WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, has added her voice to the growing list of Republicans who are calling on a Missouri congressman to drop his current Senate campaign in the wake of comments about abortion and rape.

Snowe, who is retiring at the end of this year, called Rep. Todd Akin’s comments “repugnant and outlandish” as well as “extreme and ill-informed.” Snowe said such comments are particularly offensive to sexual assault victims.

“In the wake of this incident, there is no doubt that Rep. Akin cannot – and should not – represent the Republican party in this fall’s general election for United States senator from Missouri, and it is appropriate for our party to deny him any and all funding should he decide not to step aside before today’s deadline,” Snowe said in a statement.

Akin is under increasing pressure to drop his bid for U.S. Senate by 5 p.m. Tuesday, a deadline set by Missouri law to exit the Nov. 6 election. After that, a court order would be required to remove Akin from the ballot.

Akin made televised comments suggesting that rapes rarely result in pregnancy because women’s bodies have ways to biologically prevent impregnation following what he called “legitimate rape.” Akin made the statements in response to a journalist’s question about his opposition to allowing abortion even for rape victims.

Several Republican-leaning political action committees have already pulled ads in support of Akin or are redirecting funds to other campaigns. Akin apologized for the comments but has, thus far, refused to drop out of his race against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

On Monday, Snowe’s Republican colleague from Maine, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, called Akin’s comments “deeply offensive and hurtful to all women, especially survivors of rape and sexual assault.” Both moderate Republicans, Collins and Snowe are regarded as generally supportive of protecting women’s access to abortion.

Several candidates for Maine office – including Snowe’s seat – have also strongly criticized Akin’s comment, with some calling on him to either resign or drop out of the race. Senate President Kevin Raye, a Perry Republican running against U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-District 2, joined that chorus of critics on Tuesday, calling on Akin to “step aside.”

 
 

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