Missouri Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin’s comments about "legtimate rape" and abortion have thrust the topic into the center of the nation’s political debate just one week before the Republican National Convention.
Congressman Jeff Flake, who is the odds-on favorite to win the GOP primary next week, has urged Akin to get out of the race.
After a speech Tuesday afternoon at the Pima County Republican Club, Flake said that while he believes abortion should be illegal in most cases, he supports an exemption for rape, incest and the life of the mother.
“I have always, throughout my career, said that there should be exceptions for rape, for incest and for life of the mother, “ Flake said. “I’ve received a lot of criticism from groups on the right because my position wasn’t as they wanted it to be, but that’s been my position and I’m sticking with it.”
But the Arizona Democratic Party is reminding voters that Flake was one of 227 co-sponsors on the bill that Akin was discussing when he got into trouble this week.
That bill, H.R. 3, was designed to narrow the circumstances under which federal dollars could be used to pay for an abortion. Among other changes in federal law, it would have redefined “rape” to “forcible rape” in regards to an exemption to the Hyde amendment, which blocks the use of federal funding to terminate a pregnancy.
The Christian Science Monitor has a good run-down of the controversy regarding the bill here. The CSM noted:
The term “forcible rape” was never explicitly defined, but pro-abortion-rights forces presumed the bill would preclude federal funding for abortions of pregnancies resulting from a variety of rapes where force may not be involved, including date rape, statutory rape, the rape of a woman who had been drugged, and the rape of a mentally incompetent woman. The bill also restricts abortions in cases of incest to females who are minors.