By Susan Davis, USA TODAY
GOP Rep. Todd Akin apologized today for comments he made regarding rape and vowed he will stay in the U.S. Senate race in Missouri.
"I made that statement in error. Rape is never legitimate. It is an evil act," Akin told former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee in a radio interview. "I used the wrong words in the wrong way."
Akin continued: "I don't know I'm the only person in public office that suffered from foot-in-mouth disease here. I'm not a quitter."
Akin, a six-term House member, also back tracked on his comments that women can't get pregnant from rape. "I do know that people become pregnant from rape."
In an interview Sunday, Akin told KTVI in St. Louis that a woman's body could prevent pregnancy in the case of a "legitimate rape." The six-term congressman later said he "misspoke."
Akin's comments have been widely denounced today by other Republicans, including presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. GOP Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Scott Brown of Massachusetts called on Akin to step down as the party's Senate nominee in Missouri.
Here's what Akin said Sunday in response to a question on whether he supports abortion in cases of rape:
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.
Akin is running against Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill in a Senate race that could help determine which party controls the chamber.
He said no one from the Romney campaign or the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is charged with electing Republicans, have asked him to leave the race. Akin vowed to move on and eventually defeat McCaskill, who has been a GOP target this election cycle.
"We're going to take this thing forward and by the grace of God win this race," he said.
The House Democrats' campaign operation is also circulating a petition to remove Akin from his post on the House Science and Technology Committee. "Someone who believes nonsense like this has no part overseeing science policy," the petition states. The petition garnered more than 70,000 signatures in three hours.
In the interview with Huckabee, Akin reiterated his views opposing abortion rights. "People and life are tremendously valuable," he said. "We believe that life is something that comes from our creator."