WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama on Monday slammed a Republican lawmaker who had questioned whether a "legitimate rape" can lead to pregnancy, and defended his own campaign's stance on abortion law.
"Well, first of all the views expressed were offensive. Rape is rape, and the idea we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we are talking about doesn't make sense to the American people," he said.
"It certainly does not make sense to me," he added.
On Sunday, Congressman Todd Akin, a representative from Missouri and his party's nominee for the Senate, triggered outrage when he asserted that a woman's body can spontaneously block an unwanted pregnancy.
This claim, which is unsupported by science, has been used in the past by some US Christian conservatives to justify their opposition to all abortions, even those sought by women who have been raped.
At a press briefing, Obama acknowledged that senior Republicans, including White House challenger Mitt Romney, had distanced themselves from the lawmaker, but said the comment nevertheless underlined policy differences.
"What I think that these comments do underscore is why we should not have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women," Obama said.
"I think that the underlying notion that we should be making decisions on behalf of women for their health care decisions for qualifying forcible rape versus non-forcible rape are broader issues," he insisted.
"That is a significant difference and approach between me and the other party," he said.