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Political Notebook

Todd Akin’s past remarks stir things up

Republican Rep. Todd Akin spoke to reporters in the Missouri Capitol building on Thursday.

Ryan Henriksen/Columbia Daily Tribune via Associated Press

Republican Rep. Todd Akin spoke to reporters in the Missouri Capitol building on Thursday.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin once equated abortion providers to terrorists and suggested that it was ‘‘common practice’’ for them to be ‘‘giving abortions to women who are not actually pregnant.’’

The Missouri congressman made the remarks in a 2008 speech on the House floor. They were being recirculated Wednesday on the Internet as Akin raised money in Washington for his campaign against Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill. Critics sought to link the remarks to Akin’s much-criticized comment in August that women have biological ways of avoiding pregnancy in cases of ‘‘legitimate rape’’ — a reason he offered for his opposition to abortion.

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Akin has repeatedly apologized for his ‘‘legitimate rape’’ remark and has acknowledged he was wrong. There is no medical proof that women’s bodies repel pregnancies in rape.

But there have been past ­assertions that doctors performed abortion procedures on women who weren’t pregnant. In 1979, Chicago physician ­Arnold Bickham had his medical license suspended after he acknowledged defrauding the US government. He had been accused by Illinois officials of performing abortions on women who weren’t pregnant and before anesthesia took effect.

But a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman in Missouri said Wednesday that its clinics never perform abortions on women who aren’t pregnant.

Akin’s comments were made on Jan. 22, 2008, as antiabortion lawmakers spoke on the House floor on the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

During that speech, Akin described abortion as ‘‘un-American’’ because it runs contrary to the fundamental right to life described in the Declaration of Independence. Akin said he believed Americans would someday view the current era of legalized abortion in the same way they now view the era of legalized slavery — as inherently wrong. He referenced the nation’s fight against terrorists, adding: ‘‘We have terrorists in our own culture called abortionists.’’

White House’s request to delay defense industry layoff notices sparks outcry

WASHINGTON — The White House is going to great lengths to discourage defense contractors from sending layoff warnings to employees in the days before the election, an effort Republicans are denouncing as politically motivated.

The White House Office of Management and Budget issued a memo last week saying the government would cover the costs of any contractors that might face legal trouble if they have to lay off workers due to cuts that kick in Jan. 2.

That guidance satisfied Lockheed Martin Corp., which said it would not send notices telling workers they could lose their jobs if Congress can’t find a way to prevent the cuts.

The Obama administration has sought to quell the fear of mass defense layoffs in presidential battlegrounds such as Virginia, where letters warning about possible job losses could discourage thousands from backing the incumbent.

The government’s guarantee to foot the bill for legal problems is unusual. Under federal law, employers of companies with 100 workers or more are required to provide notice 60 days before a plant closing or mass layoffs. Otherwise, workers can sue for back pay.

Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, said the White House is ignoring the law.

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