bernhard, Blythe (August 21, 2012). "Akin Appears to Have Picked up Conclusions from 1972 Article Now Hotly Disputed". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved January 18, 2012.
- Franke-Ruta, Garance (August 19, 2012). "A Canard That Will Not Die: 'Legitimate Rape' Doesn't Cause Pregnancy". The Atlantic. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- Belluck, Pam (August 20, 2012). "Health Experts Dismiss Assertions on Rape". The New York Times. Retrieved January 18, 2012.
- "Senate Rejects Abortion Bill". Bangor Daily News. Associated Press. April 11, 1975. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
- Kliff, Sarah (August 20, 2012). "Rep. Todd Akin is Wrong About Rape and Pregnancy, But He's Not Alone". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
- "Freind Admits He Erred, Exaggerated on Rapes". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 61 (208). Associated Press. March 30, 1988. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
- Babington, Charles (July 7, 2004). "Senate Confirms Controversial Nominee to Federal Court". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
- "N.C. Legislator Says Rape Victims Don't Get Pregnant". The Mount Airy News (96). Wire Reports. April 21, 1995. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
- "Boozman Says Rape Remark a Mistake". Associated Press State & Local Wire. February 14, 1999.
- Radnofsky, Louise (August 21, 2012). "Fates of Past Lawmakers After Rape Remarks". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
- Friedman, Dan (November 3, 2012). "Akin was Arrested at Least Eight Times in 1980s". National Journal. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
- "Rep. Todd Akin". GovTrack.us. Civic Impulse. n.d. Retrieved January 18, 2012.
- "Nov 6, 2012 General Election". Missouri Secretary of State. Missouri State Government Web. August 8, 2012. Retrieved January 18, 2013.[permanent dead link]
- Jaco, Charles (August 19, 2012). "Jaco Report: Full Interview with Todd Akin". Fox 2 Now. KTVI. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
- The Washington Post Editorial Board (20 Aug 2012). "The repugnant code behind Todd Akin's words". Retrieved 9 Oct 2016.
- Staff. "A legitimate rape?". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved March 31, 2013.; Carroll, Aaron (August 19, 2012). "Rape can make you pregnant. Period". CNN.; Staff. "Rape means rape". The Washington Post.
- DiSalvo, David (August 19, 2012). "Republican Senate Nominee Todd Akin: Victims Of "Legitimate Rape" Don't Get Pregnant". Forbes. Retrieved August 20, 2012. Graham, David A. (August 22, 2012). "Video of the Day: 'Forcible Rape' and Paul Ryan's Akin Problem" (Video). The Atlantic. Retrieved August 25, 2012. Abouhalkah, Yael T. (n.d.). "Todd Akin's Rape Fantasy". Midwest Voices. KansasCity.com. Retrieved August 20, 2012. Eligon, John; Schwirtz, Michael (August 19, 2012). "Senate Candidate Provokes Ire With 'Legitimate Rape' Comment". The New York Times. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
- Hamby, Peter (August 20, 2012). "Leading Social Conservatives Rally to Akin's Defense". CNN. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- Kim, Seung Min (August 21, 2012). "List of Senators Calling on Akin to Quit Keeps Growing". Politico. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
- Costa, Robert (August 20, 2012). "Romney: Akin's Comment 'Inexcusable'". National Review Online. Archived from the original on March 4, 2013. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
- Killough, Ashley (August 20, 2012). "GOP chair: Akin Should Drop Out, Skip Convention". CNN. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- Weigel, David (August 20, 2012). "Akin: When I Was Talking About 'Legitimate' Rape, I Meant 'Forcible' Rape". Slate. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
- Allen, Jonathan (August 20, 2012). "Mitt Romney's Run from Todd Akin at Odds with Paul Ryan". Politico. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
- Ross, Scott (August 20, 2012). "Akin Vows to Stay in Race After 'Legitimate Rape' Gaffe". NBC10 Philadelphia. NBCUniversal Media. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
- Akin, Todd (August 19, 2012). "Akin Statement on 'Jaco Report' Interview". Todd Akin for U.S. Senate 2012. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- Akin, Todd (August 21, 2012). "Forgiveness (Broadcast Commercial for Todd Akin)" (Video). ToddAkinTube. YouTube. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- Dowd, Maureen (August 21, 2012). "Just Think No". The New York Times. p. A25. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
- Sullivan, Sean (July 17, 2014). "Todd Akin: 'I should have said legitimate case of rape'". The Washington Post.
- Palmer, Anna; Parti, Tarini (July 10, 2014). "Todd Akin returns to national stage". Politico.
- Davis, Susan (August 21, 2012). "Romney Calls on Akin to Withdraw from Senate Race". USA Today. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
- Condon, Stephanie (August 21, 2012). "Defiant Akin Says He's Staying in Race". CBSNews.com. CBS Interactive. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
- Vaughn, Jason M. (August 21, 2012). "Romney, Blunt, Ashcroft, Bond, Danforth and Talent Call for Akin to Step Aside". Fox4kc.com. WDAF. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
- Camia, Catalina (August 20, 2012). "Romney, GOP, Criticize Akin Controversial Comments on Rape". Azcentral.com. USA Today. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
- Henderson, Nia-Malika; Kane, Paul (August 21, 2012). "Todd Akin Should Drop out of Senate Race, Romney Says". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
- Henderson, Nia-Malika; Kane, Paul (20 August 2012). "National GOP Pulls Funding from Todd Akin's Missouri Race". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
- Silver, Nate (November 6, 2012). "FiveThirtyEight's 2012 Forecast". NY TImes. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
- Cohen, Tom (August 22, 2012). "Akin Imbroglio is Bad News for Republicans". CNN. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
- Mak, Tim (August 21, 2012). "Paul Ryan Called Todd Akin, According to Reports". Politico. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- Picket, Kerry (August 20, 2012). "RNC Chair Wants Akin to 'Step Aside' and Not Come to Convention". The Washington Times. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- Staff (August 23, 2012). "Defending Todd Akin: 5 Reasons Right-Wingers Still Support Him". The Week. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
- Mason, Jennifer (August 22, 2012). "Personhood USA Calls on Romney to Back Akin in Support of GOP Platform". Personhood USA. Archived from the original on June 15, 2013. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
- "Huckabee Stands by Akin in Embattled Senate Bid". Associated Press. August 23, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
- Babington, Charles (August 27, 2012). "Analysis: Akin Row Shows GOP's Social-Fiscal Rift". Yahoo! News. Yahoo!. Associated Press. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
- Condon, Stephanie (August 21, 2012). "Rep. Steve King Backs Up Todd Akin, Weighs in on Rape and Abortion". CBSNews.com. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
- Leigh, Heather (August 20, 2012). "Rep. Steve King on the Campaign Trail". SiouxlandNews.com. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
- Amira, Dan (August 21, 2012). "Congressman Steve King Has Never Heard of Someone Getting Pregnant Through Statutory Rape or Incest". NYMAG.com. New York Media. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
- Benen, Steve (August 21, 2012). "Steve King Follows Akin's Lead". The Maddow Blog: MSNBC. NBCNews.com. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
- Seitz-Wald, Alex (August 21, 2012). "Steve King Echoes Akin". Salon. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
- McMorris-Santoro, Evan (August 21, 2012). "Rep. Steve King: I've Never Heard Of A Girl Getting Pregnant From Statutory Rape Or Incest". TPM. Archived from the original on November 14, 2012. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
- Cirilli, Kevin (January 11, 2013). "Phil Gingrey: Todd Akin 'Partly Right' on Rape". Politico. Retrieved January 11, 2013.
- "Republican: Akin 'Partly Right' on Rape Comment". USA Today. Associated Press. January 11, 2013. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
- Lee, Kristen A. (January 11, 2013). "GOP Rep. Phil Gingrey, an Ob-Gyn, Is Under Fire for Comments on 'Legitimate Rape' and Pregnancy". Daily News. New York. Retrieved January 11, 2013.
- Condon, Stephanie (August 20, 2012). "Akin Apologizes for Rape Comments; Obama Says "Rape is Rape"". CBSNews.com. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- LoGiurato, Brett (August 19, 2012). "Claire McCaskill: 'It Is Beyond Comprehensible' That Todd Akin 'Can Be So Ignorant'". Business Insider. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
- Martonosi, Margaret (August 23, 2012). "Rape, Abortion Debate Fuels 6th District Race". CNN. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
- Haberman, Maggie (August 20, 2012). "Akin: Seriously, I Am Not Getting Out". Politico. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- Sobel, Julie (August 20, 2012). "Todd Akin Apologizes for Rape Comments in Interview With Huckabee". The Atlantic. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- Canseco, Mario (August 23, 2012). "Americans of All Political Stripes Believe Akin Should Drop Out of Senate Race (Press Release)" (PDF). Angus Reid Public Opinion. Retrieved August 23, 2012.
- Jaffe, Greg (November 7, 2012). "GOP's Akin, Mourdock Lose Senate Elections". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
- Jervis, Rick (November 7, 2012). "Akin's Gaffe Helps McCaskill Retain Missouri Senate Seat". USA Today. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
- "Senate: Missouri (McCaskill vs Akin)". CNN. November 8, 2012. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
- Haberkorn, Jennifer (November 6, 2012). "Abortion, Rape Controversy Shaped Key Races". Politico. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
- "Election 2012: Missouri Senate". Rasmussen Reports. Ramussen Reports. October 19, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
- Silver, Nate (August 23, 2012). "Republican Voters Could Sit Out Missouri Senate Race". The New York Times. Retrieved August 23, 2012.
- Maxwell, Zerlina (August 20, 2012). "Todd Akin, Paul Ryan and the Very Real War on Women". Daily News. New York. Archived from the original on August 22, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
- Jansing, Chris (August 20, 2012). "Akin's Comments Reignite War on Women" (Video). Jansing & Co. NBCNews.com. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
- Buck, Bill (August 20, 2012). "Despite Denials Akin's Comments Are Part GOP War On Women". CBS Los Angeles. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
- Zengerle, Patricia; Lawder, David (August 21, 2012). "Republicans Push Akin to Quit Senate Race over Rape Comments". Reuters. Retrieved August 21, 2012. Sargent, Greg (August 20, 2012). "How Bad is the Ryan-Akin Anti-Abortion Bill?". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 21, 2012. Mahtesian, Charles (August 20, 2012). "Akin: A Damage Estimate". Politico. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- "Obama Hits Ryan on Bill's 'Forcible Rape' Language". CBN News. Christian Broadcasting Network. August 23, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
- Rowley, James (August 22, 2012). "Republican Platform Panel Backs Blanket Ban on Abortion". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
- McAuliff, Michael (May 9, 2012). "Dick Lugar Loses To Tea Party's Richard Mourdock In Indiana Republican Senate Primary". Huffington Post. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
- Raju, Manu (October 23, 2012). "Richard Mourdock Under Fire for Rape Remarks". On Congress: Reporting and Analysis of Capitol Hill. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
- Richard Mourdock. "Thank You for Your Support". The Official Website for Richard Mourdock for US Senate. Mourdock Senate Campaign. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
- Krieg, Gregory J.; Good, Chris. "Mourdock Rape Comment Puts GOP on Defense". ABC News. ABC News Internet Ventures. Yahoo! – ABC News Network.
- Kim, Seung Min (November 6, 2012). "Joe Donnelly Upsets Richard Mourdock in Indiana". Politico. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
- LoBianco, Tom (October 24, 2012). "Mourdock: God at work when rape leads to pregnancy". Associated Press. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
- McAuliff, Michael (October 23, 2012). "Richard Mourdock On Abortion: Pregnancy From Rape Is 'Something God Intended'". Huffington Post. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
- Lobianco, Tom (October 23, 2012). "Mourdock: God at Work When Rape Leads to Pregnancy". Huffington Post. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
- Schneider, Mary Beth; Ritchie, Carrie (October 24, 2012). "Richard Mourdock's Response to Abortion Question Provokes Controversy in Indiana Senate Debate". IndyStar.com. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
- "Republicans Divided in Response to Senate Candidate's Rape Comment". FoxNews.com. Fox News Network. October 24, 2012. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
- Filipovic, Jill (October 25, 2012). "The real Republican rape platform". The Guardian. London. Retrieved March 19, 2013.
- Lobianco, Tom (October 24, 2012). "GOP's Mourdock Stands by Rape, Abortion Remark". Yahoo! News. Yahoo!. Associated Press. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
- "Scott Brown Rejects Richard Mourdock's Rape Comment". NorthJersey.com. Associated Press. October 24, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
- Crittenden, Michael R. (October 24, 2012). "Mourdock's Rape Remark Sets Off Firestorm". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
- Memoli, Michael A. (October 24, 2012). "Obama Objects to Mourdock's Rape Comment, Skewers Trump". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 25, 2012.
- Couloumbis, Angela (August 29, 2012). "Pennsylvania Senate Candidate Tom Smith Tangled Up Over Rape and Abortion". Philly.com. Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
- "Smith Makes Abortion Gaffe". PoliticsPA. August 28, 2012. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
- Weigel, David (August 27, 2012). "The Fruits of Todd Akin: Pennsylvania Edition". Slate. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
- Brennan, Chris (August 29, 2012). "Clout: Did Pa. GOP Senate hopeful join Todd Akin club?". Philly.com. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
- Miller, Korin (August 28, 2012). "Politician: Rape Pregnancy Is Like Having Illegitimate Baby". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
- Carmon, Irin (August 27, 2012). "Tom Smith: Meet the new Todd Akin". Salon. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
- Zimmerman, Anita (December 21, 2011). "Rivard Talks Problems with Rape, Registry Laws" (PDF). WisPolitics.com. TCT Publishing. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
- Marley, Patrick (October 10, 2012). "Rep. Roger Rivard criticized for 'some girls rape easy' remark". Journal Sentinel. Milwaukee: Journal Sentinel Inc. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
- Terkel, Amanda (November 7, 2012). "Roger Rivard Loses Reelection To Wisconsin Assembly After Saying 'Some Girls Rape Easy'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
- Parnass, Sarah (October 19, 2012). "Rep. Walsh Says No Need for Abortion to Save Mother's Life". ABC News. ABC News Internet Ventures. Yahoo! – ABC News Network. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
- Grim, Ryan (October 18, 2012). "Joe Walsh On Abortion: No Exception For 'Life Of The Mother' Thanks To 'Advances In Science And Technology'". Huffington Post. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
- Parnass, Sarah (October 19, 2012). "Rep. Joe Walsh Walks Back Abortion-Without-Exception Comment". The Note. ABC News. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
- Baker, Mike (October 31, 2012). "GOP Hopeful: 'Rape Thing' Not Cause for Abortion". SeattlePi. Associated Press. Archived from the original on November 12, 2012. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
- Kaminsky, Jonathan (November 9, 2012). "John Koster, GOP House Candidate Who Spoke Of 'The Rape Thing', Conceding House Race". Huffington Post. Reuters. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
- Collier, Myles (November 1, 2012). "John Koster 'Rape Thing' Comments Ignite Controversy". The Christian Post. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
- Howley, Kerry (November 1, 2012). "You're Pro-Life, I'm Pro-Life, We're All Pro-Life". Slate. Retrieved November 27, 2012.
- Heffter, Emily (October 31, 2012). "Koster Draws Fire Over Comments About Abortion, 'The Rape Thing'". The Seattle Times. Retrieved November 27, 2012.
- Heffter, Emily. "DelBene Beats Koster in Race for U.S. HouseDems Hold State's Most Competitive District". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on January 10, 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
- Rove, Karl (November 14, 2012). "Rove: The Lessons of Defeat for the GOP". The Wall Street Journal (European ed.). Retrieved November 18, 2012.
- Reimer, Susan (November 7, 2012). "Women flex muscle at the polls Republicans suffer for insensitive comments about rape, abortion". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
- Bannon, Brad (November 1, 2012). "Republican Rape Rants Will Ruin Party's Election Chances". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved November 27, 2012.
- AllahPundit (November 15, 2012). "Rasmussen: 54% Now Call Themselves Pro-Choice, 38% Pro-Life". Hot Air. Hot Air. Retrieved November 27, 2012.
- Walsh, Joan (November 8, 2012). "How Choice Became a Winning Issue". Salon. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
- Haberkorn, Jennifer (January 11, 2013). "GOP Looks for Ways to Stop the Rape Comments". Politico. Retrieved January 13, 2013.