Rep. Todd Akin took a softball question for most pro-life advocates and used it to not only damage his chances at defeating Claire McCaskill in Missouri, but to taint every other Republican race with his nonsense. To recap, when asked about abortion in the case of rape, he said:

“It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, if it’s a legitimate rape, that’s really rare. The female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. The punishment ought to be on the rapist, and not in attacking the child.”

Still cringeworthy.

Now try to imagine if you were conceived by rape and fight for the pro-life cause.

Imagine you’re Rebecca Kiessling:

Kiessling responded to the comments saying that the use of the term “legitimate rape” was unnecessary and improper and she gave her advice for how pro-life candidates can thoughtfully and articulately address the sensitive subject of rape and abortion.

“First of all — never say ‘legitimate rape,’” Kiessling said. “Ron Paul used the same terminology last January and he got lambasted for it too. This kind of remark only serves to perpetuate the suspicion of rape victims’ accounts. It’s estimated that only 1% of rape victims ever see their rapist convicted as charged. Rape is rape. “Legitimate rape” almost sounds as if it was somehow justifiable.”

“If you are 100% pro-life with no rape exceptions, there is no need to question the veracity of a rape victims’ account, because you are against all abortions. It would not matter if a woman was not or not raped,” she continued.

She offers some advice for pro-life politicians, saying they need to polish their answers to questions about abortion because of rape:

Kiessling gives a three-step process in terms of how candidates should answer the question:

1. The Supreme Court has said that the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment for rapists and that rapists don’t deserve the death penalty. I don’t think the innocent child conceived in rape deserves the death penalty for the crimes of her father.  It seems to me that is cruel and unusual punishment.

2. Rape victims are four times more likely to die within the next year after the abortion, with a higher rate of suicide, murder, drug overdose, etc.. As someone who really cares about rape victims, I want to protect them from the rapist, and from the abortion, and not the baby. A baby is not the worst thing that could ever happen to a rape victim — an abortion is.  We need to educate the American public on the truth in this matter and not make public policy based on myth and misinformation.

3. Rape victims choose abortion at half the rate of the average unplanned pregnancy, which is over 50%. Only 15-25% of rape victims choose abortion, depending on the study. The majority of rape victims choose to raise her child — not “the rapist’s baby” — HER child.

There’s no need to compound one horrible action with another and punish an innocent.