"It seems to me, 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," he told a local Missouri TV station.
Akin has since apologized for misspeaking in the interview, but Democrats — looking for a way to sway female voters — have already sought to tie his remarks to the Republican presidential ticket.
"This kind of 'leadership' is dangerously wrong for women — and I can't sit by and watch as these out-of-touch Republicans like Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and Todd Akin continue to roll back women's rights," Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) wrote in an email on Monday.
Rep. Akin's stunning comments highlight a Republican Party — led by Romney and Ryan — whose policies on women's health are dangerously wrong.— D Wasserman Schultz (@DWStweets) Aug. 20, 2012
"Gov. Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin's statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape," Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said in a statement.