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Local Candidates Condemn Akin Comments on Rape, Pregnancy

In New York State Senate and U.S. Congress races, candidates with contrasting views on abortion all disavow Missouri congressman who suggested that "legitimate rape" very rarely leads to pregnancy.

A U.S. Senate candidate's statement regarding rape and pregnancy that has sparked outrage nationally is also reverberating in local races on Long Island.

In a television interview in Missouri on Sunday, U.S. Rep. Todd Akin was asked about his stance on abortion and said he believes that in cases of “legitimate rape” a woman’s body can “shut that whole thing down” to prevent her from becoming pregnant. He later apologized for the comments and said he misspoke, but he rejected calls from both Republicans and Democrats to drop out of the race.

Bridget Fleming, of Noyac, a Democratic candidate for New York State Senate, called on incumbent Republican Sen. Kenneth LaValle, of Port Jefferson, on Wednesday to “publically disavow” Akin’s statements.

“As a former member of the DA’s Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit, I was shocked to hear the callous and grossly inaccurate comments made by Rep. Akin, who has served in the U.S. Congress for six terms,” Fleming said. “And as a resident of Long Island, I am disheartened to see that Senator LaValle hasn’t yet spoken up.”

Contacted by Patch Thursday, the LaValle campaign readily denounced Akin's comment.

“Senator LaValle believes you do not defend the indefensible,” said a campaign spokeswoman. “The senator has his own thoughts and his own record. The congressman from Missouri’s words were reprehensible, and obviously the senator doesn’t agree with them.”

Fleming took the opportunity to point out the contrast between her position on abortion rights and LaValle’s. She said she is an advocate for “women’s health and reproductive freedom,” and accused LaValle of limiting women’s health care options.

The LaValle campaign did not wish to respond at this time to Fleming's statements regarding his record on abortion and birth control.

According to VoteSmart.org, the New York State Right to Life Committee gave LaValle a 73 percent rating in 2011, and NARAL Pro-Choice New York labeled the senator “anti-choice” in 2004.

While Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop, of Southampton, and Republican challenger Randy Altschuler, of St. James, fall along party lines when it comes to abortion, they found common ground this week over Akin's comments.

“Let me be clear: Congressman Akin’s comments on rape were ill informed, hurtful, and irresponsible,” Bishop said in a campaign statement on Tuesday. “His ignorance of basic reproductive science is matched only by the heartlessness of his comments ..."

Bishop said it was "troubling" that Altschuler was silent on the matter, but three hours later on Tuesday, Altschuler released a statement of his own.

"As someone who was raised by a single mom who sacrificed everything for me, and a proud husband and father to a beautiful 1-year-old daughter, there is no room for debate about this issue with me — Congressman Todd Akin should withdraw from the Missouri Senate race immediately for his absurd and offensive comments," Altschuler said. "There is no room for this kind of sentiment in the public discourse.”

North Fork Bob August 25, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Akin is a member of the Science committee in the House.Really makes you think
Nanci e. LaGarenne August 25, 2012 at 01:40 PM
think and then throw up, Bob! Yikes!!!
Colleen August 25, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Regarding : "A womans' body does not belong to her husband, doctor etc... Just who does her body belong to ? Herself ??? What about the BABY and its belonging ??? Regarding : "Rape is an ugly act of violence..." & "Some women never recover... ABORTION is an ugly act of violence & most women NEVER recover from it. It manifests itself in many ways later on. Depression, eating disorders, suicidal tendencies, and a host of other bio/psy/socio impacts. Look at the stats and do the research. (Psychological effects of abortion on women etc.) Study have further shown that many women who have decided to continue with a pregnancy, REGARDLESS of the circumstances in which conception of that child took place, have RECOVERED more quickly psychologically / emotionally etc. Furthermore,there are many physical risks associated with undergoing even a 'legal' abortion. Health complications and the 'hidden risk' of not ever being able to conceive again, as well as an increased risk in developing breast cancer later on in life. Death...etc. (look up the research: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Abortion.) The abortion 'industry' does not want women to be empowered. WOMEN ARE NOT BEING TOLD THE TRUTH ABOUT ABORTION AND ITS EFFECTS ON THEM. ABORTION HURTS WOMEN. exposeplannedparenthood.com facinglifeissuesheadon.com *Women need to make INFORMED health decisions. Colleen B.S.W
Monte Mathews August 25, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Try as you may to bring this off message, the truth is the Republican Party supports the most neanderthal of women's rights and not one single Republican Senator voted for the Lily Ledbetter Act giving equal pay to women. As far a economics go, Randy Altshuler made a career out of exporting jobs and the Republican Congress refused a bill that would have given tax breaks to company's that chose to keep jobs here. Mr. Altshuler will do the bidding of the Koch Brothers and the 1 percent. And nothing he can say will change what the bidding of the national GOP is: To act as the slave of special interests.
knowitall August 25, 2012 at 11:51 PM
This is such a bogus issue on the state level, When as the last time NY state blocked contraception or abortion? Bridget, get real. You have nothing to run on but this social issue.

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