TAMPA — Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell said Monday that he disagreed with Missouri Rep. Todd Akin’s controversial comments on abortion and rape and that Akin’s comments failed to discuss opposition to abortion, which McDonnell shares, in “positive and uplifting ways.”
“I just think that those of us who cherish human life because we believe that all life is a gift from the Creator, we need to be able to express our support for human life in positive and uplifting ways, and those comments absolutely do not do that,” McDonnell said in an interview, as he circulated among Republican delegates meeting a week before the start of the party convention to craft its platform.
McDonnell’s Virginia became the center of the nation’s abortion debate after the state legislature supported requiring some women seeking an abortion to undergo a trans-vaginal ultrasound.
McDonnell, who chairs the party’s platform committee, said a draft being circulated among delegates endorses a constitutional amendment prohibiting abortion, as has Republican platforms for two decades. But it does not address whether the law should allow for exceptions, including in instances of rape. Akin’s comments–asserting that pregnancy rarely results from “legitimate rape”–came as he outlined his own opposition to abortion without exception.
The 112 delegates of the platform committee will sift through the draft of the document over the next two days and it remains to be seen how they will address the abortion issue.
McDonnell, meanwhile, acknowledged the the Missouri Senate contest is a “huge race” for Republicans seeking to take control of the Senate in November. But he declined to push Akin to exit the race, as some GOP strategists have urged. “The people of Missouri will determine what if anything they’ll do,” he said.