As the GOP seeks to minimize the damage of Missouri Congressman and Senate candidate Todd Akin’s declaration that you can’t become pregnant from “legitimate rape,” another Republican congressman, Iowa’s Steve King, has now lent his own very unhelpful expertise to the discussion. During an interview with a local TV station KMEG, King was asked about his support for the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” which would allow federal Medicaid funding to cover abortions resulting from “forcible rape,” but not from statutory rape or incest — “for example,” KMEG offered, “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.
Because Congressman King has not, to paraphrase The Simpsons, spent his entire life in a cave on Mars with his eyes shut and his fingers in his ears, he is surely aware that adults have impregnated young girls. The key to interpreting his statement, then, appears to be the “brought to me in any personal way” part. But why should it matter to King whether he has personally known a 12-year-old who was impregnated by her father? We don’t personally know anyone who’s ever been attacked by a bear, yet we are aware that people have been attacked by bears.
Update: A spokesperson for King tells TPM that “‘of course’ King is aware that girls have been impregnated by statutory rape or incest, and said King supports people who have not been forcibly raped receiving federal abortion coverage under a rape exemption.”