Ex-Missouri Rep. Todd Akin Dies Legitimate Death

You'd think the male body would have ways to shut that down

Bill Clark/Getty Images

Todd Akin, the one-time U.S. Representative who aborted his own political career after suggesting that the female body can “shut down” pregnancies caused by “legitimate rape,” has died. The Republican steel heir died from cancer in his home outside St. Louis on Sunday. His son, Perry Akin, released a statement to the Associated Press:

He was a devout Christian, a great father, and a friend to many. We cherish many fond memories from him driving the tractor at our annual hayride, to his riveting delivery of the freedom story at 4th of July parties dressed in the full uniform of a colonial minuteman. The family is thankful for his legacy: a man with a servant’s heart who stood for truth.

Akin stood for a lot of truths. One of them was that you couldn’t prove evolution. “I take a look at both sides of the thing, and it seems to me that evolution takes a tremendous amount of faith,” Akin said in a clip excerpted by MSNBC in 2012, “I don't even see it as a matter of science, because I don't know if you can prove one or the other.” Another was his infamous aforementioned abortion claim from the same year. While Akin was running to oust Missouri’s Sen. Claire McCaskill, a local TV station asked whether he supported abortions for women who had been raped. Akin once again answered like a man with a servant’s heart who stood for truth:

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.

It is almost impossible to imagine now, in the wake of Texas’s abortion ban and the looming possibility that the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade, but in 2012, this was enough to sink Akin’s career. Party officials from both sides called for Akin to drop out of the race. He declined, then lost by nearly 20 percent of the vote. As the father of two daughters, Akin had apologized for mischaracterizing their basic reproductive functions. But he took it back two years later, in his book Firing Back: Taking on the Party Bosses and Media Elite to Protect Our Faith and Freedom.

By asking the public at large for forgiveness, I was validating the willful misinterpretation of what I had said…My comment about a woman’s body shutting the pregnancy down was directed to the impact of stress on fertilization. This is something fertility doctors debate and discuss...Doubt me? Google ‘stress and infertility,’ and you will find a library of research on the subject.

Thanks for the tip, Todd, and have fun in Hell.