William Todd Akin, a six-term Republican consultant from Missouri who gave up a secure seat to run for the Senate in 2012, solely to see his marketing campaign collapse in a hail of recriminations after a comment about “official rape,” died on Sunday at his dwelling in a St. Louis suburb. He was 74.
His demise in Wildwood, Mo., after years of battling most cancers, was confirmed by Perry Akin, his son, in a assertion to The Related Press.
Mr. Akin, an opponent of abortion whose political rise was fueled by evangelicals, provoked ire throughout the political spectrum after he claimed in a tv interview in August 2012 that girls’s our bodies may someway reject pregnancies in situations of what he referred to as “official rape.”
“The feminine physique has methods to attempt to shut that complete factor down,” Mr. Akin mentioned when requested about his stance on abortion in instances wherein a girl had been sexually assaulted. “However let’s assume that possibly that didn’t work or one thing: I feel there must be some punishment, however the punishment should be of the rapist, and never attacking the kid,” he added.
Mr. Akin’s feedback infuriated Democrats and ladies’s rights teams. Main specialists on reproductive well being dismissed his logic.
Republicans, too, had been incensed by the feedback — some had been offended and others had been angered that Mr. Akin broken the Republicans’ bid for a essential Senate seat that he had been favored to win earlier than the interview.
The Republican presidential ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan rapidly distanced itself from Mr. Akin’s remarks.
“His feedback about rape had been deeply offensive, and I can’t defend what he mentioned,” Mr. Romney mentioned in a assertion at the time. “I can’t defend him.”
Republicans withdrew funds and assist in an try and drive Mr. Akin from the race. In the end, he declined calls to step down and was soundly overwhelmed by Senator Claire McCaskill, the Democratic incumbent.
Although Mr. Akin initially apologized for the feedback, he later defended them in a e book revealed in 2014 that detailed his expertise as a six-term Republican congressman. By asking the general public for forgiveness, Mr. Akin wrote within the e book, he had validated the “willful misinterpretation” of what he had mentioned.
Mr. Akin was born to Paul and Nancy Akin on July 5, 1947, in New York and grew up close to St. Louis. He graduated from an elite prep college, John Burroughs, and acquired a diploma in engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts earlier than incomes a grasp’s in divinity from the Covenant Theological Seminary in Missouri. He labored as a supervisor at Laclede Metal, which his great-grandfather based.
A member of the Presbyterian Church in America, he was first elected to the Missouri Home in 1988, gaining assist from his first political base as a part of a community of fogeys who home-schooled their kids; Mr. Akin home-schooled all six of his.
In 2000, he was elected to Congress in what analysts at the time mentioned was a stroke of political fortune. He was seen as an out of doors candidate in a five-way Republican main, and he gained by 56 votes because the extra reasonable candidates ate into each other’s totals.
As a legislator, he unapologetically centered his religion, pushed by a perception that God had given him a mission to serve.
“He wouldn’t violate his beliefs should you shot him,” Rick Mathes, of the Mission Gate Jail Ministry the place Mr. Akin served on the advisory board, mentioned in 2012.
In his 2012 concession speech, Mr. Akin mentioned after “the circumstances that we’ve all been via” it was “notably applicable to thank God, who makes no errors and is far wiser than we’re.”
“And so I say, to God alone be the distinction and the glory, no matter how he decides to prepare historical past,” he mentioned.
Along with his son Perry Akin, survivors embrace Mr. Akin’s spouse, Lulli Boe Akin; his mom, Nancy Bigelow Akin; three different sons; two daughters and 18 grandchildren, in accordance with The A.P.