Steve King doubles down on no-exceptions abortions, this time with back-up

The Iowa Republican drew bipartisan criticism for comments last week suggesting society's survival depends on rape and incest.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) doubled down on his opposition to abortion rights even in cases of rape and incest.
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) doubled down on his opposition to abortion rights even in cases of rape and incest. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) doubled down Friday on his opposition to any abortion ban that would allow exceptions for rape or incest.

Last week, King opined that rape and incest were, in fact, required for the survival of society. On Friday, anti-abortion activists, including the head of Iowa’s leading anti-choice group, stood by his side to defend him.

“What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled out anyone who was a product of rape or incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?” King asked the Westside Conservative Club last Wednesday, as part of his defense of an outright abortion ban without exceptions.


The head of King’s caucus, House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) called his statement “appalling and bizarre,” adding: “As I’ve said before, it’s time for him to go.”

But on Friday, at a Des Moines press conference, King misleadingly claimed that he had initially been misquoted and that the reporting had been corrected.

The Des Moines Register,  it’s true, did correct a minor part of its initial story about King’s original comments — but not from the controversial portion of his speech.

The Iowa lawmaker reiterated his view that “no matter how they came to be, no matter what the circumstances of the conception, every life is sacred.”

King was joined at the press conference  by several leading abortion-rights opponents who defended and praised him for his stalwart efforts to ban all abortions.


Rebecca Kiessling, founder and president of Save the 1, a “global pro-life organization” of abortion opponents who were either conceived or impregnated by rape, lionized King and his comments.

“Just like I get accused of somehow promoting rape because I have the audacity to value my life, this is the same thing that is being assigned to the congressman,” she argued.

“That somehow because he values the lives of children conceived in rape, [King’s critics are saying] somehow now he’s defending rape.  Because he acknowledges that there was rape in history.” Kiessling also read statements from Iowa members of her group.

“I know that what Congressman King was doing in his statement was empathizing” with people like her, she said.

Tammy Kobza, of the Phyllis Schlafly Eagles in Iowa, praised King, suggesting that Iowans from other congressional districts wished they could vote for him, too, after his brave stance.

Tamara Scott, Iowa’s Republican National Committeewoman and host of a conservative television program, also spoke in King’s defense, while Tim Overland, executive director of Personhood Iowa, lauded King as “one of the guys who has gone to the wall” and who has “had our backs.”