Akin apologized Monday for what he called a serious error in using the wrong words when he stated in an earlier interview that "legitimate rape" rarely resulted in pregnancy.
"I was talking about forcible rape," Akin said on former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's radio show. "It was absolutely the wrong word."
In a statement Sunday, Akin wrote that he misspoke in the interview. He maintained his opposition to abortion for victims of rape.
"In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it's clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year," Akin wrote. "Those who perpetrate these crimes are the lowest of the low in our society and their victims will have no stronger advocate in the Senate to help ensure they have the justice they deserve."
Akin continued that he recognized that abortion, "and particularly in the case of rape, is a very emotionally charged issue."
"But I believe deeply in the protection of all life and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action," he said. "I also recognize that there are those who, like my opponent, support abortion and I understand I may not have their support in this election."
Statistics on pregnancies that result from rape are difficult to produce, since rape is a crime that often goes unreported.
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, along with Planned Parenthood, each estimate that 5% of rapes lead to pregnancy. A 1996 study from the Medical University of South Carolina found the same percentage, adding that 32,101 pregnancies occurred annually from rape.