Many people in Missouri are still backing GOP Rep. Todd Akin — some more strongly than before — after his controversial remarks about rape and pregnancy.
Akin was polling ahead of the incumbent, Democrat Claire McCaskill, in the U.S. Senate race in Missouri, but his support fractured into several distinct camps after his comment that women's bodies can block pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape." (He has since apologized.)
Women who had multiple abortions before giving birth to a first child were more likely to have that child very prematurely or to deliver a child with a low birth weight, according to one of the first large-scale studies to look at the issue.
Since Republican Rep. Todd Akin first said the words "legitimate rape" Sunday, just about everyone in the Republican Party has condemned those comments.
The Missouri Senate candidate later apologized, but his remarks continue to drive the political debate. They've also raised questions about the anti-abortion record of the Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
Missouri Rep. Todd Akin, running for the U.S. Senate, continues to draw fire over his remarks last weekend suggesting that women who are "legitimately raped" have a secret biological method to avoid conceiving a child after a rape. Akin said: "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
He's since apologized, and run several ads saying he knows women can become pregnant through rape. But he later said his mistake was actually using a single word - legitimate - to describe rape.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep. By now, people across the nation have heard remarks by Missouri Republican Todd Akin. He says he misspoke about pregnancy and rape, but his words shifted the polls in his race for a vital U.S. Senate seat. Now Democrats want to be sure the remarks have a national effect. Here's NPR's Ari Shapiro.