JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin once equated abortion providers to terrorists and suggested that it was "common practice" for them to be "giving abortions to women who are not actually pregnant."
The Missouri congressman made the remarks in a 2008 speech on the House floor. They were being recirculated Wednesday on the Internet as Akin raised money in Washington for his campaign against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. Critics sought to link the remarks to Akin's much-criticized comment in August that women have biological ways of avoiding pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape" — a reason he offered for his opposition to abortion.
Akin has repeatedly apologized for his "legitimate rape" remark and has acknowledged he was wrong. There is no medical proof that women's bodies repeal pregnancies in rape.
But there have been past assertions that physicians performed abortion procedures on women who weren't actually pregnant. In 1979, Chicago physician Arnold Bickham had his state medical license suspended after he acknowledged defrauding the federal government. He had been accused by Illinois officials of preforming abortions on women who weren't pregnant and before anesthesia had fully taken effect.
Carol Everett, and anti-abortion activist who says she once ran abortion clinics in Texas, also has said that one of her facilities had performed abortions on women who weren't pregnant in the 1980s.
But a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman in Missouri said Wednesday that Akin's assertion was absurd and that its clinics never perform abortions on women who aren't pregnant.
"That's just an absolutely ridiculous claim," said Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Michelle Trupiano. It "just goes to show how extreme Todd Akin is, and he's not in touch with what happens in women's lives."
Akin's comment were made on Jan. 22, 2008, as anti-abortion lawmakers spoke on the House floor on the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that women had a legal right to abortion.
During that speech, Akin described abortion as "un-American" because it runs contrary to the fundamental right to life described in the Declaration of Independence. Akin said he believed Americans would someday view the current era of legalized abortion in the same way they now view the era of legalized slavery — as inherently wrong. He referenced the nation's fight against terrorists, adding: "We have terrorists in our own culture called abortionists."
Akin also described physicians who perform abortions as "bottom-of-the-food-chain doctors."
"You find that along with the culture of death go all kinds of other lawbreaking — the not following good sanitary procedures, giving abortions to women who are not actually pregnant, cheating on taxes, all these kinds of things, the misuse of anesthetic so that people die or almost die," Akin said in the 2008 speech. "All of these things are common practice."
Akin spent Wednesday in Washington at a series of fundraisers, including a luncheon hosted by GOP Sens. Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.