Gingrey is co-chairman of the GOP Doctors Caucus, which was formed in March 2009 to challenge President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. He also is a member of the Health subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce panel.
He sought to explain his comments, saying in a statement issued by his office Friday, "At a breakfast yesterday morning, I was asked why Democrats made abortion a central theme of the presidential campaign. I do not defend, nor do I stand by, the remarks made by Rep. Akin and Mr. Mourdock. In my attempt to provide context as to what I presumed they meant, my position was misconstrued."
Gingrey's initial comments drew widespread criticism.
"Just when I think Republicans can't possibly be any more wrong when it comes to women, they find a new low. In one fell swoop, Republican Congressman Phil Gingrey said women regularly lie about being raped, that they're able to prevent a pregnancy simply by 'being tense and uptight,' and that Todd Akin had a point," said Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY's List.
Jesse Ferguson of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said it was "alarming and telling" that the head of the GOP Doctors Caucus shared Akin's views.