Todd Akin, whose Senate bid collapsed after rape remark, dies at 74

William Todd Akin, a six-term Republican representative from Missouri who relinquished a secure seat to run for the Senate in 2012, only...


William Todd Akin, a six-term Republican representative from Missouri who relinquished a secure seat to run for the Senate in 2012, only to see his campaign crumble in a shower of recriminations after a remark about “legitimate rape,” died Sunday at his home in a suburb of Saint-Louis. He was 74 years old.

His death in Wildwood, Missouri, after years of battling cancer, was confirmed by his son Perry Akin in a statement to The Associated Press.

Mr. Akin, an abortion opponent whose political rise was fueled by evangelicals, anger provoked across the political spectrum after asserting in a television interview in August 2012, that women’s bodies could somehow reject pregnancies in what he called “legitimate rape”.

“The female body has ways of trying to shut it all down,” Akin said when asked about his position on abortion in cases where a woman has been sexually assaulted. “But suppose maybe it didn’t work or something like that: I think there should be a punishment, but the punishment should be that of the rapist and not of attacking the child,” a- he added.

Comments from Mr. Akin mad Democrats and women’s rights groups. Leading experts in reproductive health rejected his logic.

Republicans were also enraged by the comments – some were offended and others were angry that Mr. Akin damaged the Republicans’ candidacy for a crucial Senate seat he was asked to win ahead of the interview.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s Republican presidential ticket quickly distanced himself from Mr. Akin’s comments.

“His comments about the rape were deeply offensive and I cannot defend what he said,” Romney said in a statement at the time. “I can’t defend him.”

Republicans withdrawn funds and support in an attempt to kick Mr. Akin out of the race. In the end, he turned down calls to resign and was beaten by Senator Claire McCaskill, the Democratic incumbent.

Although Mr. Akin initially apologized for the comments, he later defended them in a book published in 2014 who detailed his experience as a six-term Republican congressman. By apologizing to the public, Mr. Akin wrote in the book, he had validated the “willful misinterpretation” of what he had said.

Mr. Akin was born to Paul and Nancy Akin on July 5, 1947 in New York City and raised near St. Louis. He graduated from elite preparatory school, John Burroughs, and earned an engineering degree from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts before earning a master’s degree in divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary in Missouri. He worked as a manager at Laclede Steel, which his great-grandfather founded.

A member of the Presbyterian Church in America, he was first elected to Missouri House in 1988, gaining support from his first political base as part of a network of parents who homeschool their children; Mr. Akin homeschooled his six.

In 2000, he was elected to Congress in what analysts at the time called a fluke of political luck. He was seen as an outside candidate in a five-vote Republican primary, and he won by 56 votes as the more moderate candidates ate each other.

As a legislator, he unabashedly centered his faith, driven by the belief that God had given him a mission to serve.

“He wouldn’t violate his beliefs if you shot him,” Rick Mathes, of the Mission Gate prison ministry where Mr. Akin was on the advisory board, said in 2012.

In his 2012 concession speech, Mr. Akin said that after “the circumstances that we have all been through”, it was “particularly appropriate to thank God, who makes no mistakes and is much wiser than us”.

“And so I say, to God alone be the honor and the glory, however he decides to organize the story,” he said.

In addition to his son Perry Akin, survivors include Mr. Akin’s wife, Lulli Boe Akin; his mother, Nancy Bigelow Akin; three other sons; two daughters and 18 grandchildren, according to the AP

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Newsrust - US Top News: Todd Akin, whose Senate bid collapsed after rape remark, dies at 74
Todd Akin, whose Senate bid collapsed after rape remark, dies at 74
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