Republican Todd Akin of Missouri has been elected to the House six times, and is currently running for the Senate, but perhaps he should be most proud of somehow landing on the House's Science Committee. When asked yesterday about his position on abortion in the instances of rape or incest, Akin replied, “It seems to me, 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." Is he referring to the female body or a shoe factory? And is "legitimate rape" the same thing as "forcible rape?"

Akin continued, "But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”

In case you fancy yourself a scientist like Akin and believe that pregnancies resulting from rape are rare, The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology has reported, "Rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency." One study found 32,101 cases of rape-related pregnancy over the course of a year in the U.S.

Akin, along with Mitt Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, co-sponsored the Republican bill in January that sought to differentiate "rape" between "forcible rape," because that issue is more important than the economy, two (three?) wars, and global warming. Akin has said dumb shit before, but his comments can't come as a surprise to his opponent, Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, who paid $2 million for ads claiming that Akin was Missouri's "true conservative."

McCaskill condemned the remark, and Akin himself said he "misspoke" but has not apologized for being part of a long history of reproductive idiocy. The Romney campaign, which is reportedly "nervous" and chuckling uncomfortably, released the following statement:

Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape.

Well, not 2012 Ryan, anyway. During his first Congressional run, Ryan opposed all instances of abortion except to save the life of the mother.

[UPDATE] Now BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski has reminded us all that Romney said in 2007 that he'd be "delighted" to sign a bill banning abortion nationwide.