Read our update: Steve King: ‘It’s wrong for us to compel pro-life people to pay taxes to fund abortion’
Congressman Steve King, who has not denounced his colleague Todd Akin‘s rape comments, told a reporter in his home state of Iowa he hasn’t ever heard of a child getting pregnant via statutory rape or incest. King is Tea Party Republican and the most conservative Republican in the House.
Noting that King “might agree with parts of Akin’s assertion” that women can stop themselves from becoming pregnant in cases of “legitimate” rape (or, now, as Akin has “updated” his comments, “forcible” rape,) Talking Points Memo reports:
“Well I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way,” King told KMEG-TV Monday, “and I’d be open to discussion about that subject matter.”
A Democratic source flagged King’s praise of Akin in the KMEG interview to TPM. But potentially more controversial for King is his suggestion that pregnancies from statutory rape or incest don’t exist or happen rarely. A 1996 review by the Guttmacher Institute found “at least half of all babies born to minor women are fathered by adult men.”
The tie between statutory rape and teen pregnancy has been the subject of ad campaigns from groups like United Way.
H.R. 3, the bill co-sponsored by King, Akin and Paul Ryan in 2011, originally called for an exemption in the federal ban on abortion funding only in the case of “forcible rape.” That language was dropped after pressure from women’s advocates and Democrats. At the time, the Republican sponsors of the legislation weren’t too interested in discussing their reasoning for the wording.
King’s comments offer a window into the thinking behind the language, as well as the general belief in the different categories of rape that provoked Akin’s recent controversial comments about “legitimate rape” and the factually wrong idea that a woman’s body can prevent a pregnancy from rape.
In the KMEG interview, King defended Akin as “a strong Christian man, with a wonderful family” and appeared to push back on those calling for Akin to drop out of the Missouri Senate race.
“I think this election should be about: How did Todd Akin vote and what did he vote for and what did he stand for?” King said. “In this case, I’m seeing the same thing, petty, personal attacks substituting for strong policy.”
One Twitter user had this response:
@stevekingia says he would like to hear real, personal examples of rape or incest of a minor leading to pregnancy – 202-225-4266
— MJL62 (@mjl62) August 21, 2012
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