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Gingrey's defense of Akin's 'legitimate rape' comments goes viral

11:10 PM, Jan 11, 2013   |    comments
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Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) in a Congressional committee hearing in Washington. (Getty Images)

ATLANTA -- Comments from US Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) started to go viral Friday, after he defended statements from now-former-US Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) during the fall election campaign. Akin came under fire when he talked about a "legitimate rape."

Gingrey answered questions from constituents at a Cobb Chamber of Commerce breakfast in Smyrna Thursday, mentioning several points that have been in the news, including gun control, which has been a hot topic nationally since last month's elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn. 

The Marietta Daily Journal quoted Gingrey in comments about Akin, who said during his unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate, that in the situation of a "legitimate rape," that a woman's body can shut down and pregnancy would not occur. Gingrey, who is a gynecologist by trade, explained his impression of Akin's comments, then said that Akin's words were "partly right."

"And in Missouri, Todd Akin ... was asked by a local news source about rape and he said, 'Look, in a legitimate rape situation' -- and what he meant by legitimate rape was just look, someone can say I was raped: a scared-to-death 15-year-old that becomes impregnated by her boyfriend and then has to tell her parents, that's pretty tough and might on some occasion say, 'Hey, I was raped.' That's what he meant when he said legitimate rape versus non-legitimate rape. I don't find anything so horrible about that. But then he went on and said that in a situation of rape, of a legitimate rape, a woman's body has a way of shutting down so the pregnancy would not occur. He's partly right on that," Gingrey said in the article. "I've delivered lots of babies, and I know about these things. It is true."

Gingrey's comments have been picked up by many blogs, both conservative and liberal, across the Internet over the course of the day on Friday.

Friday afternoon, Gingrey's office sent statements regarding his remarks on Akin's comments:

At a breakfast yesterday morning, I was asked why Democrats made abortion a central theme of the presidential campaign. I do not defend, nor do I stand by, the remarks made by Rep. Akin and Mr. Mourdock. In my attempt to provide context as to what I presumed they meant, my position was misconstrued. 

Gingrey also went on to clarify his statements regarding gun control. In the breakfast on Thursday, Gingrey said that he was open to some gun control measures in the wake of the Newtown school shooting. He also said he was open to changes in the so-called "gun show loophole."

His statement regarding gun control Friday emphasized his support for Second Amendment rights.

As a father and grandfather, I am heartbroken at the tragedy in Newtown. No parent, child, or community should have to suffer such devastation and overwhelming grief. At the same time, as we begin a national dialogue on how to prevent future tragedies, it is of paramount importance to defend our Second Amendment rights. Throughout my political career, I've been a tireless advocate of Second Amendment rights and will continue to be one moving forward.

When sending the media statements, Gingrey's staff said the congressman was out of reach on Friday. 

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