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Steve King follows Akin's lead

Associated Press

Democrats are eager to tie Todd Akin's odious remarks on rape to the larger Republican Party, and to make this easier, they'll need the GOP to formally adopt Akin's ideas and for some Republicans to defend his comments.

The first step is nearly complete, and the second got a boost from Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).

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."

As Evan McMorris-Santoro noted, "A 1996 review by the Guttmacher Institute found 'at least half of all babies born to minor women are fathered by adult men.'"

And who's Steve King? He's the guy who was recently bragging about all the policy influence he'd have in a Romney/Ryan administration.

Note, in context, King was trying on Monday to defend a bill called the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," which King cosponsored along with Todd Akin and vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan. And the more that generates attention, the worse it is for the Republicans' national ambitions.

To briefly recap, while existing law already restricts public funding for abortions, there are exceptions for impregnated rape victims. This bill, one of the first considered by House Republicans in this Congress (H.R. 3), sought to limit what can legally be considered "rape."

Specifically, Republican proponents said the exception would only apply to "forcible" rape. If the law had passed, for example, a 13-year-old girl who was impregnated by a 24-year-old man would not be able to use Medicaid funds to terminate the pregnancy, unless she could prove she'd been "forcibly" raped.

Apparently, as part of the exhaustive legislative research Steve King did before cosponsoring the legislation, he couldn't find a single instance of a minor being impregnated by an adult, so had no qualms joining Akin and Paul Ryan in trying to redefine rape in this context.

So, Team Romney, any thoughts on Steve King's latest gem?

Update: King believes he was taken out of context, but I don't think the context helps. The question from the local CBS affiliate refers to statutory rape involving a pregnant 12 year-old, and the congressman says he's not familiar with such a scenario.

REPORTER: "You support the 'No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,' that would provide federal funding for abortions to a person that has been forcibly raped. But what if someone isn't forcibly raped, and for example, a 12 year old, who, you know, gets pregnant, should she have to bring this baby to a full term?"

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 discussion about that subject matter.

"Generally speaking it's this, that there are millions of abortions in this country every year and 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 to the-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. And in the meantime it's wrong for us to compel pro-life people to pay taxes to fund abortion. Here's an example, Planned Parenthood in Iowa had, they did 55 hundred abortions in Iowa, that's by their own account, without a single referral for adoption. It's an industry for them, it's not compassionate, the thing that they are doing."

For the record, Planned Parenthood does not terminate pregnancies with public funds.