Fox News host Megyn Kelly took failed Missouri GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin to task Monday night for his infamous claim that the female body could terminate a pregnancy in a case of “legitimate rape.”
Akin appeared on “The Kelly File” to promote his new book, “Firing Back,” in which he defends his original remarks on the grounds that stress can decrease fertility. Kelly challenged that defense, arguing there is no conclusive evidence tying the two together.
“But the thing that got people so upset was that you seemed to be putting the onus on rape victims, saying if yours was a legitimate rape, if you actually were raped, then your body will shut down the pregnancy,” Kelly said. “And if your body doesn’t shut down the pregnancy, then you are not the victim of rape.”
“I think you’re putting words in my mouth, I didn’t say that,” Akin responded.
“I’m just saying this is what people heard,” Kelly said.
“I think that’s what they heard, and that’s why we did the apology,” Akin said.
“See I get that, that’s why you did the apology, but you seem to be dialing it back now,” Kelly pressed.
Akin later said that he never meant to diminish women or the seriousness of rape as a crime in his comments.
“But you now acknowledge that a woman who is legitimately the victim of rape does not have a medical way of getting rid of — an emotional way of getting rid of the pregnancy,” Kelly said.
“No, I never believed that,” Akin said. “That wasn’t what I was trying to say, or I don’t think I did say that. But people perceived that, and that’s why we did the apology.”
Akin also accused Democrats of being hypocritical for vilifying him while defending the Clintons. He cited accusations of rape against former President Bill Clinton as well as Hillary Clinton’s defense of a child rapist during her law career.
“What’s worse, saying a few words, or actually having a long history of abusive behavior against women?” he told Kelly. “I think the Democratic Party is the one cheering the war on women.”
Watch below, courtesy of Fox News:
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.