Wash. candidate says 'rape thing' not cause for abortion

Wash. candidate says 'rape thing' not cause for abortion
John Koster

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A Republican congressional candidate says abortion should not be legal, even when it involves "the rape thing," according to audio provided Wednesday to The Associated Press.

An activist working on behalf of liberal group FUSE Washington asked questions of Republican hopeful John Koster during a Sunday fundraiser. Koster said he does not oppose abortion when the life of the mother is in danger but then explains he would oppose it when it involves rape or incest.

Koster twice uses the phrase "the rape thing" when describing his views, first saying that he knows a woman who was raped and gave up the child for adoption without any regrets.

"But on the rape thing, it's like, how does putting more violence onto a woman's body and taking the life of an innocent child that's a consequence of this crime, how does that make it better?" Koster said in the exchange.

Koster's campaign manager Larry Stickney says the candidate has long been a proponent of dealing strongly with sex offenders. He noted that Koster worked in the state legislature on legislation to crack down on sex offenders and has daughters of his own.

"To imply that he's cavalier about the issue is preposterous," Stickney said.

Koster is locked in a competitive House race against Democrat Suzan DelBene.

Republicans have been beleaguered this year by comments about rape that some have deemed offensive. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., who is challenging Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, said female bodies have ways fo avoiding pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape."

More recently, Indiana GOP candidate Richard Mourdock has been criticized for saying that pregnancy resulting from rape is "God's will."

Collin Jergens, a spokesman at the advocacy group FUSE Washington, said one of the group's activists went to a Sunday fundraiser to ask Koster about the issue of abortion. Democrats have been trying to portray Koster as out of touch with the district — which stretches from areas east of Seattle to the border with Canada — and they have focused particularly on his stance on social issues.