ST. LOUIS — Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin was arrested several times during antiabortion protests in the 1980s, including at least once when police had to carry him away, a newspaper reported Tuesday.
Akin, a Republican congressman who is challenging Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in the Nov. 6 election, acknowledged last month during a campaign event that he had been arrested about 25 years ago as part of an antiabortion protest. But Akin has repeatedly declined to discuss additional details.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on its website that its newspaper archives include at least three accounts of Akin being arrested in March and April of 1985 for criminal trespass and resisting arrest at abortion clinics in the St. Louis area. He apparently never was charged.
The St. Louis police also confirmed in response to an open-records filed by a representative of the liberal advocacy group People For the American Way that Akin was arrested May 9, 1987, but it said records of the arrest were closed under state law because Akin was never convicted.
Akin's antiabortion stance gained national attention in the Senate race when he remarked in a mid August TV interview that women's bodies have ways of avoiding pregnancy in "legitimate rape." He repeatedly apologized and said he was wrong, but he has continued to emphasize that he opposes abortion in all instances except rare cases when it is necessary to save the life of the woman.
A video circulating on the Internet in September showed Akin discussing his past involvement in abortion protests during a speech to supporters. He was recorded as saying: "You know, don't tell anybody I'm a jailbird." He explained: "A bunch of us sat in front of these doors and the police gave us a ride to the free hotel for a while, and you know how it goes."
At a Kansas City news conference last month, Akin confirmed he had been arrested about 25 years ago but provided no further details. His campaign said at the time that it would release additional details but never did so.
Akin campaign adviser Rick Tyler said Tuesday that Akin does not dispute the Post-Dispatch account of his arrests but still has nothing more to say.
McCaskill's campaign declined to comment about Akin's arrests.
Candidate speaks of rape and God
Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said Tuesday that when a woman is impregnated during a rape, "it's something God intended." He was asked during the final minutes of a debate whether abortion should be allowed in cases of rape or incest. He replied: "I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that's something God intended to happen." Mourdock and Democratic challenger Joe Donnelly have been in a tight race since Mourdock unseated veteran Sen. Richard Lugar in May's GOP primary. Donnelly said after the debate that he doesn't believe "my God, or any God, would intend that to happen."