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Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., speaks during a news conference on the new Health and Human Services Department abortion rule on Wednesday, March 21, 2012. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Virginia GOPers are criticizing a Missouri congressman who said a woman's body "has ways" to prevent pregnancy after rape.
Rep. Todd Akin, a Republican congressman who is challenging Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, was asked in an interview released Sunday if he would support abortions for women who have been raped.
"If it's legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," Akin said in the interview.
In Tampa -- where the GOP's platform committee is preparing in advance of next week's Republican National Convention -- Gov. Bob McDonnell called Todd Akin's comments "absolutely wrong," saying, "They appear to be based on based on bad science, bad facts," Bloomberg reports.
“So while many of us strongly support the right to life, we also strongly disagree with these comments as representing policies that the pro-life community should embrace,” McDonnell said.
Former Virginia Gov. George Allen, who is running for U.S. Senate, released a statement that read in part, "Having served on a Rape Crisis Board many years ago, I saw how both physically and emotionally harmful rape is for its victims, and this is why I believe there should be an exception for rape [victims to have abortions]."
"Regardless of party, we all have a responsibility to unite against any leniency on crimes against women and turn our focus to the solutions that make America stronger and safer," Allen's statement continued.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is also distancing himself from Akin.
On Sunday, his campaign said that Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, disagree with Akin's comments. Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul says Romney's administration would not oppose abortion in cases of rape.
Akin later said that he "misspoke" in the interview.