Phil Gingrey: Defending Akin was "stupid"

The House Republican, who may run for Senate, backtracked from his comment that Akin was “partly right”

Published March 12, 2013 2:47PM (EDT)


Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., backed off his defense of Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" comments, saying that it was "stupid" to say that Akin was "partly right."

“I made a very awkward attempt to explain the unexplainable,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“Rape is rape," he continued. "If it’s rape, it’s legitimate. I certainly regret very much weighing in on that issue, which was something that was already pretty much roundly condemned and criticized. I felt so badly about it, because my profession is treating women."

From the AJC:

Gingrey said he has had conversations with James Breeden, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “We went over articles and more recent journals,” the congressman said.

“Whereas Todd said the panic would cause a body to shut down and prevent ovulation, more recent data suggests just the opposite is probably true,” the physician-congressman said. Adrenaline is more likely to spur ovulation, he said.

“So you learn,” Gingrey said.

In January, Gingrey said that Akin was "partly right" when he said that “a woman’s body has a way of shutting down so the pregnancy would not occur.” Gingrey also added: “We tell infertile couples all the time that are having trouble conceiving because of the woman not ovulating, ‘Just relax. Drink a glass of wine. And don’t be so tense and uptight because all that adrenaline can cause you not to ovulate.”

Gingrey is considering a Senate run in 2014 to replace retiring Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

By Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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2014 Elections Georgia House Republicans Phil Gingrey Todd Akin