During the 2012 United States election cycle, in federal and state elections, a series of controversies arose as a result of statements by Republican Party candidates about rape, pregnancy, contraception, abortion, and related topics. The first and most widely covered controversy concerned Republican U.S. Senate candidate Representative Todd Akin of Missouri, who stated that pregnancy rarely occurs as a result of what he called "legitimate rape." Medical experts said Akin's statement is false, and many women's rights groups found the phrase "legitimate rape" demeaning. Akin's comments had a far-reaching political impact, changing the focus of political campaigns across the country to the War on Women. Akin was eventually denounced by politicians in both the Republican and Democratic Parties, most prominently by presidential candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama.
Following Akin's comments, additional controversies arose around other remarks made by various Republican politicians. The most notable of these was by Indiana State Treasurer and US Senate nominee Richard Mourdock, who said that life was "something that God intended", even if the pregnancy was due to rape. Some analysts identified the controversies around Mourdock's and Akin's comments, and those of other candidates, as a principal factor in their election losses. The comments may have had an effect on the national election results; many women voters supported Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.