Former Missouri GOP Rep. Todd Akin passed away late Sunday night at the age of 74, having lived with cancer for the last several years.

Akin was, of course, best known for losing a Senate race against Claire McCaskill, after making some extremely messed up comments about rape and human biology.

When asked by a local television reporter if he supported allowing abortions in the case of rape, Akin explained, "from what I understand from doctors," pregnancies caused by rape are "really rare," adding that "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

The subtext there was that if someone did get pregnant after rape, it shouldn't even count as rape because they were probably asking for it. Because if it was rape, their bodies would prevent them from getting pregnant. While this is true for ducks, it is not true for humans.


According to a statement from Akin's son, he was a devoted Christian who enjoyed dressing up as a colonial minuteman at 4th of July parties.

"As my father's death approached, we had people from all different walks of life share story after story of the personal impact he had on them," his son Perry Akin said in a statement.

"He was a devoted Christian, a great father and friend to many. We cherish many fond memories: from him driving the tractor at our annual hayride, to his riveting delivery of the freedom story at 4th of July parties dressed in the full uniform of a colonial minuteman.

"The family is thankful for his legacy: a man with a servant's heart who stood for truth."

Akin's opponent Claire McCaskill also shared some thoughts on Twitter, writing, "I just learned that Todd Akin has died. He was a nice man, and although we had major disagreements about just about everything, he was authentic to his beliefs. He actually believed in everything he said, which is a tribute to his character. My thoughts are with his lovely family."

I don't know about tribute, but fact that he believed everything he said certainly said something about his character.

In many ways, Akin was a man before his time. Had he run just a few years later, and refused to apologize for his statements as he later did in an unbelievably awkward "I have daughters" PSA, he probably would have won in a landslide. In fact, his wild-at-the-time statement probably paved the way for anti-choicers to just come right out and oppose exceptions for rape, which is what they've been doing the last few years. He may have lost his Senate race, but he helped expand the Overton Window to include making wildly inaccurate scientific statements and no longer pretending to care about victims of sexual assault. So there was that.

Surely if there is an afterlife, Akin is up there commiserating with Clayton Williams, who died last year and famously lost his own bid for Governor of Texas in 1990, against Ann Richards, when he suggested that victims of rape should just ''relax and enjoy it.''

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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse

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