King, Incest, Abortion
Iowa Republican Representative Steve King is coming under fire from Democrats and Republicans alike for his comments excusing rape and incest to defend stricter abortion laws. (Photo: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons)

Steve King Questions Whether There’d Be “Any Population Left in the World” if Not for Rape and Incest

This week, Iowa Republican Representative Steve King questioned if there would be any population on Earth if not for rape and incest. He came under fire, so much so that politicians from both sides of the aisle are condemning him, urging him to step down.

The comment came as King was defending his stance on outlawing abortion, even in the case of rape or incest.

What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled those people out that were products of rape and incest?” he said in a video broken by the DesMoines Register. “Would there be any population of the world left if we did that? “Considering all the wars and all the rape and pillage that has taken place … I know I can’t certify that I was not a part of a product of that,” King said. “I’d like to think that every one of the lives of us are as precious as any other life.”

He said the fetus should not be punished for the “sin of the father, and sometimes the mother too.”

King’s comment about rape is not the first he’s made that has sparked major outrage.  In January, the Republican party stripped King of his committee assignments because of racist comments he made in a New York Times interview, bemoaning the fact that being called a “white supremacist” is considered negative.

“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King said to the Times. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”

Both Republicans and Democrats are calling King out, and Republicans, particularly are telling him to step down. Wyoming Republican Representative Liz Cheney called for King to resign in a tweet.

“Today’s comments by @RepSteveKingIA are appalling and bizarre,” she said. “As I’ve said before, it’s time for him to go. The people of Iowa’s 4th congressional district deserve better.”

JD Scholten, who will be running against King for his position in 2020, accused him of excusing violence. On CNN’s New Day, he called King’s works “abhorrent” and said they did not reflect his district.

Even politicians against abortion said they believed King’s argument was egregious. Iowa state senator Randy Feenstra made a statement saying King’s views were damaging to the party.

“I am 100% pro-life but Congressman King’s bizarre comments and behavior diminish our message and damage our cause,” he said. “We can’t afford to hand the 4th District to Nancy Pelosi and her allies in Congress. President Trump needs defenders in Congress, not distractions.”

Democrats, including New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand, presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, and New Jersey Senator Corey Booker were among the democrats who publicly spoke out against King.

“Iowans have long deserved better than Steve King and his hateful, insulting words. He should resign,” Booker tweeted.

Arguments from men on the right against abortion in the case of rape or incest have been fraught with victim-blaming and misinformation.

Related Story: All-Male Waskom City Council Creates ‘sanctuary city for the unborn’

From former Missouri Representative Todd Atkin saying in a “legitimate rape” a woman’s body shuts down and prevents pregnancy, to  Trump claiming abortions after 24 weeks are commonplace (They make up less than 1% of all abortions and only occur if the pregnancy threatens the woman’s life.), King’s ideology, though shocking, does not stand alone.

Additionally, some are questioning why Republicans so quickly called out King but still keep silent about President Trump’s controvercial faux pas, especially after the manifesto of the alleged El Paso shooter echoed Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric.

A world where abortions in the case of rape and incest are not allowed looks draconian, as evidenced by accounts from countries with strict abortion laws.

Last year in Paraguay, a 14-year-old rape victim was denied an abortion and died during childbirth. Paraguay’s abortion law grants exceptions if the mother’s life is in danger, however, these exceptions are rarely granted.  Also in Paraguay, a 10-year-old rape victim was also denied an abortion. Now a teenager, she suffers from chronic pain in her hips and waist from the pregnancy’s toll on her growing body. She also regularly self-harms, according to a Guardian article highlighting her story and others.

King has yet to publicly address his statement, and news outlets have said he has not responded to requests for comment.

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