WASHINGTON, D.C. — In an official letter penned roughly two decades ago, Rep. Todd Akin used his office to defend a friend convicted of battery at an abortion protest.
The letter, provided to BuzzFeed by a Democratic source, offers a further glimpse into the anti-abortion community in St. Louis, of which Akin has been an active member for decades, as well as the role Akin has held within government as a voice on the movement's behalf.
On July 29, 1989, Teresa Frank pushed a woman to the ground during a protest at an abortion clinic in Granite City, Ill., across the Mississippi River from St. Louis County.
When Frank, then 41, was convicted of battery and criminal trespass, Akin, now the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Missouri and then a state representative, came to her defense in a signed note printed on official state letterhead.
"I have known Teresa and her family for six years, and Teresa and her children for about three years," Akin wrote to Judge Robert Hennessey. "Teresa has visited with my wife on numerous occasions, and her children have also played with my own children throughout the past years."
"The mature and responsible behavior of her children, bear testimony of a devoted, gentle, and affectionate mother," Akin continued. "It was probably these very instincts that prompted her unfortunate morning in Granite City."
Akin himself was once arrested during an abortion protest in 1987, just one month before he was elected to the statehouse. He has since remained an active opponent of abortion, protesting at annual Life Chain events in St. Louis and speaking out on the campaign trail against abortion as well as emergency contraception for women who have been raped.
In his 1989 letter, however, Akin did not mention his own views on abortion, but instead focused on Frank.
"Teresa is a deeply sensitive and caring person; but along with this, she is also one very frightened little girl," Akin wrote.
Ultimately, Frank was fined $300 and put on probation for one year, according to court files furnished by the same source.