***UPDATED WITH KING’S ACTUAL REMARKS AND STATEMENT SAYING HE WAS TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT***
Rep. Steve King, one of the most staunchly conservative members of the House, was one of the few Republicans who did not strongly condemn Rep. Todd Akin Monday for his remarks regarding pregnancy and rape. King also signaled why — he might agree with parts of Akin’s assertion.
King told an Iowa reporter he’s never heard of a child getting pregnant from statutory rape or incest.
“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.”
First of all King simply said he didn’t want to respond to the remarks by Akin because he hadn’t heard the full context. And based on what he did say about Todd Akin, he didn’t just want to throw him under the bus without knowing more context.
Second of all King NEVER asserted that he agreed with Akin’s remarks nor did he ever say that “pregnancies from statutory rape or incest don’t exist or happen rarely.” What’s really going on here is that TPM took King out of context. Here’s his remarks in context:
King supports the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.” It would ban Federal funding of abortions except in cases of forcible rape. Right now, Medicaid also covers abortions for victims of statutory rape or incest – for example, a 12 year old who gets pregnant.
Congressman King says he’s not aware of any young victims like that.
“Well I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way, and I’d be open to discussion about that subject matter,” he said.
Steve King made his remarks as it relates to a bill that bans “Federal funding of abortions except in cases of forcible rape”. Forcible rape is a legal term to distinguish itself from statutory rape, which is without force according to the FBI. Now to be honest, I’m a bit unclear of the exact phrasing that King was responding to because it’s been omitted from the report. But based on the characterization by the reporter, it sounds like King was simply suggesting that he’s open to considering more provisions in the bill as it relates to younger victims of rape becoming pregnant.
But I’m still a little confused. Forcible rape is ‘sex by force’ of an individual regardless of age. So wouldn’t his bill cover a 12-year old who was forcibly raped and became pregnant who then wanted an abortion? Again, statutory rape simply means that a minor can’t legally consent to having sex with an adult even though it was consensual sex. If sex was forced between an adult and a minor, it’s forcible rape.
So I’d need to hear more from the interview to be sure what exactly King was responding to. But what I can be sure of is that King never said that young girls don’t get pregnant from being raped, or that it’s rare. He was specifically talking about his bill and that he’s open to discussion of broader issues when it comes to federal funding of a abortions.
UPDATE: The reporter never even mentioned INCEST or STATUTORY RAPE. Here are King’s full remarks with the relevant portion transcribed below:
REPORTER: You support the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” that would provide federal funding for abortions to a person who has been forcibly raped. But what if someone isn’t forcibly raped – and for example a 12-year old who gets pregnant. You know, should she have to bring this baby to full term?
REP. STEVE KING: “Well, I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way and I’d be open to hearing discussion about that subject matter. Generally speaking it’s this: that there [are] millions of abortions in this country every year. Millions of them are paid for at least in part by taxpayers. I think it’s immoral for us to compel conscientious objecting taxpayers to fund abortion through the federal government, or any other government for that matter. So that’s my stand. And if there are exceptions there, then bring me those exceptions, let’s talk about it. In the meantime it’s wrong for us to compel pro-life people to pay taxes to fund abortion.”
So the question she gave King is that if a 12-year old had consensual sex and got pregnant, should the 12-year old be obligated to carry it full term? In her report this reporter conflated this with incest and statutory rape in the same sentence. But she never mentioned it in the remarks above. UGH!
UPDATE 2: Steve King has responded saying he was taken out of context (via WAPO):
“The liberal press and their allies have again twisted my words,” he said in a statement. “I never said, nor do I believe, a woman, including minors, cannot get pregnant from rape, statutory rape or incest. Suggesting otherwise is ridiculous, shameful, disgusting and nothing but an attempt to falsely define who I am.”
He added, “I have never heard of and categorically reject the so-called medical theory that launched this controversy.”