Outrage over ‘legitimate rape’ comments

British women's groups reacted angrily today to comments from an American politician saying it was rare "legitimate rape" victims get pregnant.

The quote, which came during a campaign interview for the Senate, sparked anger in the US.

Anti-abortion Republican senate candidate Todd Akin was asked by KTVI-TV about pregnancy following rape, to which he replied: "From what I understand from doctors, that's really rare."

He added: "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

The comments appalled women's groups across the world.

Object, which campaigns against 'sex object culture' in the UK, told politics.co.uk: "There is no such thing as a 'legitimate rape' and to suggest such a thing is dangerous and beyond irresponsible.

"It is an outrageous comment and represents the vicious victim blaming and disbelief that many women experience when they are sexually violated and abused. This must be challenged, and must change."

Republican presedential candidate Mitt Romney dissassociated himself from the comments.

"Congressman Akin comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong. Like millions of other Americans, we found them to be offensive," he said.

"I have an entirely different view What he said is entirely without merit and he should correct it."

The comments were seized on by Akin's opponent, Democratic senator Claire McCaskill, who said it was "beyond comprehension someone can be so ignorant about the emotional and physical trauma brought on by rape".

The Republican challenger in the Missouri race later said he misspoke and insisted he had "deep empathy" for victims of rape.

Akin is currently still favourite to win the seat.