Reprinted from the August 15 Des Moines Register.
When a sitting congressman sees an upside to rape and incest, sex abusers get the message.
Accused rapists have long defended themselves by claiming it didn’t happen, or the victim “asked for it,” maybe by dressing too provocatively. But never, to our knowledge, has a defense rested on a claim that rape itself isn’t such a bad thing.
Rep. Steve King said as much Wednesday by suggesting that forcible sexual intercourse with women was a necessary means of perpetuating the population. Without those resulting offspring, he wondered out loud, “Would there be any population of the world left?”
The Western Iowa Republican also appeared to defend incest. Of both paths to procreation, he said, “I know I can’t certify that I’m not a part of a product of that.”
Only King can speak to his family history or what forces in his background may have conspired to make the Fourth District congressman so misogynistic and prejudiced.
But with those glib dismissals of violent, traumatic criminal acts, he sends a message to rape survivors, would-be rapists and family members who would sexually abuse a female relative. He tells them it’s OK, if it results in pregnancy and childbirth.
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King made the comments to justify his support for anti-abortion legislation that would make no exceptions for rape or incest. He was denounced for the remarks by several congressional Republicans along with two of his primary challengers and the Iowa GOP spokesman. Predictably, Republican U.S. Sens. Charles Grassley and Joni Ernst didn’t go that far, though both said rape and incest are never justified.
A Republican National Committee official we contacted in Washington D.C., who asked not to be identified by name, said in an e-mail, “His comments were appalling and wrong. Steve King continues to demonstrate why House Republican leadership was right to remove him from his committee assignments.” That happened earlier this year after the New York Times reported King had questioned what was so offensive about the terms white supremacist or white nationalist.
But King has built his career on saying offensive things, whether about gays, nonwhites, Latinos or non-Western civilizations.
He has asked how Western societies can perpetuate their European heritage by raising “other people’s” babies.
He has compared immigrants to hunting dogs.
Democratic presidential candidates and others are now mounting calls for King to resign. But if the past is precedent, such calls just embolden him and fuel King’s fundraising efforts, which depict him as a target for being a conservative Donald Trump supporter.
On Jan. 16, after The New York Times reported on his remarks about white supremacy and he was dislodged from House committees, King sent out a fundraising email saying, “the unhinged Left has teamed up with Republican ‘NeverTrumpers’ and is pulling out all the stops to destroy me. Since they were unable to defeat my campaign in the 2018 Midterm Elections, the rabid Leftist media is currently blasting the airwaves in a pathetic attempt to paint me as a ‘racist.’”