The Ticket

Rep. Steve King: I’ve never ‘heard of’ statutory rape victims becoming pregnant

Liz Goodwin
The Ticket

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) jumped into the "legitimate rape" fray Tuesday by telling a local reporter that he doesn't personally know of any victims of statutory rape or incest who became pregnant from the attack.

The reporter asked King about a bill he put forward last year that would have barred federal Medicaid funds from going toward abortions except when the life of the mother is in danger or in the case of "forcible rape." (The current law just makes an exception for "rape," without the "forcible" part.) The new terminology could prevent people who become pregnant from incest or statutory rape—when an adult has sex with someone under the age of consent—from accessing Medicaid-funded abortions. (The term "forcible" was removed after the controversy.) King told the reporter he didn't know of anyone who had become pregnant under those circumstances, but would be open to learning more.

"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. (Talking Points Memo points to a 1996 Guttmacher Institute study that found that half of all babies born to minors were fathered by adult men.)

King defended Rep. Todd Akin—who's faced relentless calls to drop out of the Missouri Senate race after he suggested Sunday that rape victims rarely become pregnant—as a "strong Christian man," but didn't explicitly address Akin's rape comments.

UPDATE: King released a statement saying his words have been "twisted" by opponents. "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 said.

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