SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— Bay Area lawmakers and women’s rights advocates have joined the call for Missouri Republican Todd Akin to end his Senate campaign after he claimed that victims of what he called “legitimate rape” can keep themselves from getting pregnant.

Bay Area Women Against Rape executive director Marsha Blackstock said she can’t believe a congressman who’s on the House Science Committee could be so ill-informed.

“Anytime you have people that are in power who hold those types of thoughts or at least are crazy enough to say them, really— I think, set the women’s movement back many, many years.”

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

Senator Barbara Boxer believes Akin’s gaffe will widen the gender gap that already favors President Obama and that the controversy may help determine which party wins control of the Senate this fall, not to mention its affects on the bid for the White House.

“This will really ignite this issue and motivate a lot of the independent women who haven’t made up their mind and frankly some of the Republican women who thought they’d go with Mitt Romney,” Sen. Boxer said.

Romney has since condemned Akin’s comments, but so has San Francisco Republican Chair Harmeet Dhillon.

“The issue on whether [women] can get pregnant from rape is not really up for debate and that’s why many Republicans, including [myself] have urged him to drop out of the race. He’s an embarrassment,” Dhillon said.

If Akin does drop out, it could help Republicans capture Missouri, and with it, the Senate, said USC Senior Fellow Sherry Bebich Jeffe.

Jeffe added that Rep. Paul Ryan, the vice presidential nominee, actually had been a co-author with Rep. Akin on a very tough anti-abortion bill.

Akin has apologized for his comments, claiming that he simply misspoke and plans on staying in the race.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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